Learn the advantages of operating on a global scale

Whether you’re a contractor or equipment dealer, profits are made—or lost—during the sale or purchase process of heavy equipment. When buying equipment, the goal is to get the best quality piece of equipment for your needs at the best price. When selling equipment, you want to get the best price possible.

If you are focused on buying or selling locally, you may be leaving money on the table. In today’s global economy, sometimes the best deals, whether you are buying or selling, might be waiting for you outside of your country’s borders.

Diving into the Import/Export Business

Every day, thousands of pieces of heavy construction and mining equipment make their way across borders and onto ships, finding new homes thousands of miles away. You may ask, “How this can be a profitable process for buyers and sellers?” Well, the whole process is following the rules of supply and demand. For example, as the oil and gas market struggles, the equipment that was being used in Canada for the tar sand operations needs to be put to work someplace. And, if you happen to be in need of large dozer or excavator right now, you could get a good deal on one from Canada right now. Or, if you have an older piece of equipment that is ready to be retired, you may want to look at your options of selling it to a contractor or equipment dealer in a developing country.

While there are some amazing benefits to equipment dealers and contractors alike, when you expand your borders for selling and buying equipment, it is also important to keep in mind this process is not without its own set of challenges. Importing and exporting heavy equipment can be a full-time job, and you will likely face a lot of life lessons along the way. There are a lot of people waiting to take advantage of novice buyers and sellers. So, it’s certainly not something you want to start doing on your own. It makes sense to bring in qualified and trusted partners to help with the process.

Finding Trustworthy Partners

To get the best deal on a piece of equipment purchase, or to maximize the profits on selling a piece of equipment, you may be tempted to try to do it all yourself. Remember, though, your time is worth something, and an expert can bring a lot the table that you cannot. Whether you’re buying or selling used heavy equipment, you need the help of a trustworthy wholesaler, as well as a freight and shipping company that specialized in heavy equipment. In fact, if you work with the right wholesaler, they will likely handle the shipping process.

Finding a trusted wholesaler will give you access to some great deals without having to become an expert yourself. Heavy equipment wholesalers, such as Independent Equipment Dealer Association (IEDA) member Heavy Equipment Inventory specialize in buying, selling and shipping all types of construction and mining equipment around the world. Heavy Equipment Inventory President Kiki Brignoni has a customer network of more than 15,000 equipment dealers and auction companies around the world and is responsible for buying and selling many pieces of used machines each year.

“We are buying a lot of our equipment in South America and the Caribbean at a deep discount compared to current pricing in places like the United States," says Brignoni. “A lot of the machinery have lower hours and potential high resale value, but we are able to get it significantly cheaper because we’re working directly with financial institutions on repossessed equipment or construction companies that need to liquidate their equipment fleet. These companies don’t want the hassle of selling the equipment to other countries themselves and their current market is not that good right now. This leads to us getting some great deals on equipment; deals that we’ll pass along to our customers.”

Wholesalers will make sure there are no liens on a piece of equipment and make sure any outstanding tax burdens are current. 

Freight & Shipping

When it’s up to you to export or import a piece of equipment, the transportation and logistical company you use is important. The right provider can save you thousands of dollars and reduce shipping times. 

“The most common mistake people when shipping heavy equipment is not looking at all their shipping options,” said Kolin Howell, account representative at UNI International. “People will look at the closest ports for where a piece of equipment is and the nearest one for where it has to be delivered. Port fees and timing isn’t the same at every port. That’s why it’s important to look at all possible options and not be afraid of having to all a machine by truck longer distances. We see customers save thousands of dollars and get their machine weeks earlier by not just looking at the most direct route.”

When it comes to importing and exporting equipment, Howell said the exporting part of the job is pretty straightforward. “The exporter is responsible for any taxes associated with selling a machine, and must produce a bill of sale to prove a machine is not stolen," Howell said.

Importing can be a little trickier. “Certain countries in the world, like the U.S., require the importer to produce an EPA certification,” Howell said. “We will often have to get a copy of that document from the manufacturer. The importer must also have an import bond or use their shippers’ bond. They can also expect a thorough inspection of on any machine being imported.”

UNI International also offers buyers and sellers the option of setting up an escrow account during the sales process. In addition to protecting the buyer, the seller gets the benefit of knowing that the money has been set aside before going through the expense of shipping the machine.



Whether you’re looking for new ways to buy a quality used equipment or looking to sell equipment for your fleet, there are certainly some advantages of operating on a more global level.