Sell Used Wheel Loaders From Your Desk

Dec. 1, 1999
Greg Woods knows firsthand that trying to unload used equipment can be stressful. Before beginning the online auction site this October,

Greg Woods knows firsthand that trying to unload used equipment can be stressful. Before beginning the online auction site this October, he worked for United Access, a Houston-based rental house for high-reach equipment. "We had a problem unloading our equipment. The salespeople didn't want to do it because it was too time-consuming. So we started a Web site called to sell the used equipment, and we sold more in two months than we'd sold in two years."

Prompted by their fiery success, Woods and his partner Mike Yakimchuk started thinking about a way to expand on their initial site and came up with the idea for an auction format.

"With classified ads, there's no incentive to remove them when the equipment is sold," Woods says. "But with an auction format, the equipment is removed when the deal closes, so it's always current. Also, the sale of used construction equipment is fragmented: You've got brokers, auctions, company Web sites. With we want to be the central clearinghouse for rental houses and contractors." is a real-time online auction house. Unlike "real" auctions, where you have to send the equipment to be sold on a certain date, you can keep your equipment on rent while it's at the "virtual" auction house, Woods says. Plus you don't have to wait the two or three weeks for the check from the auctioneer.

Woods also points out that auctioneers often require the rental center to get the machine cleaned and painted before sale, a process that can cost up to $1,500 an item.

"With you can list equipment from your desk," he adds. "We provide portfolio management, too, so that you can see a list of what equipment you have for sale and what its status is. We make it easier to manage."'s goal is to be a total solution provider to rental centers. "The sellers are our customers, and the buyers are our products, so to speak. Rental centers can count on our service," Woods says.

A rental center must have a computer and Internet access to sell through the site. Then, Woods recommends buying a digital camera. "There are cameras available that store the pictures on floppy disk for easy transfer without cords," he says. "You can attach the photo onto e-mail or post it on the registration page."

Many have already heard of online auction sites like ebay, from which anyone can sell anything from a tennis racket to grandma's old brooch. But few are really aware of the benefits of business-to-business (b2b) transactions over the Internet. Not for long: Forrester Research estimates that $1.3 trillion of b2b commerce will be conducted on the Internet by 2003. Why? It saves time. It saves money. It's easy.

To and other like b2b companies, information in the virtual age is a commodity.