How to Negotiate Heavy Equipment Prices

Learn how to save potentially thousands by negotiating prices on heavy equipment.


“How do you negotiate equipment prices?”

Heavy equipment is expensive—that’s a given. Still, wanting the best price is also a given. But here’s a secret that many don’t want you to know—many sellers are open to lowering their prices. And even if they’re not, the answer is always “no” until you ask. 

“You mean haggling? That sounds a little…I don’t know…disrespectful?” 

negotiating price of excavator

It’s not haggling—it’s negotiating. And, believe it or not, many equipment sellers would prefer to hear a requested lower price rather than either not hearing from you at all or seeing you walk away—depending on how you go about it. 

In this piece, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about negotiating the price of equipment and discuss some proven strategies for getting the best deals.

“How do you negotiate prices without offending the seller?” 

We get it—negotiating the price is awkward because it feels inherently confrontational. But there are various ways to take some of the squeamishness out of it when you approach it with the right attitude. 

Always Be Respectful 

Outwardly balking at a price usually won’t accomplish anything other than causing the seller to reconsider doing business with you—let alone lowering the price. It is also just a good rule of thumb in business to respect other people’s decisions—even when they’re not great. 

Ask About Pricing Factors

Though some prices are inflated, other prices may be immensely reasonable. If you feel that the price a piece of equipment is inflated, feel free to ask a seller why they’re listing it for that price. Some may be able to provide an air-tight answer while others may flounder and buckle. Either way, stay respectful!

Do Your Homework 

If you’re going to question a price—much less ask for a deal—you’ll need to understand the going rate for that model of equipment and why their price may need to come down. 

negotiating price of a forklift

“How can I become an informed equipment buyer?” 

When you know what you need and how much it costs, this information gives you immense leverage in talks about price negotiations. Fortunately, becoming an informed buyer has never been easier thanks to the internet. 

And you’re already in the right place on 

“How can I increase my odds of negotiating a lower price for equipment?” 

While there’s no secret formula for getting an equipment seller to lower their price for you, there are certain steps to take to give yourself leverage in negotiations. 

Understand Your Equipment Needs

If you’re not 100% sure about what heavy equipment styles and models you will need, the seller likely has the leverage in the transaction. Not knowing what you need also means you won’t know how much it usually costs. And while you can have a sales professional help you figure out what equipment models will serve you best, their help usually comes in the form of a full asking price. 

Understand Their Equipment

So, you’ve done your research on a particular model of equipment but how much do you know about the specific piece of equipment you’re looking to buy? Consider having the equipment professionally inspected by a third-party mechanic. 

A professional inspection may reveal something that needs to be fixed—and a reason to ask for a lower price. Even though an inspection may cost you a few hundred dollars, you may be able to save even more in renegotiated price or you may dodge a bullet by backing out on an even bigger problem. 

Even in worst-case scenarios, you’ll either discover something that makes you walk away from the deal or find out enough to feel good about the transaction. Either way, a professional inspection before purchase isn’t a bad idea. 

Understand the Asking Prices of Your Needed Equipment

Knowledge is power…but it’s also savings. Understanding recent going rates on the models of equipment can help you in negotiations. Price negotiations don’t have to be cringe-inducing staring contests. Instead, they can simply be opportunities for equipment sellers to offer competitive pricing. 

Feel free to let them know what others are offering. Even though they likely already know, telling them will also let them know that you know.

Give Them a Reason to Give You a Deal

Negotiations are about give and take—and compromise is best when shared. You can increase your chances of scoring a great deal if you make it worth it for the seller. Such reasons may include being a repeat customer, buying multiple models, referring other businesses, keeping dealership branding on the equipment, and other such back-scratchings. Little gestures like these can help sellers be more willing to consider lower prices. 

Plan for a Bit of Back and Forth

If you think you can walk into a seller’s office and have your lowest requested price accepted, you may be in for a rude awakening. Plan for some pushback and some counteroffers. And hear them out. But also… 

Know Your Walk-Away Price and Be Ready to Walk

Before you walk into any price negotiation, always know your walk-away price and—stick to it! Even if you feel that you could wiggle a little bit above it, resist the temptation. Giving in frequently means losing leverage not only for that deal but will set your precedent with this dealer as someone who can be nudged outside of their comfort zone when needed. 

Go Forth and Negotiate 

Keep this guide handy when it comes time to buy new or used heavy equipment. With a little bit of careful planning, research, and delicate maneuvering, you may be able to shave hundreds or even thousands off the price of your next equipment purchase. 

And don’t forget—My Little Salesman is here to help!

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About Ken Lane
Ken’s affinity for the heavy equipment industry was fostered as a curious youngster—becoming happily lost on his grandfather’s tractor sales and service lot (his favorite color is still Allis-Chalmers Orange). Since then, he’s perfected the art of turning black coffee into helpful buyer resources and marketing materials for My Little Salesman.
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