The Price is Right: 10 Steps to Pricing for Private Sellers

Find the perfect listing price for your heavy equipment as a private seller. Sell quickly and effectively in the competitive market.

private seller pricing

As a private seller, knowing how much to list your heavy equipment for sale can be a real head-scratcher. 

“I can’t list it so low that I don’t make a profit. I can’t list it too high because folks will balk at the price—especially being that I’m not a dealership. What on earth do I do?”

Ready for some proven ways to determine a listing price that will appeal to heavy equipment buyers while leaving you satisfied as well? Consider this your step-by-step guide to setting a winning list price for your private sale. 

Guide Contents

Step 1: Research the Market for Your Item

Sometimes, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel—including determining equipment prices. Researching the going rates for your particular market and equipment has several different benefits: 

  • Because you’ll be competing with existing listings, taking a look at current list prices is worthwhile. 
  • Others have likely done the nitty-gritty market research and number-crunching necessary to come up with the price they’re asking, so why not benefit from their hard work? 

Psstt—just an aside…
Want a quick look at going prices?
If you want to see the going rate for your item, you can always look it up using My Little Salesman. Simply type the model of your equipment, dial in the specifics using the handy filtering tool, and find listings that most closely match your item.

Step 2: Gauge the Condition of Your Equipment

Even if you’re looking at listings for the same model, year, and features, the condition can still greatly affect your pricing. 

No Sugarcoating, Please

Honesty is the best policy, so don’t sugarcoat anything! Consider the good and the bad, upgrades and needed fixes, and mention it all. Buyers will appreciate the lack of surprises.

Step 3: Is It in Demand?

Ok, so you’ve considered the going rate for the model and condition. Awesome! Your next question should likely be: “Is this equipment in demand at the moment?”

The demand for your item can greatly impact the price!

“Why isn’t my listing getting many views? I thought this was in demand!”

If your item is in demand, congrats—you may be able to raise the price a bit more without raising any eyebrows. Keep in mind that there is a difference between increased valuations and price gouging

If your item is not in demand, you may need to bring your list price down to make it stand out. Even if your item is not heavily in demand, this does not mean that all hope is lost. There’s always a market for whatever you have. 

Step 4: Consider Depreciation

Most equipment depreciates in value over time—including heavy equipment. Whether the technology is outdated or components grow worn, the price will go down with the equipment’s age. Keep this in mind when setting prices for your equipment listings. 

“Why did the going rate drop so suddenly?”

Don’t be too shocked when the new release of a particular functionality suddenly makes the value of your equipment take a hit. Such is the nature of the industry. If this happens, no worries—you’ll have your turn soon enough.

Step 5: Compare it to Recent Sales

If you’re selling similar equipment, it makes sense to see how much of each model is selling for and for how much. However, as a private seller, you may just be selling your older model to make way for a new one. So, how on earth can you compare this to recent sales of similar equipment? Well, there are a few different ways. 

How to Find Equipment Sales Figures

  • Check with industry and trade organizations within the commercial equipment sector. Many of these groups will publish market reports that mention industry sales trends. 
  • Look at manufacturer sales reports. Yep, some of these companies willingly publish annual sales figures, trends, and financial statements. Also, check out press releases they’ve put out and when for clues as to what is popular or coming down the road. 
  • Look at publicly available data. There are some figures put out by government agencies that mention equipment sales rates. Some industries have to report to regulatory bodies, which means that information may be ripe for your pickin’. However, you may have to dig around a bit to find what you need. 
  • Pick the brains of equipment dealerships and rental companies for sales figures. The answer is always “no” until you ask—and some company representatives are more than happy to talk shop. Feel free to give them a shout to see what has been selling for them over the past year and where rates are headed. You can also do this via an online forum—a space where some may answer questions they wouldn’t normally on the clock.

Step 6: Consider Recent Market Conditions

If 2020 taught us anything, it's that rates can shift wildly depending on what is happening in the world and economy. Keep any market conditions in mind when trying to determine your list price. As much as it seems like your equipment should sell for a certain price, understand that economic conditions can take a sharp turn and change your plans—heck, sometimes for the better! This is why it pays to keep your ear to the ground to adjust prices accordingly. 

Step 7: Keep an Open Mind When Setting Price

When pricing your equipment listing, gauge just how badly you want or need to sell it and compare that against how much you’d like to get for it. It pays to be flexible and realistic with your prices—especially as a private seller who may not be able to offer some of the dealership niceties that come with the deal, such as warranties or maintenance. 

Step 8: When All Else Fails, Get it Appraised

private seller appraisal to determine price

Let’s say that you can’t find many similar listings to compare yours to. Maybe there are, but the sellers have them listed as a “call for price”—which doesn’t give you very much to go on. Though checking the rates of competitors can take you fairly far, sometimes you’re best off simply getting your equipment appraised by a professional. And if you could see yourself going down the rabbit hole of trying to dial in the price yourself and still not doing a great job, hiring a professional appraiser may be money (and time) well spent! 

Step 9: Don’t Forget to Factor in Negotiations

So, you’ve carefully dialed in your rock-bottom price. What happens when a seller wants to haggle a bit? While you could always tell them to kick rocks—that this is the lowest you can go—sometimes it's nice to let buyers feel like they’re getting a sweetened deal. 

For this reason, consider building in a little bit of breathing room, a little come-down space. We’re talking about an ever-so-slightly elevated price or something to throw in for “free” to make them feel like it's worth their time to take a slight gamble on a private seller. Because let’s face it—dealerships feel like the safer—albeit more expensive—choice or most. 

So, whether you slightly raise the price, but throw in the trailer for free or some other arrangement, build a price that you can still bring down a touch and still come out on top. 

Step 10: Avoid Putting a “Call For Price” Tag Up

We get it—there are certain dealerships who are not, for one reason or another, allowed to openly publish their prices for certain listings due to company policy or arrangement with partner manufacturers. 

As a private seller, however, you absolutely can—and should—list a price. 

“Well, what can a ‘call for price’ tag hurt? Maybe they have a stupidly-high price in their mind and I can simply hear them out and come out on top!”

Though that could always happen (along with winning the lottery or the Heisman), what is more likely to happen is the deafening sound of crickets. But why? 

A “Call For Price” listing, though still resulting in sales, requires several additional steps between buyer interest and buying whatever is listed.

  • The buyer must desire that particular listing so much that they’re willing to pick up the phone and talk to a sales representative—even when they don’t know the price
  • Their interest has to transcend all other listings that actually have listed prices—aka, the equipment they’re more likely to seriously consider because they actually know how much they cost
  • The seller, convinced of their considerable sales prowess, will deliver the price in addition to some massaging to get them “into this equipment today.” 
  • The buyer must be willing to be sold to—which is something fewer and fewer are willing to subject themselves to, what with all of the other similar listings out there with clear prices. I mean, if you could avoid being sold to, wouldn’t you

So, if you’d like to avoid either a silent phone or prompt hang-ups after hearing the price, it’s in your best interest to list a price

There’s No Magic Formula, But You Can Still Win

Sadly, there’s no calculator or price generator that can nail down the best-suggested price of a piece of used heavy equipment or truck to the penny for private sellers. (If there were, we would have made it for you by now.) Depreciation, equipment specifications, market conditions, demand, the need for wiggle room, and a range of other variables will always dictate the best current price to list. 

That being said, it is fully within your power to do your due diligence, research the competition, market conditions, and demand, and combine them with your own goals to determine a great price that will make everyone happy. 

And we can help! How? 

Commercial Equipment Listing Made Easy
When it comes time to list your piece of equipment, your friends at My Little Salesman can help you create a stunning listing to be seen by thousands of buyers looking for your exact equipment.

Add your listing to our marketplace listings today.

Connect Buyers with Financing Like a Dealer
It can be easy to get down on yourself for being a lowly private seller without the dealership add-ons and goodies—such as financing. Well, what if you could connect your buyers to simplified and flexible financing just like the big boys (aka, dealerships)? With help from My Little Salesman’s financing partner, LenCo Capital, you can save the day by providing buyers with great financing options. 

Learn more about LenCo Capital today.

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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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