At his company’s display during the Ag in Motion farm show at Langham, Saskatchewan, in July, Kirk Frankish, co-founder and CEO of Equiplinx, told Grainews his previous experience running a New Holland dealership in Alberta led to him creating a new option for farmers who want to buy and sell equipment.
Although the problem has eased somewhat in recent years, the new-equipment sales boom that began in 2008 has saddled dealerships with unusually large volumes of used equipment that stays on their lots for too long. “That’s honestly why I started this,” said Frankish.
Now Equiplinx, which was founded in 2013, allows buyers to shop for machinery across a wide geographical area in order to find just the right machine at the right price, he explained. The company will help facilitate the buying a selling of used machines through its combined online website presence and the active involvement of local field agents.
“We’re website based where we have all the information,” he said. “But we also believe, especially on the agriculture side, that people buy from people. So we have the online side with the technology, but we also have the personal touch, where our agents purchase a territory, because it’s a franchise system, and we network the inventory together, just like an MLS system in real estate. So a guy in Saskatchewan has access to inventory in Montana, B.C., or wherever.
Anyone interested in buying a machine listed in the online Equiplinx inventory — which Frankish said hovers between and $30 and $40 million in value at any one time — or selling something they don’t need anymore begins the process by calling the company’s toll-free number.
“We ask what they’re looking for and where they’re from, then we dispatch it to that agent,” Frankish said. “We transfer the call to them so they can put a deal together. It’s part technology, it’s part old school where we sit down at the kitchen table and have coffee and shake hands, because we believe with all the technology in the world, that’s being missed. And it’s a very important aspect.”
When a farmer wants to list a machine, one of the Equiplinx agents will come to the yard, photograph it and do an evaluation of recent sale prices for similar models.
“He does what we call a market trend analysis report, where we take all of the past history, be it auction, retail or after sales of that machine with those hours and those options and we formulate a price with the owner,” said Frankish. “That machine will stay in your yard, your possession until it’s sold. You can use it, as long as you update the hours with us. We have no problem with that.”
The company also offers a timed online auction option if a seller hasn’t received an adequate offer and wants to wrap up a sale quickly.
Equiplinx charges sellers a one-time $175 listing fee for that initial evaluation, which also includes a lien search along with the online posting. Once the machine sells, the company will take a commission between five and 12 per cent, based on the purchase price.
“Anything over $200,000 is five per cent,” he said. “And anything under $20,000 is 12 per cent. And there’s a sliding scale in between. When we get an offer, we send to you in writing or email exactly what you’re going to get. You have the option to say yes or no right then.”
“The (buyers’) cheques go to Equiplinx. It’s a transparent system. We transfer the money, usually within hours. The turnaround is within the same day, sometimes two.”
Frankish says the organization also does its best to see the equipment listing is accurate.
“We always have somebody with the buyer and the seller to make sure it’s represented properly,” he said. “If the owner knows there’s a problem (with the machine) he has to let us know.”