Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared as part of the Dealership of the Year coverage of Salem Farm Supply in the July/August 2015 issue of Farm Equipment.
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For Salem Farm Supply in Salem, N.Y., one of the biggest challenges, as for many dealers, is used equipment inventory turns. General Manager Bill Martel and Carole Lewis, president, rely on a number of sources — along with some common sense — to make sure they are valuing their used equipment properly.
“Listing the used equipment online is helping with the inventory. It also comes down to being picky about what we accept for used inventory. Bill has passed on some sales just because we don’t want to be stuck with the trade,” Lewis says.
Salem Farm Supply works with a few equipment jockeys in the Mid-Atlantic area to move used equipment that has been sitting for too long. “Sometimes I’ll just use them to find out what they would pay for something. All some of these guys do is go to auction day after day. So, they are good to bounce off of what something’s real market value is,” Martel says.
Martel also uses Iron Guides, Fast Line, Tractor House and Equipment Locator to gauge the right price for a trade. “The books are good, but they’re not always gospel. Sometimes, you’ve got to put some real world sense into it too,” he says.
Today, Martel personally does all the pricing on trades, but that wasn’t always the case.
Martel says it can be challenging when the competition will give customers more on a trade than Salem will. “We’ve been doing this for 60-plus years — we know what 20-year old manure spreaders are worth. And they’ll go in and put three, four, five thousand dollars more on top of the trade than we will. But they will never get it back. They’re trying to buy the deal and hoping to get the next one. We just don’t want to play that game,” he says.
For some smaller used items, like old rakes, mowers and back blades, one salesperson will use Craigslist to sell them.
“It’s a great place for those items. He’ll put 10 pieces up there and the phone will ring off the hook. It works great for the less expensive, more widely used items.” Martel says.