EquipmentWatch Puts Data at Your FingertipsBy Joanne Costin
Article Date: 08-01-2010
Copyright(C) 2010 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
For more than 50 years the company has been providing reliable, time-saving equipment information for dealers, contractors, government agencies, and more.
When buying and selling construction equipment, many questions need to be answered, but none is as important as: How much is the machine worth? Back in 1958, some equipment appraisers located in the San Francisco Bay area decided to create a guide that would help equipment owners and dealers figure out what their machines were worth, modeling it off the “Kelley Blue Book” in the automotive arena. They called it the “Green Guide,” and while today most users prefer to access it online, the “Green Guide” still answers this very basic question that buyers and sellers need to know.
Owned by Penton Media, the Green Guide has been branded under the EquipmentWatch name since 2001.
“We branded as EquipmentWatch back in 2001 to put a stop to the confusion that customers get when you change names of ownership,” said Don Hopkins, associate publisher, EquipmentWatch. Founded as The Equipment Guidebook Company, and later a unit of Dun & Bradstreet’s DataQuest, Equipment Watch has 50 years of experience serving contractors, equipment manufacturers, dealers, lenders, insurers, and government agencies involved in large infrastructure construction.
Today, the “Green Guide” is one of several helpful databases dealers can find online at www.equipmentwatch.com. It provides critical valuation information on construction equipment and lift trucks based on primary research and independent analysis. Values can also be adjusted based on region.
How do they come up with their evaluations? Resale values are based on dealer reports and expert analysis; quick-sale values are collected from multiple sources in different regions; and original prices come from the OEMS. In all, the “Green Guide” includes used equipment values for more than 15,000 models of construction equipment and lift trucks, in more than 100 categories.
But it’s the expert industry analysis that sets the Guide apart.
“Most of us that are in the offices in San Jose producing these guides have been here between 20 and 30 years,” said Hopkins. According to Hopkins, this kind of experience creates a product that has a lot of value. “We have been doing it a long time, and know what we are doing. We are independent and not relying on a relationship with an advertiser or anything else.”
Because much of the business is about data, EquipmentWatch understands that ultimately they are solving customer problems. Customers are encouraged to contact the research staff if they have a question; and many interesting questions often come their way. All EquipmentWatch products are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Rich Carlson, dealer principal at Carlson Tractor & Equipment Co. based in Rosemount, Minn., has used the “Green Guide” for more than 40 years to provide valuations when selling or taking trade-ins. “I don’t know of anything out there that is comparable,” said Carlson. “I never had a reason to go looking for anything else.”
These days, Carlson finds the online version more convenient than the printed version, and easy to navigate. “The nice thing about this system is that somebody can go in and pull the information and print it out and hand it to you,” said Carlson. “But I find it just as easy to go online and take a look myself.”
If used machinery prices are fluctuating, as they did in the recent economic downturn, dealers will look for more current auction pricing rather than historical data to value machines. EquipmentWatch’s “Last Bid” keeps all the latest auction information at the dealer’s finger tips. While Hopkins admits that one could visit auction sites to obtain the same information, Equipment Watch offers the convenience of having it all in one place. The data is compiled daily by industry experts and reflects comprehensive, accurate coverage of the U.S. and international auction markets.
Verification of the year of manufacture and serial number is also an easy process with EquipmentWatch’s “Serial Number Guide.” Data is obtained directly from manufacturers, distributors and field reports, and then reviewed by expert equipment analysts to ensure accuracy. Serial number plate location and identification information lets you know where to look so you can retrieve a serial number from a given piece of equipment. EquipmentWatch claims to include virtually every major piece of construction equipment as well as lift trucks built in the last 50 years.
The other Equipment Watch tool that is often used by dealers is the “SpecFinder.” This free tool allows users to compare specifications for more than 7,000 models of heavy equipment from hundreds of manufacturers. Dealer salespeople can quickly see how their models stack up against the competition. Carlson uses it when preparing for sales calls, for example when a customer says I am looking at brand X.
“We try to be familiar with competitive models, but it’s hard to know exactly where you are at,” said Carlson. “Under the ‘SpecFinde’ it will compare similar models.” The system allows you to perform side-by-side comparisons of up to five models.
“You can go out to most manufacturers’ websites and pull down PDFs of their machine specs,” said Hopkins. “If you want to compare Hitachi against Komatsu or CAT excavators, that is easy to do, but you have to go there and print them out and then have them side by side. There is a lot of value in just providing it in the formats that we do, which saves people a lot of time and energy.”
Packages for Dealers
An attractive package for dealers to purchase is the Construction Asset Manager, which includes access to the “Green Guide for Construction,” the “Serial Number Guide” and “Last Bid.” A price for the bundle of products is offered at a significant savings. Print versions are also available for most of the products, but online sales outnumber sales of the print versions three to one. The “Green Guide” and “Serial Number Guide” are published annually, while “Last Bid” is published twice a year. “Spec Finder” is only available online.
The “AED Green Book” is an annual reference that provides construction equipment rental rates nationwide. Originally published by Associated Equipment Distributors beginning in 1949, the book was later sold to EquipmentWatch when it was part of DataQuest. The data on which the “Green Book” is based, is still collected annually in a survey among AED dealers, and because of the strong recognition of the AED name, the company has retained it over the years.
The “AED Green Book” is primarily used by contractors to determine average monthly, weekly and daily rental rates. In March 2010, the “AED Green Book” was put online for the first time, enhancing its capabilities with a powerful new quick search feature by model or category that’s used for all the online products. Users can make rate adjustments for both regional variations and custom modifications.
As technology continues to progress, EquipmentWatch is looking at a number of new ways to obtain and update data more frequently. For example, the company soon hopes to have dealers access their own rental rate data used in compiling the published averages plus contact information to the Distributor Directory in “AED Green Book.” This will allow the online data updates to reflect market fluctuations. With thousands of subscribers using this resource, it could prove to be an excellent opportunity for dealers.
Powerful search capabilities have popularized the online versions of EquipmentWatch’s products. While the questions that buyers, sellers and renters need answered are the same as they were 50 years ago, thanks to EquipmentWatch, the answers come faster and easier today. To find out more about all of their resources, visit www.equipmentwatch.com , or contact EquipmentWatch sales at 800-669-3282 or 408-467-6741.
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