Selling an excavator is one thing, but getting your machine ready for sale is another. Like most capital equipment sellers you want top dollar for your excavator, so how are you going to get it? In this article, we’re going to give you some tips and tricks to get your excavator ready for sale.

1. Research Equipment Value

No matter if you’re selling a new or used excavator, you’ll want to look at current industry trends and establish a reasonable price or price range for your piece of equipment. Start by researching and looking at industry reports, or browse online marketplaces to see the same or similar models for sale.

Of course, there are a number of factors which will affect how you price your excavator, including:

  • Age
  • Current condition (rust, broken parts, etc.)
  • Hours clocked on the machine
  • Service history
Caterpillar Excavator 6015B

Pictured: Caterpillar 6015B Excavator. Source: Machines4U.

2. Choose Selling Platform

After you’ve determined the correct price for your excavator, it’s important to choose the selling platform you’re going to use. Whether it’s an excavator auction, private sale or an online marketplace, you’ll need to consider what will work for the type, and amount, of excavators you have for sale. 

If you need a quick sale, then an auction may be the best option for you. Whereas if you need to sell a fleet of excavators, then selling via an online marketplace may allow you to fetch a better price.

3. Clean Up Your Excavator

One of the most important aspects of getting your excavator ready for sale is giving it a thorough clean. This includes cleaning the:

  • Exterior
  • Engine filters
  • Pivot points & attachment linkages
  • Wheels or tracks
  • Control panel & dash
  • Seat & interior flooring
Caterpillar 308ECR Excavator Interior Cab

Pictured: Used Caterpillar 308ECR Excavator Clean Seat & Controls. Source: Machines4U.

Dirty excavators are more likely to have rust or loosened linkages from a build up of grime, which can cause unnecessary damage to the machine in the long run. Dirt can also cause your excavator to run slower and increases the risk of part failure, so make sure you’re regularly cleaning your machine well before you decide to sell.

A clean excavator not only presents well but it also shows that the machine has been well cared for. It also gives the impression that your excavator is more efficient and has less unnecessary wear and tear from neglect—which are all good impressions to make!

4. Service Your Excavator

If you want to get top dollar for your excavator, you can’t be selling a lemon. Your machine needs to be running smoothly and it needs to sound right. To ensure your excavator has no mechanical faults, it’s recommended you service the machine before sale.

Alongside a full mechanical service, you should:

  • Check the engine & hydraulic oil levels
  • Check water levels & fuel separator
  • Inspect cooling system
  • Lubricate the pivot points & attachment linkages
  • Inspect any buckets or attachments you’re selling with the excavator
  • Check track tension or wheels
  • Check for any leaks

If you’re selling a newer excavator with in-built technology, it’s best to get a qualified service technician in to go over these aspects of your machine. 

5. Consider Refurbishing Your Excavator

Before you sell your excavator, you should consider having it refurbished. Generally, it’s a small investment which can help you reap large rewards. And refurbishing is the best way to bring your excavator back to a “like new” condition.

Generally, a refurbishment will include:

  • Pressure cleaning exterior to remove dried mud, dirt, grime & old paint
  • Thorough cleaning of the interior
  • Masking equipment & sandblasting down to bare metal
  • Repainting excavator to match manufacturers specifications
  • Decal replacement to make your old machine look like new
  • Repairing upholstery of interior seats & cab

Some refurbishing companies will also repair glass, mechanics and perform light welding work.

6. Use Photos & Video to Show Off Your Excavator

Machines4U employee going through photo & video checklist

Pictured: Machines4U Photo & Video Checklist. Source: Machines4U.

After you’ve performed a clean and service, you’ll want to get a few good photos of your machine so you can stand out on Excavator Street. Photos are a great way to show off the condition of your excavator, especially when it comes to online buyers.

Photo Checklist

  • Exterior shots: Take a 360-degree set of photos of the exterior of your machine—about 8 photos
  • Interior shots: Focus on the seat, cab, controls, dash, pedals or anything else unique to your excavator
  • Close ups: Showcase the engine and key features like the hydraulics
  • Attachments: If you’re selling your machine with an attachment, make sure you take a photo of it both attached and detached from the excavator

Video Content Tips

Video content can take your excavator from a lump of steel to a live working machine. And, it gives your buyers the opportunity to see the machine moving, attachments lifting, and hear the excavator’s engine running. Remember, your buyers are likely to know what a good and what a bad excavator sounds like!

Here are some tips for shooting a quick video of your excavator:

  • Film in landscape to show more of the excavator
  • Start the machine, step off and film walking around the machine
  • If you can, have someone operate the machine simply moving it forward, backwards, raising attachments etc.
  • If you want to put yourself out there, you can also get a sales person or yourself in front of the camera to talk through the main selling points of your excavator

By doing all of these things, you will be further educating your buyers and progressing them down that buying cycle toward a purchasing decision!

7. Be Transparent With Pricing

Being transparent with your pricing simply means giving your machine an actual price and not listing it as POA. By pricing your excavator, you’re again educating your buyers and removing any “how much?” enquiries from your leads. Even adding a price range is better than listing your excavator as POA, as it will easily filter buyers down to those who are actually interested in making a purchase.


There you have it, those are our top tips for getting your excavator ready for sale! If you have any more tips on selling an excavator, comment below.

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