Pickles Industrial recently held its first live auction with people since the advent of COVID made the group pivot to online only.
“It’s very exciting for people to be back here on site and actually being able to bid live, see the gear, touch the gear,” said Craig Fletcher, sales executive for the auction house’s industrial unit. “It was very unusual, our first since COVID. Unfortunately, COVID changed the life of the auction game, where everything’s now done live online — internet bidding only.”
Fletcher was speaking to Fleet News Group at the Heavy Equipment and Machinery Show held in conjunction with the Brisbane Truck Show in May. The industrial unit of Pickles, which is a big reseller of automotive fleet assets, accounts for about one-third of the group’s turnover.
Some 77 lots were offered for sale at the May 20 auction held at the Brisbane Showgrounds with about 20 of them on display on the day. The rest of the lots were at Pickles, or vendor, sites. The items for sale included forklifts, lawn mowers, wood chippers, generators, scissor lifts, trailers, stump grinders, wheel loaders, excavators, dump trucks and graders.
Fletcher said a number of clients made the trip especially to attend the live auction.
“We generally tend to find that we do get a better result if we have them at our sites where people can inspect the assets,” said Fletcher, comparing gathering auctionable assets in one place with leaving them scattered at vendor sites.
Meanwhile, Fletcher said a spurt in prices that began with COVID as supply chain disruptions in the new vehicle and equipment sectors flowed through had persisted in most categories.
There’s some softening with older trucks, partly because finance is difficult to secure for vehicle over 15 years old. Otherwise, prices tend to be up 20 percent to 30 percent compared with pre-COVID sales.
“Across the board, everything has gone up. Good late model trucks are still through the roof because there’s still a two-year wait to buy and take delivery of a lot of new trucks,” said Fletcher.
“There’s a lot of buyers who have got trucks on order but can’t get them for a couple of years, so they have to look at good late models, second-hand trucks which is continuing to hold the market very strong.
“We are seeing a correction in the older gear; it has now come back slightly in price, but good late model equipment, whether it be trucks or trailers, earthmoving, or civil, it’s still holding very, very strong.”
Asked to look into the crystal ball, Fletcher said he could only see hot prices holding for the next few years with a good outlook for the mining, agricultural and civil construction sectors which his industrial unit serves.
“The mining industry is still very strong and will continue to grow the market here in Australia; the agricultural side of our business is growing, and we now have dedicated agricultural sales,” said Fletcher, adding they also have a unit specialising in civil construction sales.