Preparing to sell a used tractor should begin pretty much as soon as the machine is bought.
After all, it is not just buyers of cars, vans and other vehicles that appreciate evidence of a sound service history.
With tractors becoming more expensive and decidedly more sophisticated, documented servicing and maintenance provides a valuable indication of how well – or otherwise – a tractor has been looked after.
Good records certainly help bolster values, says used-tractor and equipment specialist Jason Bloor, whose JA Bloor Agricultural Services operation at Hollington near Uttoxeter, Staffs supplies farmers in Britain and abroad.
Know your history
“I like to know the history of a machine and my customers also want an idea of where the tractor has been and what service work has been carried out to date,” he says.
“So it’s important that farmers and contractors regard their tractors as an investment, regularly maintain them and document everything that’s done.”
He also makes the point that service history has become all the more important now that tractors are covering considerably more hours than before.
“It’s increasingly common to see five- or six-year old tractors with over 10,000 hours on the clock,” says Mr Bloor. “But if they’ve been correctly maintained, this shouldn’t be a concern.”
Keeping tractors in good shape and up to spec as they perform their duties should also be more cost-effective than putting everything right in one go when the decision has come to sell. And on the day, presentation can count for a lot.
Make sure it’s clean
“A dealer will not appreciate arriving on a farm to look at a tractor that’s covered in mud and muck, which can hide a multitude of problems,” says Jason Bloor.
“I like to see genuine-looking, original tractors that have been washed off so I can make a genuine appraisal of their condition and value.
“Minor defects, such as broken mirror glass and peeling stickers, are not a major issue for trade buyers but are more likely to influence private buyers who often appreciate a tractor that’s just right and ready to use,” he adds.
“Painting parts of the tractor is not a good idea – especially if it’s to hide imperfections – because it will only draw attention to likely problems,” Mr Bloor points out.
“But also an attempt to make the tractor look better can have the opposite effect if the job’s done badly and will devalue the tractor.”
Good paintwork, on the other hand, can be brought to an appealing shine with decent polish and a generous application of elbow grease, with black plastic components, such as fuel tanks and mudguards, also adding to a decent tractor’s visual appeal if given a good clean and a “blacking” spray.
Look after the seats
In the cab, tatty seats make a drastic impression on the overall appearance, so using removable seat covers from the start and throughout the service life of the machine will protect the fabric and help give a positive impression when the cab is given a good clean as part of the presentation.
As for wear and tear issues, replacement tyres are usually the most expensive items likely to need replacing so it benefits all parties in a transaction to sell a tractor when there is still at least 40% tread remaining.
Honesty is ultimately the most important aspect of presenting a tractor for sale, says Jason Bloor, because problems that come to light after a deal is done creates bad feeling and a reputation that can affect future business.
The ultimate in used tractor preparation?
An awful lot of elbow grease went into cleaning and polishing this immaculate 18-year old John Deere 7810 for sale, says Billy Hazell of Pangbourne, Berkshire.
It helped that the previous owner kept it in good condition during its working life but the effort that went into cleaning it up is clearly evident, not only from the outside but also within the as-new cab.
The effort was obviously worthwhile because the tractor was snapped up by a friend, who Mr Hazell says “just had to have it.”