Stephen Early of S&R Construction Co. talks selling with Ritchie Bros.

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Construction company sells specialty item at Orlando auction

In February 2016, Ritchie Bros. held a massive auction in Orlando, FL, USA. It was the kickoff to the year, with more than 10,700+ items from 985 sellers being sold over five days.

One of those items was a specialty foundation drill rig from S&R Construction Company, a New Hampshire-based heavy civil construction company. But the company didn’t always plan to sell the drill by auction—for that, Stephen Early, President of S&R Construction Co., needed some reassurance.

It begins with family

When it comes to construction, Stephen Early started early.

“I was always fascinated about running equipment,” he says. “I grew up in the construction business, and as I got older, my dad let me operate the equipment. I was maintaining it, servicing it—I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I ran his company for a while and then started my own.”

Stephen and Richard Early at Ritchie Bros. Orlando auction.

For Stephen, family has always been part of running a business. He fondly recalls the first piece of equipment he operated—a roller—while working for his father, and now, his own son works for him.

It’s also family that connected Stephen with Ritchie Bros.

“My father took me years and years ago to a Ritchie Bros. auction,” he says. “Little by little, I got to know people. I’ve bought stuff at the auctions, and in the last year and a half, I’ve starting putting equipment in the auctions to sell. I enjoy it.”

How do you sell a 186,000 lb foundation drill rig?

Last year, Stephen decided to sell off his equipment and change the direction of his business. But there was a problem: he owned a few specialty machines including a 186,000 lb Yutong YTRD336 foundation drill, a machine that would be difficult and expensive to take apart, transport—and sell.

“I tried to sell it myself January through March 2015,” Stephen says. “I had no luck—nobody called. I tried some other auction sites, but didn’t get any bids.”

Stephen then got a call from a Ritchie Bros. rep, who recommended selling the drill at the annual February auction in Orlando, typically our largest auction each year.

But Stephen had some concerns. The foundation drill rig would need to be disassembled, transported across seven truck loads, and then reassembled at the auction site—an enormous undertaking.

“I needed reassurance that I would have the cooperation in Orlando to help me put this machine back together with my people,” Stephen says.

After meeting with an Orlando-based Ritchie Bros. rep, Stephen felt confident.

“He eased my mind,” says Stephen. “He reassured me that I would have access to the yard during regular business hours and, if need be, throughout the weekend. As long as my people were there to help, there would always be a piece of equipment available to me whenever I needed it, along with an operator. I had all the support I needed, and so I made the call to sell the drill in Orlando.”

“It was well worth it…”

In the months leading up to the February auction in Orlando, Stephen was able to see the kind of work that would go into marketing his equipment.

“I saw the amount of pictures on the Ritchie Bros. website showing my foundation drill rig,” he says, “but not only that, all of the Ritchie Bros. flyers had a lot of information promoting the Orlando site. That Florida auction was advertised in so many trade magazines, along with photos and descriptions of my drill rig.”

When the day finally arrived, all the work finally paid off, with Stephen’s foundation drill rig selling for US$360,000 to a Columbian buyer, and additional machine attachments and parts sold for another US$80,000.

“It’s an amazing undertaking,” Stephen says, “but it was well worth it. I was ecstatic.”

Orlando auction results for Stephen Early’s drill

For Stephen, it comes down to relationships

Since then, Stephen has sold more equipment through Ritchie Bros. auctions in the U.S., including the nearby Manchester, NH site. But he still thinks of that auction in Orlando and the relationships he forged there.

“Had Ritchie Bros. not come to me, this would not have been a success story,” he says. “Being there and building that relationship makes a difference, and that’s what Ritchie Bros. caters to.”

Sell your equipment with Ritchie Bros.

Thousands of companies sell equipment with Ritchie Bros. every year—from one item to a complete dispersal. Learn more about selling equipment with Ritchie Bros., or contact us to discuss your options.


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Results, photos and video from 4 equipment auctions in March

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