Cat Auction Services Takes Part in Florida Auctions
By: Eric Olson - CEG CORRESPONDENT
For a relatively new company, Cat Auction Services made a pretty big splash at last year’s Florida Auctions.
Cat Auction Services started in 2008 when five Midwestern Caterpillar dealerships decided to create their own auction channel, had grown to the point a year ago that they felt confident in their ability to perform well at one of the construction equipment industry’s premier events.
Cat Auctions, which holds equipment auctions several times a month across the country, saw double the number of attendees at the Florida Auctions than they usually have at an average live auction, according to Jo Linkert, director of marketing of Cat Auctions.
The innovative Leaderboard technology showcases all of this in a way that provides an exceptional customer experience,according to Jo Linkert, director of marketing of Cat Auctions.
(L-R): Jim Finlon, American Equipment LLC; Hank Spies, Milton CAT; Tom Jamieson, Cat Auction Services and Bart Rhea, BKBC Machinery, compare some notes prior to the start of the July 31 sale.
Luke Mueller (R), Patten CAT, shows the Cat iron at the sale to Don Cook of Cook Equipment Co, during a past auction.
This Cat 320B excavator got the attention of John Hagan of Landview Excavating during the Chicago, Ill., sale.
For a relatively new company, Cat Auction Services made a pretty big splash at last year's Florida Auctions.
The company, started in 2008 when five Midwestern Caterpillar dealerships decided to create their own auction channel, had grown to the point a year ago that they felt confident in their ability to perform well at one of the construction equipment industry's premier events.
“The results say it all,” said Jo Linkert, director of marketing of Cat Auctions. “The February 2013 event in Florida was our inaugural year. We gave our customers a phenomenal experience and we are very proud of its success. We had huge attendance, quality iron, and both buyers and sellers were happy with our hammer prices.”
Cat Auctions, which holds equipment auctions several times a month across the country, saw double the number of attendees at the Florida Auctions than they usually have at an average live auction, according to Linkert.
“More importantly, half the people who attended our auction were brand-new customers that had never been to one of our auctions before,” Linkert said. “Our customers appreciate that we take care of them even after the auction by providing financing, parts and service, local-dealer support and more — the higher standard that you would expect from the Cat name.
“We differentiate ourselves by the value-added services and it shows in everything we do,” she explained. “We do detailed Cat certified TA-1 inspections that are posted online and onsite to view at any time.
We show comprehensive equipment photos and videos of every machine in use to enhance the comfort level of buyers and we offer like-kind exchange and equipment protection plans on qualified machines. Finally, our innovative Leaderboard technology showcases all of this in a way that provides an exceptional customer experience.”
Now, for the 2014 event, Cat Auctions promises that everything will be done bigger and better. Even more equipment and more service offerings will be at this year's event, Linkert promised.
Cat Auctions' performance at last year's Florida Auctions is just another step in the extraordinary growth and popularity of the company, according to Linkert.
From its beginnings as an investment by only a handful of Caterpillar dealerships six years ago, Cat Auctions now boasts of an ownership made up of 27 dealerships across the country. And, in December 2012, Caterpillar Inc. secured a portion of the auction firm, firmly establishing an important link to the ever-loyal Caterpillar customer.
“The vision in creating Cat Auction Services was so that Cat dealerships could complete the entire life cycle of a heavy equipment piece and enhance the customer relationships they already had,” said Chad Weidemann, vice president of sales of Cat Auctions. “For our heavy equipment auctions, we offer the complete package to our customers and really take care of them from beginning to end.”
The result is that Cat Auctions facilitates auctions through live events at convenient locations, online bidding and its own monthly, timed-out online platform called equipment yard, according to Weidemann.
“With us, bidders get options and when bidders get options, they turn into buyers,” Weidemann.
And it's not just Caterpillar construction equipment that is bought and sold at these
auctions. All makes and models from makers such as Volvo, Komatsu and John Deere, to name just a few, can be found at these events, Weidemann said.
In addition, Weidemann said that Cat Auctions undoubtedly benefits from its association with Caterpillar, but that name recognition can only take a company so far. He believes that the service his company provides is the key component to retain its loyal customer base.
“We have a unique position in the auction business because of our innovative technology, information sharing and promotional services, followed by a full range of support services provided by the best dealer network in the world,” said Linkert.
All of Cat Auctions' various programs and services will be on display for inspection by buyers and sellers at the Florida Auctions, Linkert promised, in order for customers to see the superb value the company offers.