Yoder & Frey sets foundations for solid growth

Merger with Euro Auctions has resulted in expanded global capabilities, expertise and reach

December 2017:  The past 12-months has seen a significant upturn in the business and expansion of the long established Yoder & Frey brand as a leading auctioneers of heavy construction equipment in the USA following it merger with UK based Euro Auctions, Europe’s largest construction machinery auctioneers which also has a real global presence.

Whilst the construction, transportation and agricultural equipment sectors have been somewhat sluggish over the past few years due to global economic downturns, the global construction equipment market was still estimated to be valued at around 192 billion US dollars and accounts for around 175,000 new machines a year. With a number of the iconic brands being based and manufactured in North America it comes in at number three behind China and Europe in terms of target markets for new equipment sales, accounting for over 20 percent of global revenue.

Underlying these new sales is massive demand for used equipment, which can see one machine being resold through auction several times during its operational lifetime. This results in enormous market potential and it was this that attracted Euro Auctions, coupled with its expanded activities elsewhere around the globe, to increase its presence in the USA market.

“The US has always been regarded as a strategically important market sector for us, but we also knew that growth was dependant on having a strong domestic brand; so our merger with Yoder & Frey at the end of 2016 provided the perfect opportunity to build a sector leading operation,” stated Jonnie Keys, Operations Manager at Euro Auctions. “Yoder & Frey was already well respected and had achieved a leading position in the domestic US market. Our strengths include our wide global reach, our immense market knowledge and our loyal base of consignors and bidders; all backed up by our tried and tested procedures, practices and technology.  Successfully integrating the two operations over the last year has resulted in a significant expansion in brand perception, reach and appeal. More importantly this has created a solid platform for future sales growth and market expansion.”

“Over the past 50-plus years we had achieved an enviable reputation in the domestic US market and had a well respected brand but in order to grow further needed to look beyond the immediate horizons,” explained Peter Clark, CEO of Yoder & Frey.  “We therefore looked for a partner that could add value and expertise and at the end of 2016 found the perfect match in Euro Auctions which was similarly looking to expand its operations in the US. Its strengths include wide global reach, immense market knowledge and a loyal base of consignors and bidders; all backed up by their tried and tested procedures, practices and technology.  Over the last year we have successfully adopted many of their ideas into our operation resulting in a significant expansion in brand perception, reach and appeal. More importantly this has created a solid platform for future sales growth and market expansion.”

Yoder & Frey pioneered the now famous annual winter sale in Kissimmee, Florida first introduced over 40 years ago plus holds a series of additional heavy equipment auctions within the region each year. It also now operates several other important sites including Ashland, Ohio and Darlington, Pennsylvania plus has taken on activities at an additional site in Atlanta, Georgia.  

With the market experience and expertise Euro Auctions provided to the US operation, the last 12‑months has not only seen the size and frequency of the auctions Yoder & Frey delivers increase but also the quality and quantity of equipment being consigned to each auction and therefore an increase in the total hammer prices and the values achieved.

Market perception

As part of its market investigation and initial development plans for the US, Euro Auctions initiated a comprehensive market analysis programme to benchmark the sector and gauge customer awareness. Having implemented a number of operational changes at Yoder & Frey in the first half of 2017, new research was conducted, with some surprising results.  Unprompted recognition of the Yoder & Frey brand had gone up by around 20 percent, with prompted recognition going up by over a third. More importantly both consignors and potential bidders also expressed a clearer impression, knowledge and understanding of what the Yoder & Frey brand represents and its position within the wider heavy equipment auction sector had also sharply risen.

“Whilst we were quite well known within certain circles and were attracting a good variety and mix of equipment to be consigned to our auctions, much of this was in small quantities, typically that bit older, and from a multitude of sources,” explained Peter Clark, CEO of Yoder & Frey. “With increased market awareness of our operations to a broader cross section of buyers we are now being pro‑actively approached by larger, national consignors looking to instruct us to coordinate and manage the disposal of significant holdings. This often means that we secure newer, better maintained and lower hours equipment. It also means that multiple lots of the same make and model are now being sold, providing buyers with a better choice of particular machines at each auction.”

“Not only are higher final hammer prices usually achieved, but the auctions attract larger numbers of bidders, so further increasing their appeal. This also means that Yoder & Frey is increasingly being regarded as a real and viable alternative to a number of other heavy equipment auctioneers, including the likes of Richie Bros and Iron Planet, particularly as we can provide the personal approach our clientele demand, without compromising the financial benefits they receive.”

New bidder registrations for each of the Yoder & Frey auctions in late 2017 were up by over 25% on previous sales, continuing the growth trend.  Feedback from bidders is that they are also prepared to travel further to attend events, confident that they should secure a good deal on the equipment they seek, be it an excavator, articulated dump truck, new vehicle power plant or whatever.

New Markets

In addition to generally reporting a rise in the quality of traditional equipment being consigned to Yoder & Frey auctions it has also seeing a number of new sectors gain prominence. Mining is one such sector that has expanded over the past year with a good number of screeners, crushers and conveyors now being assigned to each upcoming auction and this trend is set to continue.

The introduction of a new internet platform, that’s both robust and easy to navigate, was at the heart of the initial enhancements at Yoder & Frey. This is now used to promote all the sales opportunities and actively liaise with the ever expanding number of potential bidders as well as enhance the relationship with consignors plus transact the actual sales. It also draws in information on related group activities around the globe plus promotes equipment currently located within the US to the growing number of potential international buyers.

The power of the brand

The increased brand awareness has also resulted in a number of additional new disposal sales being delivered during the timeframe.  Earlier in the year several smaller disposal and liquidation auctions were integrated into the expanding sales schedule due to their size. However, with Yoder & Frey increasingly being approached to take on more events like this, and with larger volumes and values of equipment being included, a number of bespoke sales to exclusively focus on the stock from a single customer are being planned for 2018.

“Our increased profile and working with the Euro Auctions management team has given us the direction and confidence to be more ambitious and negotiate with consignors to represent their interests,” stated Peter Clark.  “Our successes are fuelling even greater drive and ambition, and we are now actively perusing some large, exclusive deals which should appeal to our existing customers and at the same time increase the international appeal of equipment being brought to auction.”

International appeal

The past year has seen far more of the machinery sold through Yoder & Frey auctions being shipped to customers located outside the US. “Appealing to international buyers has been a real step-change for our business,” continued Peter Clark. “Having access to well over 150,000 potential and loyal global group customers across almost 100 countries is definitely advantageous. Being part of the tried, tested and regular promotional campaign to them is similarly delivering real results.  Euro Auctions has always projected an extremely upbeat, energetic and professional approach to its operations and is ever hungry to take on new challenges and develop its business. This passion and appetite is now being repeated in our US operation and it is having a real positive impact on our trading.”

“With increased visibility in the sector, greater market knowledge and more exposure to the global market place, we’re seeing a significant upturn in interest and attendance at our auctions both from domestic bidders and international buyers looking to secure great deals on the equipment we’re auctioning and then instructing us to coordinate its shipment to wherever it is needed.”

The People behind growing the brand

Another aspect of the Yoder & Frey development programme that has seen real expansion over recent months is the number of additional people now working in the business. A recruitment drive initiated in the summer has already brought on‑board over half a dozen new territory managers to proactively manage relationships with consignors and to generally help raise brand awareness. “By recruiting self‑starters and machinery enthusiasts with proven equipment knowledge and established sales networks we’ve been able to reach out to a completely new consignor base. Willingness to travel internationally has also paid dividends as we open up new markets and sectors and capitalise on growing awareness of the Yoder & Frey brand and the quality on equipment we are securing for our auctions,” expanded Peter Clark.

He went on: “We’re also actively looking to recruit additional territory managers and still want to double the size of the existing team to oversee our operations in a number of the states as well as take on the challenge of liaising with consignors, particularly in South America and the Asia Pacific sectors, which we regard as an important area for expansion. They will all need to have the right industry knowledge and drive to succeed and once on-board they should make a real, positive impact to our operation in the years ahead.”

So what does 2018 hold in store

“The forthcoming year will not be without its challenges but we are predicting it should only get better for our global consignors, customers and ourselves,” concluded Jonnie Keys, Operations Manager at Euro Auctions. “There is real evidence that confidence is returning to international markets with a number of new infrastructure programmes being reported and an evident undersupply of available property in the US housing sector.  Recent natural disasters around the globe along with the hostilities in various parts of the Middle East and surrounding region abating, should also ultimately result in extensive clean-up and rejuvenation programmes.  The requirement for massive amounts of heavy equipment, when coupled with existing demand should help fuel a further rise in demand for quality used equipment; further driving demand and prices.”

“The progress we have made over the past year with our Yoder & Frey operation, along with establishing new group sales sites in Hong Kong and Dubai to link up the global sales network, will increasingly see equipment shipped to the markets that most need them and where the strongest prices will be achieved.  We are also exploring timed auctions as a way of promoting critical equipment to customers around the globe so that it does not have to be shipped and sold at one of our physical sites.  Then add in several other exciting corporate plans we have to both further grow and to diversify the group business and it’s going to be a really exciting time for us.”

The auction calendar is becoming far more international and much less seasonal with the next major US event being the upcoming Kissimmee winter sale, to be held in Florida between 13th and 17th February 2018.  This is already gaining real momentum and is shaping up to be the worlds largest ‘Engine Sale’. It includes specialised engines and power plants for heavy trucks and construction machinery, and that’s without taking the large inventory of new, refurbished and second-hand construction plant along with a number of trucks and agricultural machinery that’s already been consigned.

Full details and a catalogues for any of the forthcoming auctions are available at www.yoderandfrey.com/ and bidders can pre-register for the free internet bidding online.  For any other enquiries please contact Yoder & Frey by email at info@yoderandfrey.com  or call 001 419.865.3990