Interview: how to sell a fleet of pipeline construction equipment

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Spirit Pipelines selling hundreds of items at Edmonton auction

Two 2014 John Deere pipelayers ready for auction

On October 27 – 29, 2015, contractors and other equipment buyers will descend just outside Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for a massive Ritchie Bros. auction. The auction will feature more than 6,300 equipment items and trucks from 700+ owners, and will include multiple complete dispersals, one of which is for Spirit Pipelines.

An adventurous start in pipeline construction…

“I’ve always been in construction,” says Ryan Hilton, President & CEO, Spirit Pipelines. “I pipelined across Canada too, but in the mid-90s, I decided to go international. I ended up in East Africa for a couple of years, working for a contractor. Then I went to Southeast Asia and Indonesia for three years. I’ve always had that adventurous, entrepreneurial spirit. I think it took that to start my own company. I wanted to track out on my own.”

Spirit Pipelines Ltd logo

And he did. After starting Spirit Pipelines with a partner in 2003, Ryan soon bought him out. Fast forward 12 years, and Spirit Pipelines has gone from tying in oil and gas wells to much more. Spirit Pipelines has completed projects for NAL Resources, Cordero Energy, Talisman Energy, TransAlta Corporation and others.

“We do small-to-mid-range pipeline and facility construction,” Ryan says. “We do civil and construction projects. We’ve had a lot of projects in the Edson area, but we’ve worked across the three western provinces, specializing in pipeline, but also working in hydro and more.”

Deciding to sell a whole fleet of equipment and trucks…

Three John Deere articulated dump trucks available in Edmonton auction

Recently, Ryan decided to restructure, as new opportunities have appeared. In preparing to change direction, he chose Ritchie Bros. to sell all of his equipment at the October 2015 Edmonton auction.

“Ritchie Bros. is just simply the best,” Ryan says. “I remember going to Ritchie Bros. auctions as a teenager with my dad. When Spirit Pipelines was starting out, we bought most of our first gear through Ritchie Bros. Whether you’re looking for an excavator or a bulldozer, Ritchie Bros. is a one-stop shop, and their auctions are always exciting. They’re the best and biggest in the world, and there’s a reason for that.”

Of course, such a seismic shift as a complete dispersal can be difficult to handle in a number of ways, but Ryan says he has felt reassured by the Ritchie Bros. team.

“I’ve never been involved in a complete dispersal,” says Ryan, “and when we got into our negotiations, [our Ritchie Bros. rep] Brian Glenn told us to ‘Let the power of Ritchie Bros. do its thing.’ He wasn’t lying. It’s an emotional journey. There are all kinds of mixed emotions, but to see it being handled with professional and careful hands is great. They’re packaging it and marketing it. They’re pros and I’ve been absolutely blown away.”

A great opportunity for buyers: “Our equipment is our signature…”

Spirit Pipelines will sell hundreds of equipment items at the Edmonton auction, including pipelayers, articulated dump trucks, winch tractors, motor graders, late-model excavators—even pickup trucks. For Ryan, the equipment is personal.

“I don’t know, the equipment just gets in your blood at some point,” he says. “I’ve got a fire for the yellow iron. I’ve been involved in the purchase of every single piece of it. It’s all been handpicked. It’s customized a little bit. I think it’s some of the best equipment in the industry. If you look at our pipelayers, custom job warehouses—it’s some pretty shiny equipment.”

A line-up of John Deere hydraulic excavators ready for auction.

And that represents a great opportunity for equipment buyers.

“We’ve heard time and time again that we have top gear,” Ryan says. “Our equipment is our signature. We look after our equipment as well as the best in the business.”

More than 6,300 items will be sold in the October Edmonton auction, including:

Interested buyers can visit Ritchie Bros.’ Edmonton site to test, inspect and compare items before the auction. Anyone can bid in person, online in real time or by proxy. It’s an auction that’s worth waiting for.

Equipment to sell? Contact Ritchie Bros.

Find out more about selling with Ritchie Bros. or complete a simple form and a Ritchie Bros. representative will contact you to discuss how we can help you—whether you have one item or a whole business to sell. No obligations!

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