If you are selling a used HD-DVD player or if you want to sell your car, there are many Web 2.0 solutions that can help you. Life is slightly different if you’re trying to move one or two earth-moving machines. This is the market Boom & Bucket has entered; bringing the used heavy machinery sales industry into the current millennium. The company is digging its heels in and just raised a round of $5.5 million to tackle this deep-rooted industry.
The problem the founders are solving is the traditional way of selling heavy equipment – there’s Craigslist, or local auctions. Both have drawbacks, and neither has the level of confidence that consumers have begun to enjoy from Carvanas and World Shifts. Also, unlike, say, an eBay auction, there seems to be an unspoken understanding that when you buy something, you buy it as-is, as-is, and where-is. Horror stories abound of purchases that didn’t go as the buyer expected.
There’s also real money at stake. “I’m watching our deals thread today in Slack,” says Adam Lawrence, co-founder and CEO of Boom & Bucket. “These are people who made offers on machines: $75,000; another $75,000; $50,000. The biggest thing we sold was over half a million dollars – and the cheapest thing we sold was around $12,000.
The company is trying to solve big problems in this industry; trust, visibility and funding.
“EBay has had a ‘motors’ category since 1997. The problem with that is that a machine can appear and it can look pristine – that’s a common thing in this space. Someone painted it in bright yellow, now it looks like new, but it may have a fundamental fault. The motor is overheating or the hydraulic tubes all need to be replaced,” says Lawrence. “We have a testimonial from a customer who bought a $350,000 bulldozer He’d bought one at auction before and driven it up this giant mountain, and it was overheating in it, the previous owner had swapped out a good engine for a bad one and hid the oil sight glass That’s often what you get when you roll the dice at auction, so that’s what we’re trying to fix.
The company has already sold millions of dollars worth of equipment, with early customers including SunState Equipment Rentals, Spiniello Construction and Los Angeles County. The average machine is in the high five-digit range, and the company has sold “nearly 100 machines” since launching its platform in February.
“The average piece of equipment sold for 40% more than it would at wholesale auctions, thanks to the added layers of trust and reassurance,” Lawrence says. “These machines are the lifeblood of our customers — it’s literally something they rally around. It’s the equipment that builds the infrastructure for America, and it has to be reliable. If you build a bridge and your excavator breaks and you have 10 dump trucks lined up to remove dirt, the whole day is ruined for everyone. And so we have this ability to guarantee that and ensure that the quality remains high.
The company employs 15 people and powers its machinery to enter a serious growth phase, starting with comprehensively solving the supply side of this market.
“We want to grow quite substantially. We want to create and publish the main platform,” says Lawrence, saying the first version of the app is now available on the website. If you want to buy a $300,000 bulldozer, he’s got you covered. “We want to work with a number of big customers on the supply side and prove the value proposition to them, and then continue to grow the team quite substantially.”
The $5.5 million seed funding round was co-led by Human Capital and Brick & Mortar Ventures, the largest construction-focused venture capital fund. Supporting investors include 8VC, Global Founders Capital, Streamlined Ventures, Quiet Capital and MaC Venture Capital.