The following article originally appeared on May 14, 2019 via Silicon Prairie News.
By Laura Neesen
Tractor Zoom is the creator of a platform designed to digitally connect farmers with equipment auctioneers across North America.
Founder Kyle McMahon grew up in Fairfield, a small ag community in southeast Iowa. His work ethic and love for equipment led him to start a lawn and landscaping business. He sold the business to fund his education at Iowa State University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture.
McMahon began buying and selling farmland as the Director of Acquisitions for Summit Agricultural Group following graduation. Kyle traveled the Midwest for the next four years, reviewing new tracts of land for sale while attending 1,000+ land and equipment auctions.
McMahon recognized a lack of digital search resources for finding farm equipment auctions. He reasoned that farmers should have a searchable database just as do the automotive and real estate industries. McMahon founded Tractor Zoom to bring the technology to the farm equipment auction industry.
He said, “Farmers have historically browsed print media when they need to buy farm machinery; they would open up the farm journal or newspaper looking for equipment sales. This is slow and tedious for both farmers and for the auction houses buying print ads. Time is of the essence in agriculture. In addition, expenses have not come down in proportion to commodities prices, and with decreased profits, farmers are cutting everywhere they can. Plus, our research has shown that 89% of farmers own a smart device and have the ability to access internet even if they have no WIFI at home. Farmers are adopting technology exponentially faster than they did even five years ago, in my opinion, and generally, if the technology keeps them from leaving money on the table, they will use it.”
He added, “Some are looking to retire altogether, and some may be looking to turn excess equipment into cash to purchase inputs. Those seeking to purchase equipment are looking to auctions where they can find what the need and buy it for a fair price. Tractor Zooms provides a digital resource that enables farmers to open up an app to browse inventory and receive notifications as soon as equipment is advertised.”
Tractor Zoom’s software streamlines the auction advertising process in three easy steps. Auction houses can create an auction by 1) uploading sales catalog into Tractor Zoom, pair specs and equipment photos with the lot for sale; 2) post auction results; 3) and track performance with insights about clicks and views. The platform allows users to search equipment listings by map, state, or company, as well as type of auction, whether onsite or online. The platform includes pictures and details about the equipment.
The platform offers customized searching by specific make, model, or function. Users can subscribe for notifications alerting them immediately when equipment they are looking for comes up for sale. Tractor Zoom features recognizable and popular brands such as John Deere, International Harvester, New Holland, Allis Chalmers, and more. Categories of equipment include tractors, harvesting, planting, chemical applicators, hay forage, manure handling, tillage, and trailers.
The company, based in in West Des Moines, Iowa, has had 3.3 million equipment impressions since launching in November 2017, and has been working at expanding its team and its market share across North America. The company employs eight full time and is partnered with 241 auction companies advertising auctions in 45 of 50 states.
“We are part of an innovative tech hub in Des Moines, with many insurance companies located here as well, making Des Moines a strategic choice for us. We stay close to our ag roots here; we are building our product based on what our customers want, versus what we think they want,” said McMahon.
McMahon also described Tractor Zoom’s engagement with tertiary services. Ag insurers and lenders can increase brand awareness and build relationships with local buyers in search of such services by advertising on the Tractor Zoom platform. These service providers can target leads at the county level, ensuring that they stay at the forefront during the buying process. McMahon described the importance of Tractor Zoom’s Preferred Partners feature.
“Preferred Partners helps us bring equipment buying full circle. Shoppers can not only find equipment at auction, but also connect with local ag lenders and insurance agents to help them finance and insure their new purchase. Preferred Partners has quickly gotten the attention of larger insurance companies and many of the corporate insurance companies are even willing to pay for half of their agents’ advertising costs on Tractor Zoom.”
McMahon added, “We are ‘farmer first’ at Tractor Zoom in any decision we make. We are looking at other adjacent verticals such as construction and transportation to add even more value to the farmer and add to the inventory as farmers themselves diversify.”
Tractor Zoom teamed up with Wavebid in January. Wavebid is based in Minneapolis and is a developer of a leading auction management software platform.
“Wavebid will help our mutual customers more quickly export their farm equipment inventory onto Tractor Zoom, to be advertised through our mobile and web platforms,” said McMahon in a press release at the time of the announcement of the partnership with Wavebid. “We are excited to work with true pioneers and innovators in auction management software. Every auctioneer should be able to easily embrace new technologies so that they can continue to grow their business in a quickly changing industry. We are excited to help make new and improving advertising technologies available to them, so they can get back to what they do best-selling assets through auction.”
Tractor Zoom is getting positive reviews from farmers using the company’s platform.
Hartung Family Farms had the following to say about Tractor Zoom:
“I recently came across your company’s app and I have to say, I really like what you guys offer. We are currently in the market for some used equipment and there’s really no good way to find what auctions are where with what equipment. Love that you guys offer a product that does just that! We actually found an auction recently that has a few equipment on there that we are very interested in and I don’t know if we would have found it without the app. Thanks again for the product and keep up the good work!”
Visit https://tractorzoom.com/ to learn more about this company.
Read the article at siliconprairienews.com