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Heavy Equipment Dealer: Training and Career Information

Heavy equipment dealers require little formal education. Learn about the education and job duties as well as the employment and salary outlook to see if this is the right career for you.

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Considered a specialty retail field, heavy equipment dealing takes place across many industries. For example, some dealers concentrate on agricultural equipment and rent or sell to farmers, while others may focus on the various pieces of machinery needed in construction projects. Although a formal education is not required, having a certificate in an area related to business or sales could be useful when seeking employment.

Essential Information

Heavy equipment dealers sell or rent large machines used in various industries, such as construction or agriculture. Many work in large sales lots and showcase rooms, but some conduct business through telecommuting or traveling directly to customers. Most positions only require a high school diploma and sales experience, but knowledge of the industry and equipment for sale would be extremely useful.

Required Education High school diploma; business or sales-related certificate may be preferred
Other Requirements Sales experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 7% for all retail sales workers
Median Salary (2015) $21,780 for all retail salespersons

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Training

In the sales industry, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported there's no current standard for training retail dealers (www.bls.gov). Nevertheless, most sales associates receive training on the job from experienced workers. In specialty fields, such as heavy equipment, managers and senior sales staff train new dealers on the fundamentals of making a sale. They teach new employees about every piece of equipment, including manufacturers' information, what the equipment is used for and the resale value.

While most positions only require a high school diploma, according to the BLS, some employers may prefer applicants with a formal education. Certificate programs related to business and sales are quick options to enhance job skills as most programs can be completed in less than a year. Many programs at community colleges or vocational schools include coursework such as selling techniques, consumer habits, business management and ethics. Students should recognize that certificate programs offered through universities are usually for working professionals and may require applicants to possess a bachelor's degree.

Career Information

Many dealers choose a heavy equipment specialty, such as construction, agricultural, outdoor sales or equipment rentals. The BLS stated that sales associates must have extensive knowledge about the products they sell and the people most likely to buy them. For example, a general contractor who works in demolitions has different needs than a contractor who frames houses, so dealers would need to know which equipment is needed by each contractor.

An October 2014 search of job postings for heavy equipment dealers on (Careerbuilder.com) stated that most employers expected sales representatives to work with customers on site, as well as to make cold calls to potential customers. Many of these same employers required workers to negotiate service contracts, prices and credit terms, to demonstrate machines and to maximize rental conversions. Most of these employers also said dealers would be expected to keep accurate call logs and to effectively manage sales-related expenses.

Heavy equipment dealers need to know how to make a sale and discuss in-depth details pertaining to all of the equipment they are selling. Cold calling potential customers as well as appearing on-site to meet with clients are both important duties in this career, and sometimes these dealers also need to demonstrate how a piece of machinery works. A certificate program in sales usually takes about a year to complete and could involve helpful courses such as ethics, consumer habits, and selling techniques.

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