The history of Iron Solutions: Part 3
Part Three of a Three-Part Series
Helping agriculture equipment dealers has always been the company’s focus.
From its roots in 1937, when the “Official Tractor and Combine Trade-In Manual” was published, to today’s online version of IronGuides®, Iron Solutions’ goal has remained the same for the past 80 years: empower dealers to trade used equipment confidently.
“There is one thing that makes our product, IronGuides, unique,” said Dallas Blome, Guides Editor since 1996. “We are the only valuation book that uses actual retail transactions submitted by dealers. We basically get data from dealers, normalize and anonymize it, and then feed it back to them.”
Blome said his team of industry experts receives at least 1,000 retail transactions, called sold reports, each day. Each report is reviewed to ensure accuracy, validity and completeness and then normalized to adjust for options and usage.
“We go back 80 years with our information on models and specifications,” Blome said. “Other products just don’t have the history or the data from dealers.” Often described as the blue book of farm equipment, dealers use the guide to provide an appraised equipment value that is fair to both the dealer and the buyer or seller.
What makes IronGuides® unique?
“We incorporate analysis of hours and options into our valuation processes that ensures we are always making an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison,” explained Cameron Hurnard, Iron Solutions Data and Development Director for the past 13 years. “We can do that because our large database of historical transactions goes back 30 years and contains over $90 billion worth of transactions, while including detailed data on each piece of equipment.”
Hurnard explained why the tedious process results in a premium product. “Basing valuation on only advertised listings and auction results is not representative of actual retail sales at a dealership,” he said. “Advertised pricing is not indicative of what it’s worth. Auction prices can be influenced by many other factors other than the intrinsic value of the equipment.”
“When buying a house, you look at the sold price, not the asking price,” Hurnard said. “It’s the same thing with equipment valuation.”
The valuations in the guide are based on a specific machine’s configuration and provide a value that reflects the exact characteristics of that machine, not an average of all of those same year/make/models sold at auction or listed for sale. “Based on our data, we also know the dollar amount to assign for every hour of use on a piece of equipment so we’re able to adjust for usage,” he said.
Although the farm equipment industry has gone through many changes in the past 80 years, the gold standard for gathering and normalizing the sold transaction data is still IronGuides®. Its roots started in 1937 when dealers just wanted to estimate the usual fair trade-in values for tractors and combines.
Today, because of the increasing complexity of available options and configurations on tractors, combines and other farm machinery, the dataset has exceeded the capacity of a book binding. It is estimated that if all of the data available in the online version of IronGuides were printed in a book format, the book would be over 3,500 pages or roughly five times the size of the final print edition in 2017.
Although the farm equipment industry has gone through many changes, the formula for gathering and normalizing the data remains the same as first developed over 30 years ago. Often referred to as the blue book of farm equipment, or the tractor blue book, IronGuides® is still the resource that agriculture dealers, farmers, lenders and analysts use as their trusted source for equipment valuation.