An equipment appraiser analyzes a piece of equipment to determine an estimate of its worth. Typically, there are three purposes for appraising equipment — to determine the cost, to determine market value, and to determine income — and each affects how an appraiser approaches the job. Other factors include the reason that the client needs the appraisal. There are basic elements in any appraisal job, including maintaining certification standards, researching the item and items similar to it, and confirming the reliability of the client's information.
An appraiser performs much of his or her work in researching the item being appraised. One of the areas of research is the item's history, including accidents or manufacturer recalls. The appraiser is also responsible for researching the current pricing for similar or the same equipment. A third area of research may be to investigate the information that the equipment's owner has given. This is especially true in cases where the owner will profit by overstating or understating the item's worth.
In most areas, appraisers need to be certified. Some choose to get extra accreditation through societies devoted to appraisers. Many times accreditation is a yearly requirement, and it is the responsibility of the appraiser to continue proper accreditation.
There is a wide variety of equipment with which appraisers work. Some of the businesses that need these professionals include construction, industrial, and medical companies. Some companies have specialized equipment, such as submarines or locomotives. An equipment appraiser needs to choose a field of interest and pursue learning about that type of equipment. Having a strong working knowledge of the equipment being appraised is vital.
Generally, an equipment appraiser travels extensively. For example, an appraiser of medical equipment may work at a nursing home, a clinic, or a healthcare facility. An appraiser of mining equipment or forestry machinery may need to travel internationally. Other appraisers may not travel as widely. Often, office equipment appraisers have a fixed area of travel, but nuclear medical equipment appraisers may travel extensively.
Sometimes an equipment appraiser may be required to give testimony either in court or in other legal proceedings. Some appraisers are expert witnesses and may be hired to testify on behalf of their clients. Usually, a person needs to be an expert in his or her field of appraisals to qualify as an expert witness.
An expert witness and the average equipment appraiser have a common trait. They both need to give accurate, timely reports. The clients need reports that are not misleading or confusing. The appraiser needs to be objective, competent, and display ethical conduct, including strict confidentiality. Up-to-date knowledge of the equipment, the economy, and the industry is critical for an appraiser.