OJ Blanchette talks about selling Pinnacle Services' equipment with Ritchie Bros.

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The complete dispersal helped break records in Grande Prairie

Bidders at Ritchie Bros. Grande Prairie auction.

In March 2016, thousands of people headed to Ritchie Bros.’ Grande Prairie auction site for a massive two-day auction—two months earlier than the site’s usual first auction of the year.

The reason for the early auction—and the crowds: a huge selection of quality equipment from two complete dispersals. One of those dispersals was for Pinnacle Services, an oilfield construction company based in High Level, AB.

From forestry to the oilfield, Pinnacle’s seen it all

While Pinnacle Services started out as a logging contractor in 2000, OJ Blanchette, one of the company’s founders, was interested in equipment long before that.

“As a young kid, I liked trucks and equipment—I always liked to play,” says Blanchette. “Eventually, I got into trucking, but I always wanted to get into excavators and dozers.”

OJ Blanchette of Pinnacle Services.

Pinnacle Services spent five years in the forestry sector, but when a local mill shut down, they realized diversification would be necessary. In 2005, the company began doing oilfield construction, including winter access roads, ice roads, road and lease construction, and much more.

After 16 years, the time came to move on

In 2015, after close to two decades in business, some partners in Pinnacle Services felt it was time to move on, with one looking to retire, and another having already moved out of town. When it came time to sell the equipment, Blanchette says there was only one choice.

“I remember first going to Ritchie Bros. auctions back in the 90s,” he says. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow.’ All this stuff running and rattling on, and high or low, it sold. It was amazing to me. I’ve been buying and selling with Ritchie Bros. now for 15 years.”

For Blanchette, what set Ritchie Bros. apart was their global marketing and online bidding.

“The online bidding helps both sides,” he says. “If you’re selling, it brings the world to your sale. I think it enhances equipment values. And for me purchasing, it’s really nice. I usually go to Edmonton or Grande Prairie, but if I can’t, bidding online is a wonderful tool.”

“Quality is the root...”

Once the decision was made, Blanchette began working with Ritchie Bros. to get his iron on the road and ready to go.

2006 Caterpillar D7R XR Series II dozer.

“It was excellent,” Blanchette says of working with Ritchie Bros. “They made us feel comfortable and gave us pointers on how to prepare the equipment. They were professional, and I had full confidence.”

Of course, that kind of confidence might come easier when you’ve got equipment like Pinnacle Services did. The company had worked hard over the years in maintaining it.

“There’s a little pride involved,” Blanchette says with a chuckle. “Quality is the root—you have to have good equipment to make a go of running a company like this, so we made sure we did.”

But even with well-maintained equipment, Blanchette still opted to use Ritchie Bros.’ equipment paint and repair services.

“Some of the equipment was a few years old, so we painted it using the refurbishment service,” he says. “It looked really good, and I think it definitely enhanced the pricing. I know that when I’m buying and the equipment looks fresh and new, that goes a long way along with an inspection.”

A two-day auction hits Grande Prairie

Pinnacle Services’ equipment was sold by Ritchie Bros. in March 2016. The two-day auction was the largest auction of all time at Ritchie Bros.’ Grande Prairie site, with CA$62+ million of equipment sold and more than 7,150 bidders.

Grande Prairie auction site.

Blanchette was pleased with the turnout—and the convenience of having everything sold at once.

“It was just one stop,” he says. “Everything sold in those two days. Everything was cleaned up and finalized. Selling with Ritchie Bros. was the best way to get fair market value. I would recommend it to anybody who is wishing to sell something or buy.”

The auction marked the end of a chapter for Pinnacle, but ultimately Blanchette looks at it from a practical perspective.

“Bottom line,” he says, “it’s iron. Besides, Ritchie Bros. has sales every month, so I can just go buy it again. You’ll see me around the sites.”

Sell your equipment with Ritchie Bros.

Thousands of companies sell equipment with Ritchie bros. every year—from one item to a complete dispersal. Learn more about selling equipment with Ritchie Bros., or contact us to discuss your options.

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Related articles:
Results, photos and video from 4 equipment auctions in March

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