Which Type of Equipment Auction Fits Your Needs?

Working with an auction company (whose job is to resell used cars and trucks, used construction equipment and utility equipment) can be a great way to find a wide variety of good used equipment at a value. While the auction concept of trading has not changed much since being created during the Roman Empire, technical advancements now allow everyone more ways to buy and sell surplus including online auctions, timed auctions and more.

Let’s look at some of the types of auction setups buyers may see.

Auction Ramp Sale

At this kind of event, participants are stationary and each individual piece of equipment is driven up on a ramp in front of the bidders. At the auctioneer’s cue, bidding commences and the item is sold.  Keep in mind that although seating may be comfortable, you are paying for it.  Multi-million dollar facilities with dozens of employees conducting the sale, driving the equipment, etc comes at a cost to buyers and sellers.

Walk-Around Auction Sale

As the name implies, in this kind of auction, bidding is done where the equipment is positioned on the auction yard and both auctioneers and customers move through the auction yard during the sale.  As one item is sold, the item next to it is offered for sale by the auctioneer. Perhaps less convenient, it is often necessary for some types of machinery to be stationary. Another reason for a walk-around sale is to reduce the overall cost of setting up and conducting an auction.  Many times, a walk-around auction will end up being less costly for all participants.

Live Online Auction Sale

Used equipment online auctions take place exactly like a live physical event except that buyers are able to place bids via the internet. In order to join in, a participant must be logged into an auction website at a specified date and time. When live bidding  stops, the winning bidder is immediately announced by the auctioneer. The advantage of this bidding method is that a buyer can participate from almost anywhere without having to be present on site, placing bids in a crowded room while making on-the-spot decisions.  Some buyers like that physical atmosphere; but if you do not, then online bidding is for you.  In this format, however, there is still a potential need to visit the equipment location or send a reliable mechanic to inspect machinery before bidding.

Timed Auction Sale

In a timed event, the auction may extend over many days before an item is pronounced “sold”.   In order to take part, a participant must be registered on an auction website. Once a bidding session begins, participants enter the highest amount they are willing to pay for the lot.  Bidding proceeds by an automated process and notification of the winning bid is announced at the end of the event. Ebay is a notable example of the timed auction format.  Timed auctions can be advantageous because of convenience. Participants are not required to attend a physical event in order to take part and, unlike live virtual bidding, do not necessarily have to be in front of a computer to participate. A potential buyer simply needs to enter a bid and wait for the system to declare the winner.

  • A key disadvantage of a timed sale process is “what if I need it now?”  If a buyer needs an item, they may not be able to wait until the timed auction ends to know if they have won the item or not.  Additionally, if the buyer is not successful, they have to re-start their equipment search, and they have lost all the time involved in the timed sale process.  They may not want to wait that amount of time, while not knowing the outcome.

Surplus used construction equipment and vehicles are readily available for purchase at auctions.  The general public can take advantage of public auctions to make a purchase directly from the fleet owner, rather than pay a marked-up price.  Consider your options, and if you have questions please contact us.