Are you in the market for a car or a computer but don’t want to pay retail prices? Try buying at a surplus auction! This article is designed to provide you with the details on what a surplus auction is and how they work. Specifics may vary from auction to auction; however, the following information includes helpful and important guidelines from which everyone can benefit.
Have you ever wondered what happens to all of the equipment that is purchased each year by federal, state and local government agencies, and school districts? Well, don’t worry – they don’t just toss it out in the garbage! In fact, in most states they are required by law to sell unused and outdated equipment back to the public at an auction!
Surplus auctions can feature just about any kind of equipment – vehicles, boats, computers, office furniture, heavy machinery, industrial tools, military equipment, aircraft and more. Some of these items are in brand new condition, some are used and a very small percentage are no longer usable.
Surplus auctions are conducted in two ways: live or online. In a live surplus auction, only bidders who are physically present at an auction onsite are able to bid. These auctions usually have a notation that reads “Sorry No Online Bidding.” The agency or school disposing of the property usually posts a public notice about the surplus auction, including information such as the location, date, time and a list of the items that will be auctioned off.
When you bid on items at a surplus auction, in most cases you are agreeing to accept the item “As-Is.” “As-Is” means there is no warranty on the property and the bidder is responsible for removal from the auction location. It also means that the bidder must rely on their own information to make bidding decisions – the bidder is responsible to inspect the property! There is almost always an inspection period that is granted, usually the day before the auction, so that bidders can look at the items they are interested in bidding on. Live surplus auctions are open to the public, but you must register in order to bid.
Online surplus auctions are also open to the public. In fact, they serve a wider audience as anyone with a working internet connection can bid after they register. In most cases, surplus auctions are actually held in both live and online setting simultaneously. This will be noted in the auction publication.
You can purchase a lot of equipment for much less than retail price at a surplus auction. Remember though, to bid with your head and not above it. Research carefully what you are interested in and what it would bring in if you intend to resell it. Set a firm price in your mind and don’t go over that price. Don’t ever get caught up in the heat of the moment when the bidding starts going crazy. Take a step back and re-evaluate before you pay more for something than you originally intended!