Wednesday, August 03, 2005

How to bid at an Auction Sale

For some people attending an auction sale for the first time can be a very intimidating experience. People milling around evaluating potential purchases or just looking to see what their neighbor had accumulated. When the bid calling chant begins, are you the type of bidder that has your strategy completely planned out or are you the person that others refer to as someone who gets carried away with the moment when bidding begins.

To be the successful highest bidder is easy. To get a bargain you need to have a plan in place well before the day of the sale.

Talking to bidders from across North America the most consistent advice we have been given is to research the value of any item before you leave home, this can be done by calling your local dealer, reading ads in the paper, or doing a search on an internet site such as Ag Also visit services like FACTS Report to access recent auction selling prices. This should give you a range for the piece of equipment you are planning on purchasing. Most of us have been to an auction where we've seen a buyer pay more for a 2 - 3 year old item than it would cost new. The best way to prevent this is by setting a value before you leave home and then adjusting it when you have inspected it for condition at the sale.

Once you have a target price for that item, how do you achieve your goal? A lot of people have told us that before they start bidding, they watch the auctioneers in action to see his technique and how he works, they all have different styles of selling. Watch to see how he starts the bidding, is it initially high and dropped until he gets a bid, or low to get the sale started and to gain momentum. Many auctioneers have a policy that if no one will open the bidding they will place the first bid to speed things up.

Everyone has a different bidding style. Do you start the bidding and continue fast and aggressively to show determination and to deter competition or wait until near the end and then jump in to dishearten any remaining bidders. I've seen buyers wait until the very end and win with their only bid, and others open the bidding and purchase the item. Do you bid slowly to give your opponent time to think about how much he is paying or enter the ring quickly and decisively at the end with a couple of fast bids. Auctioneers certainly appreciate the bidders who step forward and quickly get things moving.

Next where do you stand? Many people stand in front of the equipment in good view of the auctioneers and other bidders to show enthusiasm and to discourage neighbors form bidding against them. Or do you stay in the crowd out of view and bid through a ring person to stay anonymous until the end, so no one knows who is buying. Who do you watch whilst bidding, the auctioneers to make sure he doesn't miss your bid or your opponent to psyche him out ?

Most people seem to use a combination of these strategies depending on what suits them and how much they want a particular item but everybody agrees on one strategy, if the price is too high don't bid at all! The other thing that we learned talking to people about auctions was that part of their attraction is that they enjoy the challenge of competing for that elusive bargain and the entertainment of watching the day's action.

To contact Dwayne, visit

(c) 2005 Global Auction Guide Media Group- All rights reserved.