People who are comfortable with live auctions may not be too eager to make the move to digital, especially if they’re unfamiliar with internet auctions in general.
Fortunately, many of the strategies used in successful live auction bidding can translate to virtual auctions as well.
By understanding these methods – as well as a few internet-specific strategies – you can improve your odds of getting the unit you want at the right price:
Set a budget and stick to it. Before you bid on your first unit, you need to set a firm guideline for yourself about how much you can spend and don’t let yourself go over it. Be sure to leave a little bit of wiggle room in your budget for expenses like gas to drive to the unit you’ve won so you can clean it out. Also save money for any taxes you might need to pay on the merchandise you purchase.
Know the value of what you’re bidding on. Online auctions have one major advantage over live auctions: They tend to last for days, which gives you plenty of time to research the items you can see in the photos. Take your time searching for those items and determining how much you can reasonably resell them for. This will help you make an accurate bidding budget.
Lay low until the end of the auction. Because online auctions can last a long time, waiting to the end can save you money and prevent you from wasting time watching an auction for activity. Scope out the auction at the beginning, determine how much it’s worth, then come in during the last day to secure a high bid. The later you wait, the better your odds of getting a good deal. Just be careful: You can be outbid at the last minute by others with the same strategy.
Don’t get caught in a bidding war. It’s easy to let your pride get in the way when you’re bidding, especially if you’ve been watching the same auction for several days. It’s important not to get so emotionally invested that you over-spend, though. If somebody outbids you, don’t rush to re-up your bid. Instead, hold off as long as possible before placing your next bid. The only bid that counts is the one placed at the end of the auction. If bidding goes too high before the end, back away from the auction.
Don’t bid on anything you don’t want. When someone fails to pay the winning bid of an auction, the lot usually goes to the next-highest bidder. This continues if the second bidder doesn’t pay up. Fake bidding isn’t common in auctions, but it can happen. More often, people might back out after they realize that they bid way more than they’re willing to spend. Either way, it’s important to only bid on units that you’re willing to buy, even if you let yourself get out-bid, because you may still end up winning if the people above you back out. In other words, bidding up your competition can come back to bite you if they back out. Be smart and only bid on lots you’d like to win.
Whether you’re bidding online or in person, following these tips can help you save money at an auction while ensuring you get the units you really want.
They can also be applied to other types of auctions, like those held on eBay, so you can branch out your resale business further.
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