Buying and selling stuff has been a significant part of my adult life. I got the idea to turn it into a full-time job after I decided to sell my vintage collection of LPs on eBay and earned $3,000 from that. When I ran out of cool items to dispose of, I felt so down because I loved bantering with the potential buyers and watching the bids rise. But once my best friend learned about my problem, he said, “Why don’t we attend this auction event that I saw in the newspaper and see if you can find anything to buy and sell?” Then, the rest, as people say, is history.
Since I focus on vintage items, I don’t exactly need to go to every auction possible to get something new to offer to my clients. Buying a 1950s car and selling it at three or five times its original price, for instance, can give me a chance to rest for at least a couple of months. If I find anything owned by famous people in the past, the numbers can go up impressively.
The thing is, due to the coronavirus outbreak, it is not highly ideal for me to attend auctions anytime soon. This is not because my former clients no longer have money to pay for my finds, but because I have young kids at home. If I go out there, bump shoulders with other bidders, and catch the virus, I might bring it to the house and affect my loved ones. So, no, I won’t risk it.
Despite my conviction, though, there was a low point in my life when I considered taking a risk and not caring whether I got the virus. That’s when I had nothing to sell—not even a teapot—and I was worried about being unable to provide my family’s needs. Luckily, after a few chats with my business colleagues, I found out that some auctioneers now hold events online.
Here are a few tips before attending an online auction.
Look For A Reliable Auction Company
The first thing you must do is look for a trustworthy auction company. By “trustworthy,” we are talking about a company that will not disappear when you try to arrange the shipment of any item you win through a bid. You have ideally been in the business long enough to know that some folks try to scam their attendees mercilessly.
One quick way to see one is by entering platforms like BidSpotter and Proxibid. You can think of them as the Amazon version of auctions. If you attend an event via these channels, there’s an incredibly high chance of not getting fooled by lawless people.
Find Out How It Works
An auction event is not a one-size-fits-all thing. Yes, the items, auctioneers, and bidders are present, but that’s where the similarities typically end. The products you can buy can range from cards to cards, and their amounts can go up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. What you must pay attention to are the rules that the company wants all potential bidders to follow.
The latter mostly revolves around money. For instance, how can you place your bids? How can you pay? How or when will you receive the items? More importantly, how much will the company charge on top of the product’s winning price? If you cannot get the answers to these questions in the FAQ section, you may email or call their customer representatives.
Check Out The Inspection Phase
In a regular auction, the auctioneers tend to ask people to arrive an hour or two before the actual event. For the sake of transparency, they let the bidders watch the inspection process of every item to be sold that day.
The same thing can be expected when you do an online auction, although you can no longer be in the same room as the inspectors. You should figure out when this inspection will occur and be sure to watch it closely. This way, you can see if the auction is worthy of your time and money or not.
Learn The Platform Like The Back Of Your Hand
Furthermore, assuming you have never used an auction platform before and are not tech-savvy, you may quickly get lost on the website. That will be a bummer, especially if you have previously seen items that you want so badly. The worst-case scenario is that you cannot log into the site on time and miss the event.
A word of advice: you should sign up at least two days before the auction date. Comb through the website, learn how to place your bids, and practically avoid losing interesting stuff to others.
An online auction may not be as exciting as the conventional one that you are used to, but it will do for now. It is better than being a bum and having no means to support your family, so I hope you soon get the hang of it.