Online Equipment Auctions Growing In Popularity

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | August 2008 Vol. 63 No. 8
A ‘ringman’ monitors an IronPlanet online auction.

• Faster time to market – While traditional auctions are often held once a quarter in a given region, on line auctions can be held at any time. IronPlanet holds featured auctions at least every two weeks, enabling equipment owners and managers to consign equipment, sell and receive payment within a matter of a few weeks. Holding frequent auctions helps to streamline equipment disposition, and reduces carrying costs on non productive machines.
• Global audience – In today's market, one of the most significant advantages of on line auctions is the ability to reach a global audience. Not only does this generate more interested buyers, it also creates a more competitive bidding environment. On line auctions also offset local and regional markets struggling because of a sluggish domestic economy and damaged construction industry. IronPlanet shipped 37 percent of all equipment to international buyers in the first quarter of this year. With significant international demand and developing countries rapidly building infrastructure, on line auctions will continue to generate premium prices on used equipment.

• Lower Selling Costs – On line auctions also offer up to 11 percent lower selling costs. Without the infrastructure of a traditional auction, on line auctions can charge customers lower commissions and fees. Transporting equipment to auctions can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on volume. IronPlanet sells equipment straight from the customer's lot, completely eliminating the cost of transportation. We also allow sellers to decide how much make ready work a machine needs, further reducing cost.

How have on line auctions impacted traditional auctions?

Branch: It's hard to say how on line auctions have impacted traditional auction companies that have not embraced the internet, but as the largest on line and on site industrial auctioneer, we know that they are an important part of our business. Our customers are anything but traditional. The 450,000 active customers we know are a smart, savvy group who are constantly open to new and leading edge ways of participating in our auctions. The on line auction will never completely replace our live events, but the two work hand in hand together as long as our customers value that advantage.