Whether you are looking for second-hand machinery or thinking about selling your surplus, an online auction is just the thing for you.

Since their first appearance in 1995, online auctions of second-hand machinery have become one of the hottest phenomena on the Internet. They offer buyers a “virtual flea market” with an infinite selection of second-hand machinery from around the world – and give salespeople a “showcase” from which they can market everything from small used equipment to entire plants to millions of international buyers.

Regardless of whether you are a buyer or a seller of second-hand equipment, there is a smart way to “do” online auctions. This will make sure you get the most out of your online auction.

How do online auctions work?

Online auctions are bazaars. In most cases, sellers offer only one piece of equipment, but sometimes they offer multiple lots of the same equipment. The auction websites often refer to auctions of several articles as “Dutch” or “English” auctions. In some locations, the seller may need to sell all equipment at the price of the lowest successful bid. At other locations, the seller is entitled to the prices offered by each of the highest bidders.

Occasionally, internet sellers set a “minimum price,” the lowest price they’ll accept for their second-hand equipment. Some websites announce the minimum price during the online auction.

The bid for each online auction is closed at a specified time when the highest bidder wins. If more than one lot is sold, the highest bidder will be required to buy the items at the end of the auction. If nobody offers at or above the reserve price, the auction will be concluded without a winner. Upon completion of a successful auction, the buyer and the seller will communicate, usually by e-mail, to arrange payment and delivery of the goods.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while selling second-hand industrial equipment on online auctions:

Choose a site

You want to find a website that suits selling second-hand industrial machinery. First, think of websites where you bought your machinery. Did you like the functionality of the websites and the articles displayed there? Are you looking for a website where you can sell used industrial equipment or concentrate on a specialty? Visit different websites and note:

  • If you want to buy there
  • How much does it cost to be a seller and do you think the costs are reasonable?
  • If you are familiar with the rules of the website for sellers
  • If the site offers help that is important to you, such as: best practices to create your account, create lists
  • When the site helps you communicate with buyers and solve customer problems

See what current vendors talk about their experiences on a website

You can search for comments from sellers by typing the name of a site and “ratings” in your web browser. Or look for discussion groups for sellers on or off the auction site. The seller’s comments can lead him to questions he has not thought about.

How will you get paid? 

Some payment systems are more secure than others. When looking at a website, you should determine if buyers are being asked to use credit cards that offer some protection, or an online payment system that processes payments from buyer accounts to sellers. If you plan to sell high-cost dollar products, look for a website using a trusted service for payments. This service accepts the buyer’s payment and informs the seller that the payment waits for the seller to send the item. Once the buyer has accepted the shipment, the escrow service releases the payment to the seller.

Is your information secure? 

You must provide the site with personal and financial information (such as a bank or credit account number) to pay for services. Find out how the site protects and uses your information, and look for signs that the site is secure, such as a URL that begins with https (the “s” is true).

List your used equipment to the online auction site

Their lists of articles and their publicity must tell the truth and contain all the relevant information so that they do not deceive anyone. Honest ads are required by law and are also suitable for the business. Being aware of an item in advance creates trust and prevents buyers from asking questions. For example, if you are selling old used second-hand machinery that is not in its best shape, add words such as “used”, “outdated” or “as is” and describe the damage or defect. When creating an entry, think like a buyer. Use keywords such as brand name, model number or technical specification that someone uses during the search. Your lists can get more attention as you add details and descriptive descriptions. For example, instead of listing “Mori Seiki machining center”, try “Mori Seiki NV5000a1A/40, vertical machining center, table size 1100 x 600 mm”.

Insert some photos of the second-hand machinery taken from different angles. Buyers want to see the actual item you offer, not generic photos of something similar. Also, specify the dimensions and weight of the item so that buyers can calculate the shipping costs they need to pay. Include your email address in your lists so that users can easily contact you if you have questions.

Explain how do you operate

If it’s not provided by online auction site, your sales rules and policies can influence a person’s bid decisions. Make sure your policies are easy to find in each list and easy to understand. Buyers want to know:

  • Include a photo of the machinery if possible. There is a lot of truth in the saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words”.
  • Anticipate the questions buyers may have and include them in the description of your equipment.
  • Enter the minimum offer you would like to accept.
  • Provide your return policy, it must include who is responsible for paying the shipping or redemption fee when the item will return.
  • Determine who should pay for the shipment of the machinery and whether you would like to make international shipments.
Read also:  Machinery and Equipment Appraisal Process

Read about the process of the website so that you know the deadlines to get help. A FTC Rule requires you to ship the items sold within the time specified. If you did not specified any time for the shipping, it will be 30 days. If you cannot fulfil the shipping obligation, you must give the buyer the opportunity to accept a new date or cancel the order for a full refund.

Dealing with bidders

Respond to bidders’ questions about the auctioned item or conditions of sale as soon as possible.

After closing the auction, print out all the information about the transaction. It must include the identification of the buyer, a description of the article; Date, time and price of the offer. Keep a copy of every email you receive and receive from the auction site or the bidder you receive.

Contact the successful buyer as soon as the auction end. Confirm the final cost, including shipping costs, and tell the buyer where to send the payment.

Scams against sellers

Online scammers are not looking for offers. They are looking for goods, money and personal information. There are things you can do to protect yourself from them. Focus on the auction conditions.

Use safer payment methods

Use credit cards or an online payment system or escrow service that you select or recommend the online auction site.

Accepting a bank or banker’s check or money order is risky, even if the name of a legitimate financial institution is displayed, as this can be a fake. Your bank can accept a check or a money order at the beginning, as the bank has to make the money from the paid checks available in a few days. It may appear that the check has been cashed and that the money is in your account. However, it may take weeks to find a check. If you ship the goods before a check or money order has been fully settled and it turns out to be wrong, you will lose the goods and the payment due to you.

Do not answer when a buyer asks for your account number so you can “deposit the payment into your account”. Once you have access to your account, you are likely to use your money and not add it.

Look at several companies before choosing a trustee service. Search online for the company name and the word “complaint” or “review” and see if your state requires a license for the service. If you want a buyer to use a particular online deposit service, leave it in the list. If you receive an email stating that the buyer has deposited money with a service or third-party service that you have not selected, do not send anything. It could be a fake e-mail that looks like money is waiting, if not. If you trust the message and send the article, you could lose it and never receive the payment.

Sell only things you have in your possession

In a chronic system, a scammer contacts a seller and asks him to make a list of his goods and to collect payments from buyers. The cheater asks the seller to keep a portion of the “payments” and resubmit the remainder, saying he will send the goods directly to the buyers. But after the fraudster’s money reception, he usually does not ship the products that he advertised. Disappointed buyers connect with the person they’ve paid for complaints and refund requests.

Use the contact information the site has on file

Do not handle the flow when someone contacts you after the auction ends. It can be a scammer who has abducted the real bidder’s account and wants to steal the goods from you and the rightful bidder. When you use the address information that is archived protect yourself and the true buyer.

Tell the site about a problem buyer

For example, if a buyer is requesting the return of an item for a refund, but instead of sending the item you sent, it will inform the site’s website owners. Even if you cannot prevent the scammer from getting a refund, you can help the site eliminate the scams.


From the first offer, things move quickly with the bidders offering their offers, up to the price they are willing to pay. It is not necessary, nor is it customary for the auctioneer to say slowly, “Go once, go twice, etc.” If it is determined that the final bid has been made, the auctioneer will identify and congratulate the highest bidder. In the case of an auction “subject to confirmation”, the seller reserves the right to accept or reject the highest bid within a certain time after the auction. If the auction is a single object such as an entire facility, this completes the auction, and the buyer simply executes the facility purchase contract and makes the earnest money deposit.


The closing of the property usually takes place within 30 to 60 days from the date of the auction. The closure is not subject to any funding, evaluation or inspection.

Keep transaction records

Upon completion of the auction, you should print or retain copies of the transaction records. It includes the description of the product, the final price, and your communication with the buyer. The auction or payment system may also have copies of the records. Track when and how you shipped the item, track the package and proof of delivery.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Small Business website provides information about the bookkeeping requirements of online auction sellers, whether they are occasional or in-progress. If you need to keep confidential personal information about a customer, such as: For example, if you have a name, credit, or other account number, you must keep it safe and remove it properly.

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