How an Auctioneer Uses Proxibid to Bring Auctions Online
By Wayne Tuiskula
Wayne Tuiskula, owner of Central Mass Auctions Inc., explains his experience using Proxibid to bring his real-world auctions online.
There are a wide variety of options available for auctioneers who sell online and for bidders seeking to expand their collections or searching for inventory to sell elsewhere. eBay reversed course and now hosts live auctions after once deciding to eliminate them, and Auctionzip/Invaluable offers live auctions on its platform. LiveAuctioneers formed an alliance with eBay when it first ran live auctions, giving LiveAuctioneers a leg up on competitors at the time.
There are also products to create your own online auctions including a WordPress plugin. After some consideration, I chose Proxibid for our online auctions for a variety of reasons.
I considered purchasing standalone auction software that I could link to from my website or could be embedded in my site. But we find that even though we promote our auctions heavily, we always seem to draw new bidders who find us by searching on Proxibid.
We prefer to focus on our core strength of running auctions. Having 24-hour support for our clients who need help with registration, credit card issues, etc. is important to us. Proxibid also offers a service similar to PayPal called Auction Payment Network (APN), making payments easy for bidders and auction houses.
I found Proxibid to be better at screening bidders than another company I had used in the past. There is a tier system for bidder approval. Tier 1 is the most common and checks for previous fraudulent bidder activity and a valid credit card. Tier 4 is the most stringent and sellers must manually approve all participants.
Proxibid's selling formats page shows the different options that are available for sellers. Auctioneers can open their live auctions to online bidders using Proxibid's software. Timed auctions similar to eBay are also offered. The auction can be configured to have bidding on all lots end at once or lots can be staggered.
We typically stagger items one minute apart, which is the shortest time increment allowed.
Proxibid's extended bidding software eliminates sniping. When someone bids shortly before bidding ends on a lot, it extends the bidding time. Two minutes is the default, but it is tunable. Proxibid also has "Buy Now" and "Make Offer" options available.
Proxibid allows sellers to set the terms of their auctions. Standard auction terms of the sale such as the buyer's premium, forms of payment and preview times along with any special terms are listed by the auctioneer.
We have a dedicated page on Proxibid, but there's not much to see until we have an auction running.
Our company has used the live auction simulcast feature on a few occasions with our antique estates auctions, but we primarily use Proxibid to run online auctions for estates that we handle in Boston and surrounding areas.
We typically offer a preview period for bidders prior to the auction. Bidding ends online and there is a specified time for local pickup of items or a winning bidder can provide their own shipper or mover.
There are buyers who prefer a traditional estate (tag) sale, but we find many who don't like the long lines and competition for items at the beginning of a sale. For our clients who hire us to liquidate an estate, they are pleased that most items will sell and the clean-out is kept to a minimum.
We have found Proxibid's rates to be very competitive. They charge a fee of 2% of sales. There is a $400 additional fee if your auction has items with reserves.
When Auctionzip started to run online auctions and shortly prior to eBay reentering the live-auction market, Proxibid called me to lock in at my current rates and avoid a fee increase. We have been happy overall with Proxibid and agreed to sign on for a longer period of time. However, I never saw the rate increases materialize that Proxibid informed me I would be avoiding by extending my agreement.
Proxibid had more of a focus on industrial machinery and construction heavy equipment when I first started using them. I now see many more antiques, memorabilia and collectibles auctions on their site.
Most importantly to us, our consignors and bidders are typically pleased with the auctions that we run on Proxibid.
About the author:
Wayne Tuiskula has been an antique and collectibles dealer for over 20 years and a licensed auctioneer. He runs Central Mass. Auctions Inc. in Worcester, Massachusetts. He holds the (GPPA) Graduate Personal Property Appraiser designation from the National Auctioneers Association. Email Wayne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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