Vendor Resources | October 08,2020
Tips for Running a Smooth (and Successful) Auction Pick-up
Tips for AuctionNinja licensees / vendors on how to run a smooth auction pick-up.

Know any good pick-up lines? No, no, this is not a piece with tips for the dating scene. However, if you're in the online auction and estate sale business, you'll want to follow these easy tips for ensuring a smooth post-sale pick-up.


Pre Auction

Believe it or not, much of the success for a smooth post-sale pick-up occurs before the auction.

  • Make sure that your cataloging and photography is accurate. From a "good vendor" perspective, if you state that something is 24kt gold you should be willing to guarantee that you've represented the item correctly. If there is any doubt on your part, there are ways to present an item without guaranteeing it. In the 24kt gold example, you might state, that the item "appears to be 24kt gold" or is "stamped 24kt gold" which indicates that it's your best educated guess given the information you have during cataloging.

  • Auction NinjaAlways include accurate measurements of the items. A lot of bidders will not even consider placing a bid on an item that does not have measurements and the 15 seconds it might have taken you to take measurements may have cost you a lost bid (or numerous lost bids). In the case of a grouping of smalls, present measurements for the largest item and the smallest item.

  • Be sure to include photos of any faults, blemishes, and the like in your secondary / supplemental imagery. You want to be as up front and transparent as possible before someone places a bid. This will greatly reduce issues that may arise after the auction with displeased bidders who feel cheated or scammed because issues were not disclosed either in photos or cataloging (or both).
  • Ensure that your pick-up details and policies are clearly stated on your website and in your terms and conditions. 
  • Double check your winning bidder email template to make sure that the information your winning bidders need (pick-up times, addresses, COVID related safety measures, etc.) are correctly and completely filled-in, so the information is readily available to your winning bidders.
  • Respond in a timely manner to questions and inquiries about the items your are selling. 


Post Auction

Perhaps the most important tip for a successful post-auction pick-up is being organized and making sure that whatever policies and procedures you've put in place are followed. Here are some additional tips:

  • Print out all your winning bidders' invoices the day before pick-up and place in a binder for safe keeping.
  • If at all possible, go to the sale site a day before the scheduled pick-up to sort, bundle, and group together items (as much as possible) for each bidder. If you can't do it the day before, at the very least allow yourself a few hours the morning of pick-ups to organize as much as possible.
  • Unless specific appointments/arrangements have been made with the winning bidders of large/bulky items/equipment (i.e., refrigerator, large gym equipment, etc.) make sure that all your winning bidders remain outside the home while you and/or your staff "pick" their items. Items may then be brought outside and placed in a general pick-up area for the winning bidders to pack and load into their own vehicles.
  • Make sure that you ask for photo ID's of everyone picking-up auction lots. If the name on the ID does not match the name on the invoice and you haven't already been notified via email/text from the winning bidder explicitly stating that another party has permission to pick-up said lots, don't release the lots. If you have to accept a verbal confirmation from the winning bidder, then so be it, but whenever possible, try to reach the winning bidder via email or text (it's best to have some sort of proof the conversation took place).
  • Have the winning bidder (or their pick-up agent) sign their respective invoices stating that they have received the merchandise. Keep these signed invoices in a secure and organized place, so you can offer it as proof should a dispute arise.
  • If a post-auction issue arises (especially if the issue is due to incorrect or faulty cataloging), be honest and open about what you can do then and there. Sometimes, given the circumstances you may not be able to issue a credit immediately; be honest and tell them that the credit will be issued in XX days. If a bidder objects to an item not being as described (i.e., a chair that was cataloged as 18th century turns out to be a 20th century reproduction), work with them. Yes, most vendors sell things "as-is," but if the fault is with your company, then you should do the right thing. It costs much less to have a satisfied customer than it does trying to undo all the potential bad publicity of a disgruntled customer. If other objections arise where it is clearly an error of the bidder's fault, be professional about finding a resolution, if any can be found.


We hope these tips help. If you have other tips for running smooth pick-ups, please let us know.


Let's stay in touch

Sign up for the latest news, tips, and designer inspired spaces by joining our weekly newsletter.