How to Bid at Auction

When Attending an Auction Here are some basic tips you should know when attending an auction.

  1. Show Up Early.
    Arriving early will give you time to get familiar with your surroundings and, most importantly, it will give you time to preview the merchandise or items being sold. You can see the items close up and start planning for which items you will make bids.
  2. Make Sure You Register.
    Anyone who bids must have a bidder number and this can only be secured through registering before the auction begins.
  3. Be Prepared to Bid.

Bidding is simple. But if you’re doing it for the first time, it can be intimidating. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Make sure you clearly understand the terms and conditions of the auction before making a bid (these will be included in the bidder packet you receive when you register).
  • Listen closely to the auctioneer. The auctioneer will determine the increments of bidding. If you are having a bit of trouble understanding the auction chant, plan to listen for a few minutes and get a feel for it before you jump in and begin bidding.
  • Be sure you make eye contact with the auctioneer when you bid.
  • The process is fast so if you wish to bid, quickly raise your hand or shout out loud.

If you’re new to auctions, there’s nothing to fear. This step by step guide will show you just how easy it is to find, scout and participate in a live auction in your area.

  1. Find an auction
    Use our auction locator to find an auction nearby. You can even search for a specific type of auction, if you’re just looking for antiques, dolls etc.
  2. Preview the auction
    Many auctions let you preview what is going on the auction block a few day or even weeks in advance. Once you’ve located the auction you want to attend, call the auctioneer or auction house to see if they will have a preview date.
  3. Arrive early
    On the day of the auction, try and get there early enough to register and get a good seat. It’s not only important for you to be able to see the auctioneer, but for the auctioneer to be able to see you.
  4. Inspect
    Carefully inspect any items you’re interested in. Are they damaged? Do you see other people looking at the same items? How much competition does it look like you’re up against?
  5. Set a price
    What are you willing to bid? You should have a number in mind, so you don’t go way over your budget in the heat of the moment. Don’t forget to include your total costs, like repairs, decorations, fees, and delivery charges. Use the bidder’s package you were given if you were given one at registration.
  6. Bid
    Have fun! Carefully follow the auction and get a feel for who you’re bidding against. And remember, the maximum bid you’re willing to make is just that; a maximum. Don’t jump to that number unless it’s necessary. You might very well get the item you want for much less.
  7. Pay
    If you win, find the Bookkeeper or Clerk and take care of your bill. You can also arrange for delivery at this time.
  8. Enjoy