Hiring An Auction Company

Estimating your assets value:

Typically, one of the first questions a business owner will ask me is, “how much will the assets bring at an auction”. After taking the time to review the assets, the auctioneer should give the client a conservative estimate of the sale based upon his experience and the current market trends. It is important that the company give realistic expectations so the seller can make informed decisions based on their best interest.

Compensation and Expenses:

Is the company you are considering working for you or against you? The agreement you decide may determine this.

A business owner should carefully consider how the auction company is compensated. The most common commission structures include: straight commission, outright purchase of assets, guaranteed base with a split above to both auctioneer and seller, guaranteed base with anything above going to auctioneer or a flat fee structure.

In a straight commission structure, the company is paid an agreed upon percentage of the total sale.

In an outright purchase agreement, the auctioneer simply becomes your end buyer. The company purchases your assets and relocates them. While this can be an option in some unique situations, keep in mind that they will want to purchase your assets at a very reduced price to make a profit at a later date.

In a minimum base guarantee, the auction company guarantees the seller that the auction will generate a minimum amount of sales. Anything above that amount either goes to the auction company or split with the seller. While a seller might feel more comfortable doing an auction knowing that he is guaranteed a minimum amount for his sale, keep in mind that it is the best interest of the auction company to secure a minimum base price as low as possible in order reduce their financial liability to the seller and secure higher compensation for the sale.

In a flat fee structure, the auctioneer agrees to show up for the sale and call the auction. There is no incentive for the auctioneer to get the best prices for your assets. The auction company is compensated regardless of the outcome of your sale.

What is the best option for business owners? In my experience, an agreed upon straight commission structure. This puts the responsibility on the auction company to offer the best outcome for everyone involved. There is an incentive for the auction company to work hard for both parties, set up and run a professional sale, get the highest bid and sell every item on the inventory. Successful auctions translate to a higher bottom line for both the seller and the auction company.

Auction Expenses:

In most auction agreements the expenses to conduct an auction are passed to the seller. If the auction company pays for the expenses, it is simply absorbed in higher commission rates.

All expenses should be agreed upon in advance in a written contract. Typical expenses will include the costs of advertising, labor, legal fees, travel, equipment rentals, security, postage and printing. A reputable auction company will be able to estimate all expenses based upon their experience in previous auctions. An agreement should be actual costs charged as expenses, not an estimated amount.

Advertising is typically the highest cost in conducting an auction. The auction company needs to set up an advertising campaign that will promote the sale to its best advantage and not overspend to simply advertise the auction company.

Once the auction is complete, the auction company should provide a complete breakdown of all expenses to the seller, including copies of receipts within the auction summary report.

Buyer’s Premium:

What is a buyer’s premium? If you attend auctions regularly, you are very familiar with this term. The auction company charges a fee to the buyer when they buy an item at auction.

The buyer’s premium has been around since the 1980′s and is standard auction practice. It was first used by auction houses to help offset costs of running brick and mortar permanent auction facilities. Since then, it has spread to all aspects of the auction industry. It is prominent in online auctions and allows auction companies to cover added expenses incurred from online sales.

It is the responsibility of the auction company to provide clear disclosure of the buyer’s premium to both the buyers and the sellers. Those not familiar with auctions are often taken back by the buyer’s premium. They looked upon it as an under handed way for the auction company to make more money. Reputable auction companies will provide full disclosure within the auction contract, advertisement and bidder registration.

Typically, an auction company will charge online buyers a higher buyer’s premium percentage than those attending an auction in person. Extra fees are incurred with online bidding and are charged accordingly to online buyers. This provides the seller a level playing field for both online buyers and those attending the auction in person. Without the buyer’s premium, there is no way to do this.

Pre-Sales:

We’ve all been there. We’re looking forward to attending an auction only to find that some items were sold prior to the auction date.

As an auctioneer with over thirty-six years of experience, I can honestly state that pre-sales will hurt an auction. When a company decides to liquidate their assets, it is easy to sell off high-end pieces of equipment through online sources, equipment vendors or to other businesses. The seller receives instant cash and avoids paying a commission to an auction company.

Auctioneer’s find themselves appearing to acting in a self-serving capacity when potential clients say they are planning to sell off parts of their inventory prior to an auction. It’s hard not to consider the auctioneer’s commission when they warn you not to pre-sell anything. Yes, the auctioneer wants to earn a commission on those sales but it is more important that the auctioneer protect the sale from potential negative backlash that comes from pre-selling. The buying public knows when an auction has been “cherry picked” prior to the sale and it reflects in their bidding. It becomes a sale of “leftovers” and that impacts prices.

A buyer who purchases prior to the auction usually does not attend the sale. They already bought equipment at a good price with no competition. If they do attend the auction, they tend to let others know of their great pre-sale purchases which again, impacts prices and the overall excitement of the sale.

It is important to understand that auctions work best with a complete inventory. You want competition on your higher end equipment. The easy to sell items make it possible to gain respectable prices for hard to sell items.

When a business owner decides to liquidate their equipment assets, there is only one opportunity to do it right. Hiring a reputable auction company will assist you with a professional, orderly and timely liquidation.

3 P’s Drive Small Business Success in 2010

What a year! For many, 2009 is a year they would like to forget. Between over-leveraged mortgages, banks that failed or were too big to fail, and a restructuring of the auto industry, many individuals and businesses alike are ready to ring in 2010 with a more hopeful outlook.In the coming months, the healthcare debate, business incentives and changes to the tax code will be at the forefront of local and national debates. Though important, these are issues in which the individual small business owner has minimal say. Instead of focusing on these larger issues, entrepreneurs should focus their efforts on enhancing small business productivity, prudence, and profit as we move into 2010.ProductivityIn the last few years, many companies learned to do more with less as cuts in spending and employment left many small businesses demanding more out of their employees. In 2010, small business productivity will remain vital as employees continue to carry a heavy workload. For companies to succeed, they need to arm their employees with the right small business productivity tools.By identifying and implementing the right small business solutions, entrepreneurs can get more out of their employees and save money. Increased productivity among full-time employees can result in more sales, the development of better products and services, faster completion of tasks, and improved customer service.Regardless of the industry, many companies will turn to small business communication solutions that can improve productivity. For example, a doctor’s office may select an Interactive Voice Response system (IVR) to more efficiently handle and direct calls during and after business hours. Companies with hourly employees, like field service repair companies, may use location-based services to track field technicians and redirect them based on cost drivers like fuel consumption. Or, many companies may look to deploy BlackBerrys to their staff to help them stay connected anytime, anywhere helping fuel better small business productivity. Finding small business solutions that improve productivity will greatly impact a bottom line.PrudenceWhile the economic freefall has halted and the economy even had some bright spots in 2009, most companies are not popping celebratory champagne. And as much as we’d all like to see 2010 herald a recovery of small business productivity, many economists and so-called “financial experts” are predicting only a slightly stronger economy in 2010. Next year, prudence will be the name of the game when it comes to small business solutions.With a sharp eye on spending, small businesses will need to be prudent in their decision making and ensure they are making the right investments. Finding employees that have the right skill set, investing in developing or marketing your best product, and selecting small business solutions that will help your company grow will all demand prudence.But this careful decision making will not only focus on spending, but on all aspects of small business productivity. Many companies may reexamine their niche market or how they “have always done things” to find new and better small business solutions. Just as Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “…a little rebellion now and then is a good thing,” a shake-up of how your small business operates may be in order.ProfitOne consequence of the downturn is that many companies unfortunately closed their doors. As a result, those who survived the recession now have fewer competitors vying for customers. As the economy stabilizes, banks begin to loan more money and businesses are more comfortable with spending money, the small businesses that positioned themselves correctly will have a stronger opportunity for market penetration than they’ve likely seen in recent years. By making prudent decisions and focusing on driving small business productivity, companies will be well-positioned to profit in 2010 and beyond.If the past 12 months have taught us anything, it’s that no amount of economic forecasting is completely precise. But, let’s all look forward to 2010 with a focus on productivity, prudence, and profit, as well as the promise of what a new year will bring to small businesses.

Home Based Business Opportunities Are A Dime A Dozen: Here Are 4 Points To Consider

I know at times it can be challenging looking between all sorts of home based business opportunities and finally deciding which one is for you. Trust me I’ve been there before. At times it can simply be overwhelming.Because I’ve been in the home based business industry for a while (5+ years) I decided to write this article to help guide you in the right direction. Ultimately the choice is yours.Now there are several types of businesses that fall under the “home based business opportunities” category.You have day cares, consulting firms, carpet cleaning, network marketing, direct sales, internet marketing, forex trading, and the list goes on and on. I want to bring to light in my expert opinion 4 critical keys that you want to consider while looking at home based business opportunities.1. Does It Offer True Freedom
Correct me if I am wrong. However I believe that you are like me. You are looking to be your own boss ultimately so that you can have freedom. Freedom to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, for as long as you want.A lot of home based business opportunities claim you will have freedom but in all honesty you won’t.
Too many businesses end up running the people or rather owning them. They are constantly filling orders, answering the phones, dealing with clients, driving all over town, dealing with vendors, answering email, trying to collect payment, and more.Who wants to deal with that? What if there were a way to have the benefits of being your own boss without having to deal with all the extra stuff that weighs you down?2. Systematic Process
This is a big one. I fully appreciate now knowing how powerful efficient systems are when you have them in place. It can be the difference between you being involved in every single thing that goes on in your business which will eventually wear you out vs you focusing only on what you are good at and allow the system to do the rest.It truly is a beautiful thing. Because of the systems that I have set up now, I’ve been able to eliminate myself from a lot of the heavy lifting if you will and get my work day down to 2 hours per day on activities that produce income. And it’s all because I have a system set up to do that which I’ll tell you about later.Imagine if you will having a system so powerful that handles your explaining, telling, selling, billing, payment processing, filtering, and outsourcing.3. Automatic Follow up Process
Answer this for me. If there were a way to follow up with your customers without you having to pick up the phone and feel cheesy making that phone call, would you want to know how to do it?If you are like most people you are nodding your head yes. Let’s face it. We live in a day and age where people really don’t answer the phone anymore unless your number is saved into their cell phone.Not only that but being tied to the phone to follow up with customers, prospect, make sales, collect payments, etc is a drag. That essentially makes your business your owner and you don’t have a life which goes back to point number one.Fortunately for you and me there are certain tools out there now that automate this process that we can leverage.4. Product Creation
I don’t want you to overestimate the importance of this last point. When researching home based business opportunities many people struggle with should they provide a service or a product. Then when they decide to provide a product the next question is what kind, how much will it cost, how do I get it patent, and there’s a lot of research that is involved if they are doing it right.What if you didn’t have to do all that extra intensive leg work and there were valuable products that you can stand behind that were already created? What if you didn’t have to handle the shipping, billing, or any of that with the products yet money still was deposited into your bank account like clock work.My friend that is the day and age that we live in now. If you don’t want to create a product much less provide a service then you don’t have too. There are product creators out there that are just looking for people to resell their products. Some are good and some are bad, you’d have to decide for yourself.Now that I’ve given you 4 serious points to consider when evaluating home based business opportunities I want to help you out even further. I want to show you the business that has all of these covered and then some.This business has allowed me to walk away from my job, earn a full time income, work anywhere I want because it is internet based, help develop me as a leader, and given me my life back since I only work about 2 hours per day.