The Benefits of Selling Industrial Equipment with Online Auctions

Article Written By: Clayton Arnold

Selling equipment and machinery through machinery auctions is a popular method for corporations, small businesses and individuals to recuperate capital from surplus or idle industrial equipment and machinery.  For companies who maintain stringent equipment upgrade schedules, or businesses and individuals with surplus and unused equipment, selling unused machinery compliments your overall asset recovery process.

Hosting a live or onsite auction is the traditional route, but many businesses are increasingly opting for online industrial auctions to reduce the impact on their operations and to take control over their sale process. With that said, it’s difficult to know where to begin or what to expect when hosting an industrial equipment auction. In this article, we will:

  • Explain the benefits of liquidating industrial equipment through online auctions
  • Go over how much you can expect to recuperate in an industrial auction
  • Compare the most popular industrial auction platforms: AuctoeBayProxibid and Bidspotter
  • List the steps you need to take when hosting an industrial auction
  • Review auction marketing strategies and tactics

Table of Contents

  1. Benefits of Hosting an Online Industrial Equipment Auction
  2. Expectations on Returns for Industrial Auctions
  3. A Comparision of Online Industrial Auction Platforms
  4. How to Run a Successful Industrial Auction
  5. Marketing Your Industrial Auction
  6. Get Started: Host Your Own Industrial Auction

1. Benefits of Hosting an Online Industrial Equipment Auction

There are many benefits to hosting an industrial auction online. The main benefits are:

  1. Access to more buyers

    Naturally, when your auction is web-enabled, your equipment gets exposure to a significantly larger group of buyers.

  2. Sellers have more control

    With online only auctions, sellers have greater control over their sale. Online auctions allow sellers to screen buyers by viewing their past bidding profiles and association prior to letting them bid in their auction. Sellers can also choose to set reserves on key pieces of equipment to protect their assets from selling too cheap. Sellers also stipulate any other terms they may have around payments, removal or pickup.

  3. Better if you are selling fewer items for a traditional onsite auction, if there are not enough lots in the auction, the sale will not draw enough buyers. Online auctions give you the flexibility to sell as little or as much equipment as you desire. Naturally, the larger the sale, the more attention it will draw from potential buyers.
  4. Cost EffectiveTypically, online auctions are more cost effective for sellers when compared to onsite traditional auctions. Traditional onsite auctions require a lot more planning and labor, all of which drives up the cost for the seller. Online auctions, in comparison, can be setup quickly and don’t require nearly the same level of effort as a traditional onsite auction.
  5. Reduces impact on your operations since online auctions are remote, there are limited interuptions to your operations. In a traditional onsite auction, buyers are expected to show up at your facility to inspect and bid on the items they intend to buy. This may work for a shutdown facility, however, most operating businesses prefer not to have unqualfiied visitors on their premises. On the other hand, most online buyers bid based on the information provided online, and usually forego an inspection. This is also why it’s important to provide as much information about the equipment you are selling as possible. Of course the actual bidding happens online.

2. Expectations on Returns for Industrial Auctions

Depending on the product category, typically industrial auction will net anywhere between 10 to 40 percent of the equipment’s original value. There are instances where items sell at very close to their original value. It’s also common for some items to not receive any bids at all. Be realistic and flexible with your expectations

3. A Comparison of Online Industrial Auction Platforms


We compared four popular industrial auction platforms: Aucto, eBay, Proxibid, and Bidspotter. Each platform has its own strengths and limitations. We’ve summarized our findings in some helpful tables below.

Selling Features

 Features Aucto BidSpotter eBay Proxibid
Registered Users 85,000+ 250,000+ 162 Mil+ 500,000+
Event-Based Sales Yes Yes No Yes
Submit Listings to Search Engines Yes Yes Yes Yes
Traffic & Impression Reports Yes Yes Yes No
Pre Screen Buyers Yes Yes No  Yes
Online + Onsite Auctions Yes Yes No Yes
Buy Now Style Marketplace Yes No Yes Yes
Dedicated Account Manager Yes Yes No Yes
Detailed Sales Reports Yes No Yes No
View Buyer Profiles Yes Yes Yes Yes


Selling Fees

 Fees Aucto Bidspotter eBay Proxibid
Seller Account Free Free Basic Free
Store Subscription Fees (monthly) Free N/A $19.95 – $299.95 N/A
Final Value Fee (per item) 0 – 4% 3% 8-10% 3%
Event Hosting Fee Free $350 N/A $350
Listing Upgrades Yes Yes Yes Yes
Payment Processing Fees Free N/A 2.9%* N/A

* Paypal Processing Fees

Integrated Payment Options

Methods Aucto Bidspotter eBay Proxibid
PayPal Yes* N/A Yes N/A
Credit Card Yes* N/A Yes Yes
Wire Transfer/ACH  Yes* N/A No N/A

* When using Aucto Payment Distributor

Support Options

 Options Aucto BidSpotter eBay Proxibid
Email Yes Yes Yes Yes
Phone Yes Yes Yes Yes
Live Chat Yes Yes Yes N/A


Marketing Support

Strategy Aucto Bidspotter eBay Proxibid
Email Marketing  Free & Paid Options Paid Options Free & Paid Options Paid Options
Digital & Social Media Marketing Free & Paid Options Paid Options Paid Options  Paid Options
Telemarketing  Free & Paid Options Paid Options Paid Options Paid Options


4. How to Run a Successful Industrial Auction

  1. Identify Your Surplus Begin by identifying, and if possible segregating your surplus machinery and parts. Most businesses maintain a capital equipment asset list and this is a good place start. Create an asset register and record vital data – such as asset name, type, condition, location – for every asset. This will help you figure out which items are redundant or no longer needed.To stay up-to-date on your assets and their condition, consider investing in a cloud-based asset management software – or partnering with a vendor that has this technology. Most ERP systems have a built in functionality to identify under-performing or redundant assets.
  2. Create Your Lot Catalog In order for you to list your equipment on an online paltform, you will need a lot catalog. This is typically a CSV or excel table of the assets you are looking to sell. Creating lots that are attractive is key to generating interest in your auction. Gouping like items together will make it easier for buyers to browse your catalog and decide whether they want to particiapte in your auction. If you are unsure of how to lot items together, browse through other auction catalogs to see how the professionals do it.
  3. Photograph Your Industrial Equipment Online bidders depend heavily on the images provided by sellers to make their purchasing decisions. It’s important to take as many images as needed to communicate the condition and details of the item you are selling. Most sellers upload 3-5 images per items.
  4. Write Title and Lot Descriptions Here’s are tips to write great lot title and descriptions: I) Create the listing title:
    The listing title and description you provide is crucial to Aucto and most other online industrial auction platforms. While people may find your listing by browsing, it’s more than likely the person who found you did so by using a site’s search function. Therefore, it’s important to create a descriptive and relevant listing title. Here are some tips on writing good listings:a) Include the brand and model numbers of the item(s) you’re selling
    b) Describe the item you are selling
    c) Keep the non-vital information for the description A good descriptive title might be Reliance Electric Model 45FHU Electric Motor, 100 HPII) Write detailed descriptions:
    Include the important details about the machinery, such as the model, make, year, its history, as well as any other accessories you are selling with the item. If available, and when needed, check the user manual or guide to fact-check the details.
  5. Post-Auction Process I) Collect Payments:
    After your online industrial auction has finished, you need to collect payments. The method for doing this varies depending on the auction platform you use. Some platforms, such as Aucto and eBay have an integrated payment solution, while others allow you to collect payments directly from the buyers.II) Arrange pickups and/or ship equipment:
    It’s up to you as the seller to allow buyers to come in and pickup their purchases, or arrange shipments on behalf of the buyers. In all cases, the buyer is reponsible for shipping costs.

    III) Save customer information for future auctions:
    Most online auction platforms allow sellers to view their buyers contact information. When possible, save this information in the event you host decide to host an online industrial auction in the future. Having this information is an easy way to advertise.

5. Marketing Your Industrial Auction

So you have created your lot catalog, taken lots of pictures and uploaded all that information to your favorite auction platform.Now it’s time to bring buyers to your sale. Without a doubt, the single most important aspect of hosting an online industrial auction is ensuring your event receives maximum possible exposure. You (or the online auction platform you choose to host your industrial auction on) will need to devise a marketing strategy to attract as many industrial equipment and machinery buyers as possible for your sale.

Below are five popular marketing strategies and tactics for industrial auctions:

  1. Internal Sales/Telemarketing
    Though the industrial auction industry is moving online, there are still those who respond best to telemarketing and inside sales. These individuals often depend heavily on trust and existing relationships when sourcing their equipment. Often, sellers will know other players in their industry that would be interested in getting a good deal on their equipment. It’s a good idea to contact those people to let them know about your sale.
  2. Print Media
    Local newspapers and trade publications are great advertising venues when trying to reach an audience that does not consume large amounts of online media. Local buyers will often pay more for generic industrial equipment, simply because they can see the equipment and transportation for them is cheaper compared to someone who has to ship their purchase a long distance.
  3. Email
    Email marketing is the most commonly used form of marketing when it comes to promoting industrial auctions. It’s important to note that click through rates have been on the decline over the last few years, so it’s important to ensure your content is engaging and is being sent to relevant buyers. You will want to make sure the auction platform you utilize has relevant industrial buyers registered and subscribed to its email marketing program.
  4. SEO and Content Marketing
    SEO and content marketing requires knowing the terms and keywords someone is searching for when looking to buy equipment. Of course, if you are hosting your sale on an auction platform, you will not have any control over the SEO efforts. As a seller you want to ensure the platform is following best practices when it comes to SEO & Content Marketing. Check their social media feeds and blog section to ensure they are up to date. You can also search for keywords on a search engine you think are relevant to industrial auctions.
  5. PPC
    Pay-per-click is an effective way to market your sale. Instead ranking among the general search results, PPC targets a search engine’s paid advertisement section. These results are set apart from the paid listings, usually above or to the right of regular or organic results.

This list was adapted from our guide, Understanding Auction Marketing Strategies.

Get Started: Host Your Own Industrial Auction

Aucto connects industrial equipment buyers and sellers on an easy-to-use, secure and global platform. For sellers, Aucto provides a powerful industrial marketplace to recover capital from surplus and used industrial equipment. To learn more about what our platform can do for you, contact us.

Learn More About Online Industrial Auctions


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About the Author

Clayton Arnold

Clayton Arnold is the Marketing Manager at Aucto. Clayton has 10 years of experience working in traditional and digital marketing campaigns. A Mohawk College graduate, Clayton believes in leveraging the latest technology & analytics to foster long-term relationships with clients.