How a Sawmill Auction Works
Knowing how a sawmill auction should work can save you a lot of time and help you avoid unnecessary stress. The following outline will walk you through all you need to know to get started with a successful sawmill auction.
Step 1: Initial Contact
Our Sawmill Equipment Specialist gathers information from you via a phone conference – primarily the location and size of your operation and the specifics of your situation. He’ll give you some general impressions and offer to do an on-site visit.
Step 2: On-Site Visit
Our specialist meets with you or your designees at your business site and reviews all assets to be sold. If the business is still running, he watches the equipment in operation, reviews maintenance records, and assesses raw-material inventory and any Smalls. If the operation is no longer running, he inspects the equipment wherever it is stored and notes information on its age, condition, maintenance, and performance when last operated.
Step 3: A Plan and An Agreement
Once the on-site visit is done, the Sawmill Specialist provides final options and terms to consider. Often, this is done at the end of the site visit. Once you select an option, an agreement is drawn up and signed. Then our Team goes to work!
Step 4: Preparing the Assets
First up is our Catalog Crew. They come on-site and begin cleaning and organizing the assets. All major pieces are steam-cleaned and power- washed with our professional-grade equipment. All items are photographed and assigned a Lot Number. Serial numbers, titles, and operating manuals are noted. Videos are taken of machinery or rolling stock in operation whenever possible. These action videos are then uploaded on every bidding platform we use, so buyers can hear and see the machine operate. Once photos and videos are complete, the items are positioned in an organized fashion so the auction will flow smoothly, and buyers can easily view all pieces.
Step 5: Marketing and Advertising
Back at the home office, the Marketing and Advertising Teams go to work on the pictures and item descriptions. They upload them on the Bright Star website and other bidding platforms. Signs and flyers are designed and printed; a Bid Book with all major lots and descriptions is published and sent to everyone on our Bid Book list – over 5,000 constituents. The Bid Book list consists of those who do not have access to online bidding. A color ad of your auction is sent to our entire mailing list of over 17,000 active buyers. High dollar assets are posted on bidding platforms, social media sites, and in trade magazines. Contact information is provided for the Sawmill Equipment Specialist and the Bright Star office, assuring that buyers can get timely information about the auction or a specific piece of equipment.
Step 6: The Week of the Auction
Final preparations are made for Auction Day. Portable restroom facilities arrive on site. The Set-up and Auction-Day Crews often come in a day ahead to organize any last-minute pieces of equipment and make notes of any updates. The online catalog is updated if needed and copies are faxed to buyers who request this most up-to-date information. The quality of cell phone reception and internet speed at the auction site is assessed and special boosters or other electronics are set up as needed for conference line and online buyers.
Step 7: Auction Day
The Auction Day Team and Setup Crew arrive hours before the start time. The logistics team member puts out parking signs, sets up the beverage station and directs incoming traffic. The mobile office registers buyers while auctioneers, ringmen, and clerks greet buyers, set up audience seating and fire-up the electronics. The Setup Crew answers buyer questions and demonstrates equipment if appropriate. When the start time arrives, the auction kicks off with general announcements, terms, and load-out information. Then the first lot is up for bid with subsequent lots following the catalog order.
During the auction, the on-site audience can view bids from all online platforms via large screens at the front of the auction area. Phone bidders hear the bidding live via the conference line. Internet bidders hear and see the auction live and can place their bids through one of several online bidding platforms.
When the gavel falls after the final high bid on each item, that lot is sold. In the case of a lot being part of an Entirety, high bids are taken on each piece. Those bids are then held until the Entirety is offered for a price at least 10% above what all the individual pieces brought all together. If no one offers a price on the Entirety that meets the expectation of 10% above, then the pieces go to the individual bidders. If someone offers at least 10% above on the Entirety, then it is sold as an Entirety. Individual bidders cannot go back and increase their bids once a qualifying bid is received on the Entirety. If the auction goes over a mealtime, we provide free pizza, subs, or other local food fare and beverages for on-site buyers.
At the auction’s conclusion, the Accounting Manager prepares a Priced Inventory Sheet for you, with a listing of each lot, the hammer price, and the buyer’s number, name, and phone number. Team members pack up all equipment while the mobile office finalizes payments from any remaining on-site buyers. Within a couple hours, the Auction Teams head for home.
Step 8: Load-Out
Typically, buyers are asked to remove their smalls within a few days and rolling stock or installed equipment within 14 - 60 days. These timelines can be adjusted based on whatever works best for you. Assistance with load-out can be any of the following or a combination of these: a Bright Star team member stays back and oversees it, you or your designee can handle it personally or an independent rigging company can be hired. Buyers (or their transport company) should show a Paid in Full receipt before removing any items.
Step 9: Sending Out Titles and Consignment Checks
Buyers that pay in cash or cashier’s check can receive titles right away and remove rolling stock immediately. Buyers that pay with credit card or a check without a bank letter will receive any title work as soon as payments have cleared the Accounting Department. Consignment checks are mailed to consignors as soon as buyer payments have cleared the Accounting Department and usually within 10 business days.
Step 10: Seller Settlement
After the auction, the Bright Star Accounting Department communicates with you on a frequent basis regarding the status of collecting all buyer payments. Once your auction proceeds are ready to be dispersed, the Accounting Department Manager will send you a Settlement Statement for your approval. This contains the hammer price and commission on every lot and a list of all auction expenses. Once you sign and return the Settlement Statement, the Manager will contact you to arrange the final Settlement Payment.