Common Silent Bid Issues


If you’ve ever been to Dave & Buster’s where they have lots of video games you’ll probably notice a table full of movie, TV and sports memorabilia, often autographed. These items are part of a silent auction whereas you can write your name and information on a sheet of paper in front of the item you’d like to bid on, along with the amount you’d pay. If you’re lucky, after a certain time the auction is over and you might win what you hoped to win. Or you might be outbid.

Typically, silent auctions are used to raise money for charities and nonprofits. Bidding is usually done using paper bid sheets though some are done using mobile bidding software these days. 

So what are some common silent auction “issues” that occur?

Silent Bid Issues to Avoid

For starters, you’ve often got very cluttered tables! Imagine that you’re thinking of bidding quite a bit of money on an item but it’s almost obscured by all the other items on a table. It can be visually overwhelming! Ideally, there should be 6-12 inches between items displayed on a silent auction table, but too often that’s not the case and it looks messy and unappealing causing people to not bother even giving the stuff any attention.

Next there’s the problem of illegible bids. Not everyone has clear handwriting, so even though a person is well-meaning, if the person reading the bid sheet can’t make out the person’s name and information, it’s illegible and essentially doesn’t count. Some ways around this include fixed bid amounts, bid stickers or assigning bidder ID numbers, though problems can still happen. Better yet, consider mobile/electronic bids done via computer or smartphone app, eliminating the issue of having to interpret handwriting.

How about items that get no bids, at all? No bids means no money. It happens. However, sometimes assigning opening bid amounts can help spur activity leading to there being a winning bidder.

Finally, there’s the issue of long checkout lines. In many cases, “winners” are called out one after the other, and then they all flock to one table to pay, and it can be crowded and awkward. In today’s modern world, though, a winner could receive an email notifying them they won– then pay online and have the item shipped to their house if that’s feasible.

Are silent auctions popular? They certainly are. Keep in mind they’re generally used to raise money for charities and nonprofits.

TurnKey Auction & Realty is the go to place for both sellers and buyers looking for a reliable auction source.

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