The great Fall Mega Auction is upon us. I imagine most of you have been to one of our regular meetings where the second half of our time is used to sell aquarium related items. There’s always quality fish, plants, and supplies. Tanks, decorations, literature, and a little fun, can all be found at SFAS auctions. Twice a year we hold our ‘Mega Auctions’ where the entire meeting is dedicated to selling. There tends to be a lot higher quantity (and quality) of items at the Mega Auctions, you never know what you’re going to find.
All attendees have the opportunity to participate in the auctions by buying items but SFAS members have the ability to sell. One of our auctioneers (and previous SFAS President) Dick Au wrote a great article on tips for successful selling at the SFAS auctions. Seeing as the Fall Mega Auction is next month, I thought this would be a great topic to share with the blog.
Tips for Successful Selling at Our Auction
By Dick Au
The auction is one of the most popular features of our monthly meeting. It provides an opportunity for members to dispose of unused aquarium equipment and extra plants and fish resulting from successes within the hobby. Others see this as an opportunity to pick up new products from manufacturers, slightly used tanks and equipment plus show quality fish for pennies on the dollar. Some of us are constantly on the lookout for healthy fish pairs on the auction table to jump start our breeding programs.
There's something for everybody. Equally important, the aquarium society derives a large portion of its operating expenses from auction revenue splits.
Selling successfully in the auction requires planning and effort. On occasion, some members are disappointed by the bids they receive for their items; it is easy to blame others for not recognizing the true value of the item, or to complain that the auctioneer sold their items too late in the evening.
However, there is plenty that can be done to boost proceeds from the auction. It simply requires some forethought and elbow grease.
Sell items that relate to the evening's program. The Society invites well-known speakers to lecture on various subjects such as discus, guppies, sea horses, coral and aquatic plants. These programs attract crowds who are interested in that particular part of the hobby and should be more interested in auction items that are related to the subject matter for the evening. For example, after a lecture on guppies, items like small tanks, plants, flake foods, books and magazines on live bearers should fetch premium prices while salt water items such as corals, protein skimmers and large water pumps will see lesser demand. If you can wait, hold onto such items for future meetings.
Package and label appropriately. Appearance has a lot of impact on what you can sell your items for. A little elbow grease makes a tremendous difference. Rinse your tanks and filters, use rubber bands to tie cords neatly, be sure that all components are grouped together. For more expensive and uncommon equipment, include a description on what the equipment is used for, how to operate it and what it usually sells for (note whether the equipment is operational or not).
Ensure that livestock is packaged in appropriately-sized bags; double bag them. The bags should be puffed up with air. Collapsed bags will definitely lower the sales price of your items. Do not package livestock or items in glass jars or plastic bottles. To help identify the items, include both scientific and common names. Proven breeding pairs generally command higher prices. Bag the male and female separately, but tie them together as a pair to be sold as one item. Clearly label the sexes and provide a tip sheet on how the buyer can successfully reproduce the fish.
Limit the number of identical items. Buyers tend to wait and bid less for an item when there are multiples. Breeders often enter too many bags of the same fish or plants thereby reducing their desirability. Juvenile or small fish should be bagged in groups of four to six. More bags do not mean higher total revenue to the seller. He should hold back some identical items for next time or consolidate them in fewer bags.
Combine low-cost items into one package. A lot of used fish-room supplies such as small heaters, pumps, nets, thermometers, plastic hose, fish food, chemicals and medicine should be consolidated into larger bags with lists describing their contents. Fish food and medicine with passed expiration dates and broken parts should be discarded because inclusion will lower the value of the entire bag.
The auction should be viewed as a fun part of the meeting and an opportunity to socialize while contributing to the Society. It is definitely not the place to expect top dollar for your items, however a little effort will help you earn more from your sales thereby allowing you to bid more on other things at the auction!
Have a great time!