If online auctions aren't your bag, maybe you ought to try the real thing.
Auctions have been a part of Matt Gallapoo's life since the day he was born; he's following in the career footsteps of his father, Dave, as an auctioneer in the family business, American Family Auctioneers, which operates in Wooster and Columbus.
Not only that, but Matt Gallapoo also has furnished his house almost completely through auction purchases, and he's bought more than half the equipment for his own business, American Family Concessions, at auctions.
For example, he purchased a 6-foot stainless-steel refrigerator, which he says can cost $1,200 new, at auction for $350. Last year, he bought a new cotton-candy machine for $2,200, but shortly afterward he went to an auction and bought three for $1,000 total.
Business owners should go into an auction with a bit of preparation, he says.
"If the small businessman is going to an auction and doesn't know how the auction works, he should either take somebody with him [who knows] or go to an auction ahead of time and see how it works," he says.
Gallapoo also suggests:
- Doing research. He goes to restaurant-equipment stores to find out new and used prices so he knows what he's willing to pay at an auction.
- Going to the auction early to see if there's anything of interest. An auctioneer may estimate what time a particular item will be for sale.
- Never starting the bid. "If an auctioneer is selling, let's say, a box of books and he realizes that box of books might bring $10, he comes out asking for $15 or $20," he says. "If he comes out asking $20 right off the bat and you say, 'Yea,' how do you know you couldn't have gotten it for a dollar?"
- Always expecting to pay the day of the sale.
- Buyer beware. There's no return policy or guarantee at an auction.