• Strategies for Winning at a Trailer Auction

    by  • April 1, 2012 • Trailers • 0 Comments

    If you are looking for a new trailer, a trailer auction may be the perfect place to start. At a trailer auction, you can often find trailers in good or even excellent condition for a fraction of the price you would pay new or even gently used. There are several types of trailers sold at trailer auctions, included seized trailers, repossessed trailers, used trailers or even new trailers. The type of trailer being sold often depends on the kind of auction you are attending. Repossessed trailers are usually found at bank auctions and seized trailers are usually found at government auctions. Either bank or government auctions can be held in person or on-line. On-line auctions (think e-bay) have new trailers being sold by dealers and used trailers being sold by dealers or private sellers. No matter which type of trailer auction you choose, winning requires a certain bit of strategy.

    Online auctions of any variety are by far the easiest to find. A simple internet search will bring up several auction sites right away. Online trailer auctions allow you to bid from the comfort of your own home or office, but there are some drawbacks as well. You won’t be able to inspect the trailer with an online auction, meaning that you are taking more of a gamble. There are a few strategies you can use to win with online auctions. The most obvious, of course, is the “win at all costs” strategy. In essence, you do not care what price you have to pay to win the trailer, and will therefore pay well above the trailer’s value, if necessary.



    Unless the trailer you want is a limited edition or highly customized and unique, this strategy defeats the purpose of buying auction trailers – the whole point is to get the best value for your money. A more useful strategy requires some stealth and perfect timing. It is sometimes referred to as the “sniper” strategy. First, set your ceiling bid – the amount above which you will not pay. Once you have located your desired trailer, you must wait until the bidding time has nearly expired and then be sure that the current bid does not exceed your ceiling. When there are only a few seconds left in the auction, enter your bid. If you have been successful, this strategy will not allow anyone else time to make a bid, thus ensuring that you have won your trailer.

    Finding in-person trailer auctions, either held by banks or the government, can be a little trickier. There are several websites that you can sign up with that will notify you of auctions. You can also try contacting several local lenders to find out if and when they hold auctions. A major advantage of in-person auctions is that you can inspect the trailers ahead of time, ensuring that you are purchasing a quality item. In-person auctions can be conducted in several ways, including live or silent. There are different strategies for each, but having a ceiling bid is important with all three. In a live auction, the item is presented to a group of bidders who then bid vocally on the time. In this case, you want to outbid your competitors by increasing your bid as little as possible each time until you reach your ceiling. While it may be tempting to simply shout out your ceiling bid right at the start, this will only serve to drive up the overall bidding price, and even if you win, you may end up spending more than necessary. It is easy to become overly emotional in a live auction and end up bidding more than you want to or can afford. If you find yourself in a bidding war with another individual, be sure to check yourself to ensure that you are not becoming too emotional in the process. It is better to let the other individual win than to end up winning with a bid that is too high for you.


    In a silent auction, people write down their bids on a sheet for a specified amount of time. You can actually use either the on-line auction strategy or the live auction strategy, depending on the setting. To implement the on-line auction strategy, simply wait until the bid closing time is nearly up to write down your final bid. To implement the live auction strategy, you must check back frequently and enter in your bid as necessary, stopping at your ceiling.

    A helpful tip for either type of in-person trailer auction is to look for auctions that are under-publicized or have very few attendees. The fewer the bidders, the better your chances of winning the item.

    More Helpful Readings:

    Looking for Cheap Trailer at RV Auctions?

    Looking for Repossessed Trailers?

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