Essential Auction Tips for Scoring Killer Tool Deals – Part 2

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases (more).

gavel - photo by Keith Burtis
photo by Keith Burtis
So last month I was at the IRS auction for a cabinet shop that had gone under and I scored some cool stuff. But not without some luck. The auctioneer had rattled off the rules and I picked up on one important part which later on proved to be a windfall for me.

Like I said before, everything had a number assigned to it and was going to be auctioned off in numerical order. The dust collectors I was really interested in were labeled 11a, 11b, and 11c. What I noticed in the pre-auction instructions was that items listed like this fell under a different category of winning. If you were the high bidder for 11a, then you had the option of buying 11b and 11c at the same price. Since I was the high bidder for 11a, the auctioneer asked if I wanted the remaining two items also. The look on my face was one he had obviously seen before, as he immediately explained my options to me. The dude I was bidding against for 11a thought that was the only dust collector I was after so he had bailed early, figuring I’d take my one collector and then he could bid low on the next. Needless to say I picked up the other two as well. Turns out this due who wanted the collectors was none other than Mr. Forklift, so this might have had something to do with his ‘tude later on.

A Win Doesn’t Mean You Have to Take It All

Another thing I picked up on is you don’t have to take everything you won at bid. The racks I won for $30? It was all inclusive of what was on the racks as well, but I wasn’t required to take home everything on them. So I unloaded the racks and took what I wanted.

On the flip side, there was a spray booth that I didn’t win, that sold for $50. This baby was at least 12’ x 40,’ but the winning bidder said all he wanted was the filters on the back of the booth! He took the filters and left the rest! So if you’re high bidder on the table with the router, and you only want the router, unscrew the router and leave the table. If you only wanted the table and lost the bid, you might end up getting the table for free. Who knew? Not me, that’s for sure.

Bring Cash to the Auction

Lastly, you need cash to pay for everything. There’s a deposit you need to put down after auction to keep a hold on your stuff, after which you have exactly one hour to go to the bank and get the rest of the green. Before auction the word was you had to have $1,000 to put down as a deposit for everything you’d won. After auction the auctioneer said the required deposit was $700. Methinks the IRS can make up whatever rules they want.

Bad Neighborhood? Haul Your Stuff Away the Day After the Cash Has Left the Building

The time frame for getting what you’d bought out of there was by 2:00 pm the next day. With all that cash flowing around I figured it might be just a little safer to clear out when all the cash was floating around, and come back for my stuff the following day when the dust had settled, to pick things up. This was not exactly Sotheby’s in Beverly Hills, after all.

Guilt at the IRS Auction

One other thing I thought about that day at the auction was the owner… Gone under in a bad economy, trying to make ends meet, didn’t make his payroll taxes in order to have cash to pay his dudes their wages to live on. And here we were, the piranhas eating the flesh off the remaining bones so the evil IRS could get their due. I was feeling pretty bad about the whole story. Except it turned out to be not so. Apparently the original good guy owner had sold his shop a couple of years earlier to the guy who’d defaulted on his payroll taxes. This new guy, rumor had it, was trying to hide money because of a nasty divorce he was going through so the whole “going under” thing wasn’t really what it appeared to be. No more mister nice guy here.

Check out the IRS Auctions web site and see what going on in your area. Take a friend and see what you can snap up. For me it was a great experience and I scored some rock solid stuff. Just watch out for Mr. Forklift!!!

Photo of author

About Brad

Brad Baker is Vice President of Operations at Miller Woodworking in the Los Angeles area, designers and builders of custom cabinetry and interior millwork for the rich and famous. They make the impossible, and their work has been featured in fancy schmantsy architectural glossies more than a few times. All that high end creative stuff aside, he maintains a strong spiritual belief that the real sign of a good woodworker is all 10 fingers. He and his wife Ann Baker co-write for HomeFixated. Ann is CEO of Publicity Pros, a firm that provides “All Things Publicity” services and training for small businesses. She’s a hopeless nerd who revels in anything and everything having to do with the technology of attracting attention. And, no joke, she loves to bake.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get access to free prizes, product sneak-peeks, reviews, how-to's and much more!

More Info | Email Privacy

1 thought on “Essential Auction Tips for Scoring Killer Tool Deals – Part 2”

  1. There is website that runs online auctions similar to the IRS called AssetAuctions. They currently run surplus sales for a few state governments including my home state of PA. The only caveat is that if you win an item online you have to go to the location and pick it up on the given day. There are things like backhoes and trucks from DOT but also tax sales like the one you attended. For example last month they cleared out a state hospital of beds and furniture and this month there is a collection of scroll saws for sale from a school district. With the power of the internet we can buy so much more stuff we don’t need.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.