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First Meeting

Before we enter into any formal agreements with you, we meet with you in person and visit your facility. It’s important we understand your goals, and the nature of what you have to sell. We take the time to talk with you about the types of auctions that might be applicable, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and the process you can expect. We then send you a contract incorporating the terms we’ve discussed. We encourage you to have your attorney or other advisers review the contract before signing it.

Project Manager

Once we have a signed contract, we assign a Project Manager to your auction. The Project Manager oversees the entire auction process, and is responsible for every detail. He is also your single point of contact. The Project Manager oversees two “tracks” that take place prior to the auction: Auction Set-up and Auction Marketing.

Auction Setup

One of the Project Manager’s first duties is to arrange for his crew to meet with your on-site representatives to begin preparing your facility for auction. The first step is to create a listing. During this process, the Project Manager and his crew photograph and create lists of every item to be sold. The listing allows Key’s marketing team to commence development of marketing materials. During this first visit, the Project Manager also begins to develop a plan for how the auction will be physically set up and how it will be conducted.

For example, he will determine the location of parking, entrances, registration, concessions, and restrooms; the number of auction rings required, and the how equipment to be displayed and sold within each ring; where and how items will be removed after the sale; onsite and offsite signage requirements for marketing and directional purposes; and personnel requirements, including security personnel required during the auction. Later on the setup crew will begin the process of cleaning, sorting, displaying, and cataloging every item that will be sold at your auction. Sellers are consistently surprised by the transformation that happens during the setup process.

Auction Marketing

While the setup team is working on the physical set up of the auction, Key’s marketing team is working to quickly and efficiently prepare marketing materials within the marketing budget established by you. While every auction is different, the marketing will almost always include: onsite signage; newspaper and/or trade magazine advertising, postings on multiple auction, real estate and industry websites; a catalogue, brochure or postcard mailing; email and social network marketing; and news releases. The goal of Key’s award-winning marketing team is to use all means available to create awareness and interest among qualified buyers of your auction items.

Previews and Showings

If your auction involves real estate, the Key team will provide showings by appointment any time an interested buyer wants to inspect the property. Key believes it’s critical that buyers of real estate have the opportunity to inspect the property as early and as often as they require. If the auction involves equipment or other non-real estate assets, Key will typically advertise one or more Preview Days. These are generally scheduled within a few days of the auction, and allow buyers the opportunity to inspect the goods. During inspections, our on-site team does more than just answer questions–they overcome objections, point out the positives, imagine the possibilities–in a word, they sell!

The Auction

On the day of your auction, buyers are directed first to a registration area. There they are required to produce proper identification and sign a bidder’s registration card stating that they accept and agree with the terms of the sale. Each bidder is assigned a Bidder Number and given an auction catalog, which describes every item in the sale. Auction terms and conditions are also listed on the registration card, in the catalog, posted on signs in facility and announced by the auctioneer prior to the start of the auction.

The sale begins! A voice recorder records the action at each ring so there’s never a question about the bidding. Key uses the latest wireless clerking technology to record and track each purchase. As soon as the auctioneer cries “sold!”, the clerk enters the lot #, bidder # and bid price into a laptop and wirelessly transmits it to the cashier station. This allows buyers to pay for items purchased at any point during the day, and allows the seller to keep track of sales throughout the day.

Checkout and Removal

Every buyer receives an itemized invoice of purchases and detailed explanation of payment generated by our computerized accounting system. Invoices include lot numbers, item descriptions, and price paid. Upon receipt of their invoices, buyers can proceed to remove their items from the premises. Key maintains security personnel at each exit who check itemized receipts to make sure only the items that have been paid for are removed. No items may be removed from the facility until they have been paid for at the cashiers station. Depending on the size and nature of the auction, Key typically provided 1-2 days after the auction for buyers to remove all of the items purchased at the auction. Once the last of the items have been removed, Key’s personnel do a final clean-up of the facility and leave it in broom-swept condition.


Within 21 days after the auction, a final accounting will be made and a check for the net proceeds provided to you. The final accounting includes a listing of each item sold, the purchase price and bidder number, as well as any sales taxes, marketing, and other expenses deducted from the proceeds in accordance with the auction contract.