Disposers should attend the auctions and when a lull appears in the onslaught of vehicles coming through, take time to stand back and see how everybody else is going about the business.
There is a chance that they may be doing something differently and getting a better result. Also the various auction sites have different types of buyers and some sites are better at selling some products than others.
Some three- to four-year-old stock will sell better in large volumes at one site but later plate stock will not sell and vice-versa.
The best way to sound out the auction sites is to see for yourself what happens and when. Selling through auction should also involve plenty of listening and asking questions about the various sites.
The auction companies want your business so it is in their own interest to provide information about their strengths.
There are more than 100 auction sites in the UK. These are mostly made up of the big two - BCA and Manheim - but there are also some good independents that offer service that is second to none, with fantastic prices.
Disposers should also get on the mailing list for their catalogues because this will provide valuable information on stock, sale times and so on. All of this involves a lot of legwork but those with a large amount of stock to dispose of must be aware of what is good and what is bad at every site that is considered.
In addition to this, a knowledge of what is happening in the vicinity can also be beneficial. As an example, a vendor planning a special section at one auction site should sound out the other auction companies in the area to see what they are doing at the same day, or even in the same week.
If another site is having a sale on the same day, then only half the buyers will attend. Activities at other auctions can also determine how much money people have to spend.
If there was a big sale locally the day before the trade may well have spent up, or be too busy moving vehicles around to visit another sale.
And for those new to the game, it is essential to be at the auction site in person to ensure that it is providing a value-for-money service.
Once the decision has been made as to what sites and companies are going to be used, planning what stock goes where should be fairly easy. Listings from the last two sales will make it clear what kind of stock is generally available and how other companies place their vehicles.
A telephone call to one of the auction contacts will again give you an opinion regarding the best time slots and so on.
When the disposals have been planned, it is best to remain flexible to a certain degree as other people will move the goalposts and try to stay ahead of the game.
Some contract hire companies are very good at this and can get top results from a sale. Again the main aim is to maximise the end result in terms of profit, as there was unlikely to be much profit available at the front end of the deal. Manheim grosses £1.1 million from January sale of vans Manheim Auctions Gloucester achieved its highest ever income from a commercial vehicle sale in January, grossing £1.1million from the sale of 384 vans.
The sale, which was attended by 173 buyers, sold 17% more vehicles that its equivalent in 2001, highlighting the used CV market has had a strong start to the year. The highest prices were commanded by vehicles from Arval PHH, Lloyds TSB and Lex Vehicle Leasing.
Manheim Auctions Colchester, Leeds, Mansfield, Haydock, Coventry and Glasgow all had their best months ever in January, achieving on average 12% higher sales than at the same time last year.
Alex Wright, group commercial vehicle manager at Manheim Auctions, said: 'We have seen a good variety of quality stock in January which has contributed to the high sales. If demand continues, and we are not faced with unforeseen obstacles such as foot and mouth which slowed areas of the market last year, I anticipate this trend will continue.'
A selection of the key sales from Manheim Auctions Gloucester are: Vauxhall Combo, 99T 89,000 miles £2,375 (102% of CAP clean); VW Transporter 1.9 swb 97R 75,000 miles £4,450 (116% CAP clean); Vauxhall Brava 4x4 double cab 96P 129,000 miles £4,850 (136% of CAP clean); Toyota Hiace 2.4 swb 97R 66,000 miles £4,750 (114% CAP clean); Peugeot Expert 1.9TD 97R 107,000 miles £3,625 (122% CAP clean); Ford Fiesta 1.8D 00W 33,000 miles £3,975 (118% CAP clean); Mercedes 310 lwb h/top 99T 70,000 £9,150 (103% CAP clean).