By TERRY GROOVER
Once upon a time, Canadian County officials used statewide auction houses to clear their inventory of outdated equipment, whether it was printers and computers or bulldozers.
Today, at least one commissioner is turning to an online auction site to sell his surplus equipment and put more money into the county’s coffers.
District 1 County Commissioner Marc Hader is a big proponent of using the Purple Wave online auction site.
Hader recently sold several pieces of road and warehouse equipment through the online site, generating more than a quarter-million dollars for his district.
On the same date that the commissioners removed the items from their inventory, Hader also sought permission to purchase a piece of roadbuilding equipment that cost about the same amount that he generated through the auction.
“I have used it to both buy and sell equipment,” Hader said.
The major benefit of the online auction site is that you can place an item for auction at any time and people all over the world can see it.
Previously, Hader along with commissioners David Anderson and Jack Stewart used auctions in Elk City and McAlester that were hosted by the Circuit Engineering Division.
However, they are only held twice a year, and the county must transport the items being auctioned to the site.
With the online auction site, the operators send someone to the county to take videos and photos of the equipment, and it is the purchaser’s obligation to pick it up.
“Purple Wave has a broad regional footprint. I have really been pleased,” Hader said. “The things we have sold have had good returns.”
The commissioner said he not only has sold items, but also has purchased items through the site.
Those include a water tanker that he purchased for about $40,000. Had he purchased it new, it would have been more than $100,000.
He also bought a chip spreader for a reasonable price through the online auction.
Hader said if it had been purchased new, the chip spreader would have cost about $300,000. However, he found one in Kansas with low usage hours for $105,000.
The cost to the county for auctioning an item is zero. The buyer pays a premium to the auction company.
Hader said he believes the county is getting a good deal.
Anderson said this week that he does not currently use online auctions to sell his equipment. He prefers using the auction in Elk City.
“I choose to take our equipment to the CED auction. It is a way the auctioneers pay back a portion of his commission to the CED, and we get a portion of that,” Anderson said.
He said he is not opposed to the online auctions, but prefers the hands-on, in-person auction.
“The drawback is that it is only once a year,” he said.
Anderson said his crew gathers items throughout the year to take to the statewide auction. The money generated by that auction is about the same as what he would receive through the online system.
“I’m just more comfortable with it,” he said.
While he doesn’t sell items on the auction site, he has purchased items, including a crane and rollers that are used in road work.
“It (online auctions) is a growing industry. I’m not being critical. I just haven’t done it,” Anderson said.
Meanwhile, Stewart said he also favors the in-person auctions.
“I have used another online auction one time. Normally, we take our equipment to the annual CED-sponsored auction. The advantage is that you get a lot of lookers,” Stewart said.
He also agreed the biggest drawback of the CED auction is that it is only once or twice a year.
The benefit of the online auction is that “the whole world can look and you can do it any time.
Unlike Anderson and Hader, Stewart said he has yet to buy anything from an auction site.