There are a number of different bidding strategies that can be used at auto auctions, but being the winning bidder goes much farther than just placing the highest bid. Sometimes the winning bidders are the ones that don't win, it is all matter of value. Here is a quick look at some of the most successful auto auction bidding strategies as well as few guidelines that should be followed in order to ensure that will be getting the maximum value for your dollar.
The Late Bidder Strategy
The late bidders strategy is exactly what it sounds like. Some people prefer to be the first to place a bid on an auto, but that has it's drawbacks. Being a late bidder or snipe bidding allows you to take control of the bidding process during the later stages when it really matters. By entering the bidding late, you will be competing against people who have already beaten out the other bidders, so they think that they have already won. By coming in at the last second, you catch them off guard and many of them will just give up and move on to the next car on their list. In order for this strategy to work, it is best to have a list of prospective autos that you are willing to bid on. This will give you some flexibility and help you decide when to pass on an auto.
The Second Timer Strategy
At many auto auctions, if a car goes unsold the first time on the block, it will normally make another pass later in the day. The cars that this will happen to either had a reserve price that didn't get met or the starting bid was too high. The second time that they are on the block, the reserve bid will be lowered as will the starting price. If you are not in a situation where you need to purchase an auto immediately, this is a very successful bidding strategy. You never know what cars will be put on the block twice, so you will need to do more research than normal before the auction so that you can create a longer than normal list of prospective autos.
The Slow Starter Strategy
There is a good chance that about 20% of the autos at the auction will not receive an opening bid. If you are looking for an inexpensive vehicle, then these are cars that you want to target. If no one makes an opening bid, then the auctioneer will likely lower the asking price several times before removing the car from the auction block. After the starting price has been lowered a few times, you place your bid. The key to this strategy being successful is two-fold. First, you need to limit yourself to only placing a few bids in the event that someone starts bidding against you. Second, you need to be able to evaluate the cost of fixing the car that you win. Normally the cars that don't receive opening bids will have either cosmetic damage or internal damage that will need to be fixed. That is why you don't want to the bidding price to get very high.