Monday, April 11, 2011

Freight Auction!

I know a bunch of people have been waiting for this post, so here it is! I was reading a blog a few weeks ago that talked about not paying full price for things you need for your house and she mentioned she got her front load washer and dryer from a freight auction. She said that sometimes it could be a scratch and dent situation, but other times its new items. I went to google and typed in freight auctions Atlanta, GA and this one company kept coming up for an auction listing. I went to their website and saw that they auction off electronics, appliances, household items and general merchandise. Every 2 weeks they have an auction and have over 500 pallets from overstocks, lost in transits, returns/damages and over ships.
The only down side for us was that the auctions are on Thursdays (all day).  Also on their website is an image gallery of what has sold (the previous auction) and what's for sale (for the upcoming one). You can literally view everything before you even get there. They add things up until the night before so you have to keep going back, but they take great photos so its very clear what they have. So why did we decide to go? Well, they had a bunch of tile (big ones, small ones, decorative ones, you name it). Since we are renovating our house in the next few months we wanted to see what kind of a deal we could get. We went with all our dimensions of how much tile we'd need and also the prices we saw at tile stores and home depot. We set our best scenario price which we'd want to pay at the auction (it was about half of retail tile store prices). Once we got there, they told us that they tack on a 13% fee plus 7% sales tax (you can get the % down a little by paying cash/debit which we did). We then backed our numbers down to include the fees.
A Day at the Freight Auction- David called in advance and found out that it starts at 11am and you can get there at 9am to view the items before it starts. This place is almost by 6 flags so pretty far from where we live. We got up early and headed out there. We were glad it was spring break week here as the traffic wasn't as heavy. We got there right around 9am and headed in. They gave us a huge packet that had every lot number from 1-637 that had blank lines and a general description of what was on the pallet. The friendly lady at the front also took a copy of our license and gave us a registration number that we'd use to record our bids. She also told us that she'd love for us to spend the day with them and that breakfast, lunch and dinner was included for free for the day. Say what?! I had packed us a little lunch in my lunch cooler in the car because I would have never thought they'd do that. They had coffee, donuts and biscuits and gravy for breakfast.
We got right to it and started walking around to each lot. It is in a huge warehouse with aisles set up. You are allowed to touch and feel and open any boxes you'd like before the auction starts. We starred things and then came back to what we were really interested in. I decided on my favorites and the ones that would do if we had to get them. I really had no idea if we'd get anything we bid on. There were A LOT of people looking at the tile, most looked like contractors with measuring tapes and work boots on. I figured we'd have an advantage over them because their goal is to resell it and I just want to get a better deal than I would at retail tile stores, but I wasn't sure. The floor tile that I REALLY wanted (first choice) was number 8 or something on the lot list. We didn't have much time to figure out this auctioning stuff and get ready to bid. I guess I have been watching too many storage auction tv shows where you have to say YEEEEEUP or something crazy when you want to bid. They had about 4 guys in red shirts that look for people wanting to bid, all you have to do is signal with your hand, fingers, head nod, anything really and they would do all the loud yelling to indicate they had a bidder. The auctioneer did do what you'd expect at a real auction and the guys that worked there would keep asking if you wanted to go higher until you said no and they would stop the yelling. They were very helpful and half the time we had NO idea who was bidding. It was going so fast because there are so many pallets that we hardly had time to gear up for our tile. We were so glad we set our limit before hand because David was doing the signaling. The guys that worked there quickly realized that I was the one indicating to David if I was still interested or not. They started only looking towards me, it was funny. It was now our turn and we were so nervous!! We had set our price of $200 for this tile. The bidding kept going back and forth from $50 and up. Our hearts were pounding so fast and our adrenalin was kicking in! It got up to $190 and the red shirt guy indicated to us to hold on to it and that the other guy was going to back out (I guess he could see him and could tell) so we held strong and went to $200 and all the sudden the auctioneer said SOLD (to us)!!
Here is our bathroom floor tile! I love how it looks plain but then you can see all the swirly pattern in it. We were SO excited!! It was a big rush and we had to walk away to get away from the crowd so we could just talk about what happened. My hand was shaking a bit while I was trying to write down our lot number and price on our sheet. It all happened so fast! The tile was spaced out pretty good so we had a little while in between to regroup and walk around to see the other tile on our list. We still wanted the smaller 6x6 tile for our shower and smaller accent back splash tiles for kitchen and bathroom.

Here is a video that I took where you can see and hear the auctioning. The guys in the red shirts are right in front, he kept looking towards me so that's why I turned the phone away for a min.

They grilled up some hot dogs for lunch and had a cafeteria style area with booths and tables set up so you could take a break at any time. They started at 11:30am and kept going strong until about 7pm. You could pay and leave at anytime, but you'd have to pick up your items at the end of the auction or come back the next day. I know this post is going really long so I'll sum up the rest pretty fast.
We ended up getting the bathroom shower tile we wanted...
 And the smaller accent tiles for the kitchen back splash and bathroom shower.
I also saw this BEAUTIFUL armoire that they had from Ballard designs. It was black and had a distressed look to it. It had some dings on it, but almost looked like it was suppose to. The price tag on it was over $1,000 so I said I would bid up to $200. I didn't have to go that far because it stopped at $70 and was MINE!! I am pumped about that. It is extremely heavy though and is still in the garage so I can fix it up a bit and decide if I just want to sell it or get a bunch of guys to bring it upstairs.
We also bought some light fixtures to use in our master bathroom. We got a pallet of 6 for $100. We are going to just resell the ones we don't use and make our money back. We had some tile and other items that were mid way and 3/4 of the way into the rows so we decided to just stay the whole time and bring them home with us. They served a low country boil for dinner complete with craw fish, crab legs, shrimp, corn and potatoes. David loved it (I don't like that kind of sea food), but it really was incredible service! They really know how to run a place. You could easily do this for a living if you had up front capital and could resell items. I envision my self there one day when we are renovating houses and have ample time to stay there all day. We finally got loaded up with all of our tile and furniture and headed home. The truck was sitting so low that we weren't sure we'd make it home because the tile was so heavy. We got WAY more tile than we will ever need. We are still estimating how much money we saved, but am almost certain that we can sell everything extra we got and break even and pay nothing for our tile, lighting and armoire.
It was a crazy experience that I'm glad we were able to do. As you can see, David got confident towards the end. Thanks for doing this with me David! He says he's glad I am so frugal, its fun.We will be starting some of our tile in the next few weeks so stay tuned! Pin It


Chris said...

Woot, good times and good job! YEAAAAAAAAP!

Ginny said...

I'm so impressed by you two. You manage to have the best times and save all that money too! And how lucky are you to also have the skills to pull off the DIY projects!

Mock family said...

FANTASTIC job! looks like fun, right up both your alleys! Congrats, can't wait for the renovations to begin :) bring it on!

leah said...

I cannot believe you got that armoire for 70 bucks!!! Unbelievable!! This is a very cool place loved reading all about it. I do have to admit that I read "fright" auction and thought their slogan might be "scarrrry good prices". I know I'm retarded.

the girl in the red shoes said...

Wow, that is so awesome! You guys saved a ton of money and got some great stuff...congrats!

Lacey said...

This looks like so much fun!! And you got some amazing deals!!

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