The General Services Administration, which is an independent agency of the U.S. government that controls GSA auctions of former government properties among many other functions, recently announced that during the fiscal year 2014, it awarded over 85% of completed “reverse auctions” to small businesses through the relatively new ReverseAuctions program. This surpasses the 60% which had been set aside for small businesses from the get go.
According to the GSA auctions website, “GSA Reverse Auction is an efficient and cost effective platform for buying non-complex commodities and simple services. (It’s) designed to drive down the total cost of acquisitions and increase savings to customers and taxpayers.”
In more direct language, reverse auctions allow buyers to seek bids from sellers (as opposed to the more standard other-way-around). If an agency or individual needs to purchase something, they use the online platform to file a request and name a price it’s willing to pay. If and when a vendor responds that the offer is acceptable to them, the buyer can then seek a lower price. The process continues until no vendors respond, and the lowest previous offer wins. This is a fairly new endeavor for the GSA.
A GSA auction is most often associated with an online auto auction in the collective mind, but a look at the agency’s website reveals a whole host of other available products: agricultural equipment, aircraft parts, fire equipment, hand tools, lab equipment, medical supplies, dental and veterinary equipment, furniture, photography equipment, and on. A closer look reveals that the agency’s auctions are generally quite busy, but there are great deals to be had if you’re willing to try a new means of acquiring goods.
The GSA reported that reverse auctions offered participants an estimated 23% savings off what would have been the standard contract prices for goods purchased and still generated over $19 million in revenue.
Auctions have evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry, the online faction of which represents a sizable, growing chunk of that pool. One way to get a leg-up on competition is to employ online auto auction software. Auto auction software is also a growing industry, and which software you choose depends on the bidding platform, as some softwares work better on certain sites than on others. A bit of internet research will likely answer most of your questions about both GSA auctions and software you can utilize to help you wind them.