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Some auctioneers, in certain scenarios, will offer to "guarantee" a certain sales volume result. Many sellers assume this is a minimum or low-end guarantee. Beware - in reality, a guaranteed number can be a purchase amount. The auctioneers obligations can end once the guaranteed amount has been reached (and he is free to sell or give away any remaining equipment at his discretion). By hiring an auctioneer under a commission scenario, you maintain control and the auctioneer has every incentive to boost the number as high as possible. The auctioneers goals remain aligned with yours.
If an auctioneer offers to buy your equipment, only to turn around and sell it at auction, he is looking out for himself - not you. If you sell your equipment to one buyer for a fixed number, you can't take advantage of any upside that competitive bidding might give you. Think about it, they have to buy it from you at a reduced rate in order to sell it and make a profit. They may be taking advantage of you because they understand the value of a well run, well advertised public auction.
Just because a product line is no longer viable for your company, doesn't mean that others won't be interested. If the product has name recognition, there may be other manufacturers eager to obtain it from you. As part of your discontinued product line, you may want to offer the name, drawings, tooling, machine tools, trademarks or a combination of all of these items. Since you are exiting that business, bringing in a company that deals with a broad-base of outside manufacturers can greatly pay off.
When a surplus machine is identified, take steps to locate and secure any accessories that go with that machine. Sadly, we've seen cases where the machine was sold without the accessories, and when the accessories were later sold, a lot of value was lost. Maximize the value of the accessories by selling them at the same time that you sell the machine.
Clearly, cleaning isn't an appealing task - but if you do it year-round, the task becomes a lot less daunting. Cleaning up boneyards and disposing of idled equipment will help keep your plant more efficient and open up valuable space. Not to mention, add dollars directly to your bottom line. Consider doing your spring cleaning peridoically throughout the year!