Question: How do you determine minimum bids for an auction?

We will soon need to start determining the minimum bids for the auction items at our carnival next month. I haven't seen anything consistently saying what formula or percentage is best. So I'm looking to see what has worked for other parent teacher organizations.

Asked by cassi9879



Community Advice

ConcernedTreasurer writes:
I think I would start the minimum bid at half of the perceived value. Like if it's a $20 gift card to a movie theater, start it at $10. That way, you get at least $10 and the "customers" think it's a great value. If it's a gift basket, you may have to go through it and figure out the approximate prices of things and go from there. Maybe the store/people that donated it gave you a value. Or check eBay for pricing ideas--look at the ending prices of auctions.

Community Advice

kstoltz writes:
A couple of things you can do: Start the bidding low to encourage lot's of participation. If you spent any money on an item make sure you start $10 higher than what you spent. For big ticket items like hotel stays, spa certificate, and travel packages starting at 30% of the value is good. Be careful not to start your bidding so high that it causes people to feel that they can not participate. The more people involved in the bidding the more fun it will be and the higher your ending prices will be. This year we are splitting our items between raffle and auction. We will be raffling a hotel stay, a spa day, and other popular items so that everyone has a chance to win versus having to be the high bidder to win.

Community Advice

CMay2CK writes:
We start at 30% of the value, regardless of whether the item was purchased or donated-unless, of course, it is an item with a reserve. We feel there needs to be consistency. We have found that most items reach retail value anyway. And people seem more inclined to bid when they think they are getting a great deal.

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