One of the big bugaboos of a school auction is the checkout process. After all the hard work groups put in to getting donations, organizing volunteers, and hosting the events, the last thing they need is to end their evenings on a sour note because parents have to wait forever to pay.
Our Facebook community recently shared ideas on how they tackle auction checkout time so events end on an up note.
Mobile bidding: We are using mobile bidding this year. Bidders can check out on their phones and pay by credit card. Hope it cuts our lines in half. - Jo Ann C.
Designated checkout jobs: We have a tally person and then a few others assigned as cashiers. - Anna M.
Staggered bid-closing times: We do the bigger ticket items at the silent auction and stagger the closing by color coding tables. - Kathi W.
Occupy children while parents settle the bill: We have carnival games upstairs and the silent auction downstairs. The auction ends a half-hour before the carnival so the kids can keep playing while the parents wrap up their purchases. - Michelle P.
Separate checkout lines by function: We have two lines, with one person handling cash and checks (with a runner) and one person doing credit card purchases (also with a runner). We also have one central person assisting them using QuickBook software with all customer names preloaded. - Kimberly L.
Real-time processing: We do a silent auction as part of a trivia night. We stagger the closing time for tables so that they don't all hit at once. We process the bids immediately so that winners can check out when their bidding time is over. - Rosemary S.
Delayed pickup: We have a wonderful school secretary who doesn't mind people coming in the next week to pick up and pay for their items. So parents are able to leave the auction as needed instead of waiting until the end. - Kris P.
Clear the room: All auction bidding ends at the same time. We kick everyone out, close the doors, and place winning-bidder numbers alongside corresponding item numbers on a giant sign. We then rearrange the tables as checkout tables. Then we hang the winners’ sign outside of the room, open the doors, and process everyone with two or three checkout lines. - Kris P.