Wednesday, February 11, 2009

CMS saves money through online auctions

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 10, 2009 – After an initial test auction,
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is moving forward with plans to sell
additional surplus property through an online auction site. The
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education on Feb. 10 approved a
proposal to sell hundreds of chairs, desks and tables through
GovDeals, an online auction service.

"We tested the online auction process with a small number of surplus
pieces in December," said Kenneth Wilson, director of storage and
distribution for CMS. "The auction was successful and we estimate we
made at least 50 percent more money through the online service,
compared to a live auction."

CMS sold refrigerators, stoves, bookcases and desks online in December
and made $2,028.30. That compares to an estimated $1,300 for selling
the items through a live auction. The online vendor also charges a
much lower rate for holding the auction: 7.5 percent of total sales,
compared to a 38 percent commission for a live auction vendor.

CMS houses surplus property at its warehouse. Items not recycled
within the district are sold to the public. The district previously
held live surplus-property auctions twice a year to make space for new
items in the warehouse. Selling items online could reduce warehousing
costs, because goods may be sold as soon as they are available.

GovDeals provides online auction service to 2,100 government clients
across the United States, including 29 school districts in North
Carolina. According to GovDeals, clients report online auctions bring
20 percent to 40 percent more revenue compared to live auctions. CMS
hopes the additional exposure and convenience also will bring in more

The next online auction will be open from Feb. 16 – 27. Those
interested may go to the CMS Web site ( to be linked
to the GovDeals site. Bidders can register free on the site.