You did it! After a bidding war, you won that item. The collectible, the car, the couch—whatever it was you were bidding on is now yours. So what are the next steps?

If you were bidding at an auction and won an item, you might have questions about what to do next, when to pick up your item, and other details. All live and online auctions have terms and conditions that often layout details about when and how to pay, when to pick up items, and how much time you have to complete the transaction.

While each auction will have a different set of instructions for won items, here are a few general tips for when you win an item at an auction.

Know your payment method

For online auctions, the auctioneer or auction company will typically charge your credit card on file unless you have made other arrangements. For larger dollar purchases, you may need to send a check or wire transfer to pay. Nearly every auctioneer will require payment in full or agreement to some terms before removing any items.

Prompt payment will always ensure the best outcome, and if you need extra time or help, bidders who pay quickly have the advantage. And, if, for some reason, you have unique circumstances, be sure to communicate as soon as possible with the auctioneer or auction company.

Have a plan for pick up

Many live auctions recommend picking up and removing items the day of the auction or sale. If that is not possible, be sure to mark your items with your bidder number and speak with someone in authority at the auction as to when you might return. It is important to note that the item is ultimately your responsibility once you have won the bid and paid for the items. Again, communication with the auctioneer or auction company is critical.

Online auctions often have a set pick-up time or window of time following the auction. This time is typically in the days following the auction. Pick up could be as soon as the next day, or you may have up to a week. Each auction is different and may have a separate window of time depending on the situation for the individual seller. The terms and conditions and post auction emails are your best source for answers to typical questions.

Many auctioneers use an online scheduling program or system to facilitate orderly pickups. If you have a tight schedule, be sure to sign up as soon as possible for your preferred time.

Before you pick up your items, have a plan. Do you need assistance in moving and loading the items? Some auctioneers have this available, and others do not. What supplies do you need? Bubble wrap? A trailer? Boxes? Moving blankets? Below are a few items to consider when picking up different types of auction purchases:

Household Items and Collectables

  • Boxes or totes
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Tape

Furniture and Appliances

  • Truck and/or trailer
  • Moving pads or blankets
  • A furniture cart of dolly
  • Basic tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches
  • Tiedown straps

Shop tools and equipment

  • Truck and/or trailer
  • Any specialized tools required for removal
  • Ratchet straps, chains, or other heavy-duty tie-downs
  • Gloves and appropriate personal protective gear

Vehicles or other large equipment

  • Truck and trailer – possibly an enclosed trailer depending on the asset
  • Ratchet straps
  • Chains with tensioner and turnbuckles as needed
  • Wheel Chocks
  • Appropriate flags, signs, or other lights for the trailer or load


Auctions are a fast, fun way to buy things you want and need for your home, business, or collection. Once you have won the item and paid for it, transportation and shipping are often your responsibility. Having a plan ahead of time will ensure your purchases are removed on time and arrive safely. Failure to do so, or communicate effectively with the auctioneer or auction company, often jeopardizes any future opportunities with that auctioneer or auction company.

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