Just went to an auction of a big nursery and greenhouse that were going out of business. Trees of any size get really expensive, from $80/tree in a 15 or 20 gallon container.
Since landscaping is important for quality rentals, I had to go. You’ve got to buy when there’s a chance for low prices! With or without a landscape plan made up.
So here’s some tips:
Preview if you can. That way you can decide on what you want to buy, and then check the regular retail prices. Auction fever made the early prices at this sale go HIGHER than retail!
Decide how much to bid and how many BEFORE the sale. There is a ton of buying pressure when you’re there. The guy was yelling, “TALK TO ME, TALK TO ME!” and waving his microphone in bidders’ faces.
Go early and follow the bidding even on stuff you don’t want. Soon you’ll see a pattern, and also who the big buyers (other nurseries, in this case) are. They may know values better than you do.
If something is REALLY low, jump in anyways if you can use it. I got some trees for $5/each.
Most important tip…stay till the bitter end. That’s when the good deals happen. I stayed 12 hours for this auction. At the end, the auctioneer is screaming, “All for 1 money! Take these four trees for 1 money!” Earlier it was times the money, times the price of 1 tree.
My feet were dead. I was buying a bottle of water each hour from the snack stand. Had a not great hamburger for lunch. Hot sun, and lots of dust. Endurance really counts in the auction game.
Spent several hundred $'s and got landscape xeriscape plants and trees for several properties. Most plants went for $1 a 5-gallon plant at the end. So I just said, “I’ll take those 80 plants there!” and tried to plan real fast in my head where to use them. I stuck to the stuff that I knew would live in our climate, no California Bougainvillea, no exotics.
So today it was hired guys with a trailer hauling all the stuff to the different houses. It’s going to look great. I recommend all auctions, you never know what you can get for an amazing price.