Tour of a Ritchie Bros. auction site
Every month, thousands of people come to our 40+ auction sites around the world to test and inspect heavy equipment and trucks, and participate in our live unreserved equipment auctions. We opened our first permanent auction site in 1976; our newer sites have many of the same features, but they're a lot more high-tech. Let's take a tour for a closer look.
A typical auction site.
Our permanent auction sites typically host between four and six equipment auctions each year, and auction day is only a small part of a very big, very busy year-round operation. Most sites have a small, tight-knit team of full-time yard and office employees; we also employ dozens of temporary staff leading up to and during the auction. Our staff work together to make the experience of buying and selling equipment as easy and enjoyable as possible—and our auction sites do a similar job.
Imagine row upon row of excavators, dozers, loaders, cranes, trucks, trailers – in fact, just about every kind of heavy equipment you can imagine, neatly lined up. That's the yard. And if you're an equipment junkie, it's like walking through a massive candy store. Our auction sites range up to 200 acres in size —the size of our Orlando, Florida, USA site. How big is that? More than 150 football fields.
Hundreds of people come to our sites before the auction to test, inspect and compare equipment they're interested in buying—even people who are planning to bid online on auction day. In the words of one customer: “There's still a desire to kick the tires. People like to look at what they're buying and check the mechanical condition of a machine for themselves.”
Next to the yard, the auction building is probably the most visible part of our sites. Hundreds of customers – buyers and sellers – pass through the front doors of this building on auction day. This hive of activity is where you'll find our registration and payment counters, live auction theater, Virtual Ramp theater and Timed Auction kiosks.
These buildings are designed to be comfortable places to do business, so they're built with heated/air-conditioned auction theaters, theater-style seating, on-site catering and free wireless internet. People come from miles around to attend a Ritchie Bros. auction, and many stay for the action all day.
The auction theater and ramp.
The auction theater is the center of the action on auction day. Interested buyers sit in rows in front of the elevated auction ramp—a feature we introduced in the 1960s. Equipment is driven over the ramp while it's being sold, so our customers can stay seated in comfort and still see exactly what they are bidding on. The auctioneer runs the show from his booth at the side of the theater, where he has a perfect view of the equipment, the bid catchers and the crowd on-site—as well as the system that connects him to the action taking place online.
And if the equipment can't be driven across the ramp? We post photos on our indoor theater-style Virtual Ramp screens or take the action out into the yard.
The yard office is part workspace, part gate house. This is where our yard operations team works – including the yard manager, equipment inspectors and operators. Anything that's entering or exiting the yard is checked in and out here. We sell 1,300 items at an average auction, so the yard office is a busy place—with hundreds of trucks arriving to pick up equipment after the auction and deliver it to the new owners. Our sites are all located close to major highways and seaports to make equipment transportation as convenient as possible.
Most of our permanent auction sites have full-service, state-of-the-art refurbishing facilities where we can do everything from simply cleaning equipment to doing welding, metalwork and light mechanical repair to get it ready for selling, or ready for work. These massive buildings house cleaning equipment and areas for power washing and sandblasting, paint and drying booths, repair shops and offices. Read our blog article about our refurb services.
We hoped you enjoyed your auction site tour. Find the Ritchie Bros. auction site nearest you.