For Yoder & Frey Auctioneers Inc., 2004 is building up to be a year to remember.
Celebrating two anniversaries, the 40-year-old Northwest Ohio-based auction company is returning to Kissimmee, FL for its 30th annual winter auction.
“At any given [Kissimmee] sale we’ll have anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 items,” said V. Peter Clark, company president. “Just based on volume alone, it’s mind boggling –– every time we do this we’re doing something that no other company has ever done at this magnitude.”
Founded in 1964, Yoder & Frey has spent the past 40 years keeping one mission in mind: to efficiently liquidate equipment through auctions by providing the best value for buyer and seller, while providing outstanding customer service, noted Clark, who signed on with the company as a salesman in 1971 and admits jokingly he still works on commission.
Yoder & Frey has a permanent sale site in Darlington, PA, and holds semi-annual auctions in Darlington and Hooksett, NH. Most of the auctions conducted throughout the year are located east of the Mississippi River.
On average, the company holds eight to a dozen auctions each year, the Kissimmee sale being the largest with nearly 5,000 registered bidders from 35 countries and all 50 states.
Every year, Yoder & Frey’s winter sale tends to be a technological testing ground, because, as Clark describes it, “it’s so big we have to find ways to make it easier.”
For Clark, this means implementing new ways to use computers into the company’s game plan.
What’s new on the lineup for 2004’s Kissimmee sale?
“Live, real-time Internet bidding,” said Clark. “In other words, a camera will project the auction as it happens to Internet bidders sitting at their computers. This camera will follow the auction truck over all 150 acres of equipment as we sell each item –– this, as opposed to a drive-through auction where a drive-through facility is used.
“Sitting in your office, you will see on your computer screen item numbers and nomenclature –– what the starting bid is, what the increments are. You’ll see a picture of the item being auctioned and you’ll also see a live view of what the auctioneer is looking at.”
After a bidder makes an offer via the Internet, the bid goes to a middleman and the middleman conveys it to an Internet ringman, who has a headset and is standing in the audience.
“You will be bidding like everyone else in the audience when you are bidding online,” said Clark.
This is the company’s second winter sale using Internet bidding with Equipmentfacts as the Internet provider.
“In addition to their online bidding services, Equipmentfacts offers guaranteed inspections to potential buyers,” explained Clark.
Along with Internet bidding, wireless communication technology will once again be up and running at this year’s auction, as it does at all Yoder & Frey sales.
For a fourth year, Yoder & Frey will provide wireless check-in for all consignors when they bring their equipment to the auction.
“By using our computer system, we can check in each piece of equipment in a matter of minutes,” explained Clark. “After serial numbers are verified, the information is beamed via wireless technology into the company’s main office. The benefit of this system is that we know the piece of equipment is on the auction yard and when it arrived. This information can then be accessed by any of our company computers at any location.”
Wireless clerking is another technological advancement Yoder & Frey uses during its auctions.
“As soon as we sell an item, the clerk [in the auction truck] inputs the sale into the computer. The information is then beamed into our main office. When the buyer comes in to pay, their invoices are ready –– they don’t have to wait for clerking sheets to come in from the field,” said Clark. “It increases efficiency and decreases the amount of time customers spend waiting in line.”
Clark’s son, Justin, is Yoder & Frey’s “tech guy.”
“He’s brought a lot of ideas to the company and has been instrumental in developing a lot of the techniques –– especially the wireless technology and live bidding process,” said Clark. “Wireless has proven to be wonderful.”
The hard work and ingenuity used in Kissimmee spills over to the rest of the year, said Clark. “The rest of our sales are consequently better organized. We’ve come a long way in improving our organization and accountability.”
A staple of Yoder & Frey’s winter sale is its many vendors who decorate the property with their wares, ranging from water pumps to trailers. This year, Clark expects 80 to 100 representatives to participate in the demonstration area.
In charge of organizing the equipment yard for the eight-day event is Ron Coale, who has been with the company for 17 years.
“He’s our salesman in charge of the yard, which is a tremendous job. He’s responsible for putting the equipment where it belongs in the auction line with the appropriate lot numbers.”
Other Yoder & Frey staff who will be exchanging pants for shorts and boots for sandals are Dan Pletcher, vice president of finance; Sharon Bernath, corporate secretary; and Doug Ryan and Chris Lambert, Northeast and Texas representatives.
What expectations does Clark have for the company’s 30th Florida sale?
“Overall, I want to get good prices for our sellers, and I want our buyers to be happy with what they bought and the services they were given,” said Clark.
For more information, visit www.yoderandfrey.com.