Buying Government Surplus
By BuildMyBiz on September 15th, 2012
You have your business, but now you need supplies. Purchasing surplus goods from the government is an easy and affordable way to equip your new and expanding business. From computers to cars to gently used medical equipment, just about anything you can think of that your business might need is sold by the government at or below cost, or fair market value.
A Small Business Guide to Government Auctions and Sales
When a federal or state agency has extra equipment, seized goods, or forecloses on a piece of property, the goods are either transferred to another government agency or sold to the public. These items are sold “as is” by auction or negotiated sale, either online, in-person or both. Online auctions work much the same way as other auction sites, such as eBay. You visit an agency’s auction site, register your name and place your bid.
Unlike most state governments, there is no single online auction web site in the federal government. Federal agencies responsible for disposing of excess government property, such as the General Services Administration (GSA) or Department of Defense (DoD), have their own auction sites. Federal law enforcement agencies also run auction sites for seized property.
The following websites offer government surplus goods and real estate for sale.
Catalogs most surplus items and real estate for sale by the federal government, from cars and commercial real estate to furniture, computers and office equipment, this resource aims to help you find everything you need for your small business in one place.
- Military Surplus
Offers excess/surplus property received from U.S. military services, sold by the U.S. Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service. Items include furniture, appliances, camping gear, jeeps, computers, office supplies and radios.
- U.S. Marshals Service – Seized Asset Information
Sells property to the public that has been seized by federal law enforcement agencies. The property for sale can be residential and commercial real estate, business establishments, and a variety of personal property such as motor vehicles, boats, aircraft, jewelry, art, antiques and collectibles.
- U.S. Treasury – Seized Vehicles Sales
Lists vehicle auctions that take place in a variety of states. U.S. Treasury seized vehicles are usually offered for sale at the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Edison, New Jersey; Los Angeles, California; El Paso, Texas; Nogales, Arizona; and Chula Vista, California auction sales centers.
- U.S. Treasury – IRS
Offers properties that have been seized due to tax defaults at the IRS auction.
Enables you to bid on a wide variety of forfeited, surplus, tax-defaulted and foreclosed property online using Bid4Assets’ online auction marketplace. Federal, state and local government agencies selling goods on the site include the U.S. Marshall Service, U.S. Dept. of Treasury, U.S. Dept. of Energy, the State of New Jersey and more than 40 counties nationwide.
Guides to Government Auctions
- Guide to Federal Government Sales: Consumer Tips
Offers a tip sheet from the General Services Administration (GSA) so that you know what to expect at government sales or auctions and how to buy.
- Government Auctions and Sales by Agency
Provides a full list of online retail stores and auctions run by U.S. government agencies.
- State and Local Surplus Property
Identifies more surplus property sales and auctions run by state and local governments.
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