Timed auctions vs. live auctions

Timed auctions vs. live auctions

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, online auctions have taken off in popularity. Online auctions allow auction companies to reach a larger audience of buyers. On the flip side, they also allow customers to place bids and purchase a wider variety of equipment. One of the best benefits of online auctions is that it allows anyone who has internet access to place bids, no matter where they are. 

There are two types of online auctions: live and timed. Although we see both of these auction types in both in-person and online settings, they both encompass different strategies and formatting. 

At Lyon Auction, we are a leader in the construction auctions industry. All of our auctions are offered both online and on-site. In this blog, we will discuss the difference between live and timed auctions, as well as provide bidding strategies for each!

What are live auctions?

Live auctions are auctions that happen in real time. By this we mean that an auctioneer hosts live auctions in front of an audience that is able to bid between one another. Newer technology has enhanced the live auction experience for many customers, by allowing them to access the auction and bid online right from their home. 

What are timed auctions?

Timed auctions, on the other hand, are auctions that are automated. Timed auctions only run during a set period of time, which at the end, the highest bid wins the item. For the most part, timed auctions are run online, where buyers can bid on certain items from anywhere. 

What's the difference?

The biggest difference between timed and live auctions is that live auctions are closely monitored and auction off one item or piece of equipment at a time. Timed auctions offer customers more flexibility in terms of where, when, and how much they can bid. Live auctions are the more traditional auction process, while timed auctions, which are sometimes known as silent auctions, are more innovative and newer. 

Bidding strategies for live auctions

As live auctions happen in real time, you don’t get much time to think about your bids. Live auctions go quickly, so the first thing you need to do is move fast! When attending any live construction auctions, a good rule of thumb is to set a bidding budget for yourself, and stay true to it. To set your budget, it’s a smart idea to research the entire market, and see what other comparable equipment pieces are going for. It’s also a good idea, especially if you are unfamiliar with how live auctions work, study up on some of the common auction terminology used. This will help you better understand what is going on. 

Bidding strategies for timed auctions

You will need a different bidding strategy with timed auctions than you do for live auctions. Timed auctions are much slower in pace, which is beneficial to buyers! While bidding, remember to take your time. Like live auctions, you want to go in with a budget or “maximum bid” in mind, that way you are making the right decisions financially. 

What makes timed auctions fun is that you are able to see the amount of bids and price of bids for each lot. Be sure to regularly check the items you bid on to see if someone has outbid you!


Whether you are purchasing heavy equipment at a live or timed auction, you are in the right place! Use this guide to help you win a bid at your next auction!

Lyon Auction offers many construction auctions across the country. To learn more about our upcoming auctions, or to gain some auction tips and information, please visit our website!


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