May 1, 1999
Online Equipment Auctions Become Reality With the success of Internet auction sites such as, it was only a matter of time before construction

Online Equipment Auctions Become Reality With the success of Internet auction sites such as, it was only a matter of time before construction equipment was hawked in cyberspace. Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers recently took the first step by broadcasting two construction equipment auctions on the Internet.

Ritchie's Web site ( allowed qualified bidders to place absentee bids for auction items. Previously, absentee bidders could participate only by fax or phone. Often they wouldn't find out if their bid was successful until an auction company staffer alerted them by phone later in the day. The Webcast of the auction allowed absentee bidders to know immediately if they had acquired equipment.

The auction house has allowed off-site bidders to access its events via satellite and fiber-optic lines in the past, but March's Webcasts were its first on the Internet. The next step is to allow bidding to take place live on the Internet, which presently is too slow to accept real-time bids, according to marketing manager Clay Tippett.

Tippett says the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company intends to post digital images of all equipment that will be for sale at future auctions. "This technology might help a prospective bidder decide whether to drivea couple of hundred miles to an auction," Tippett said.

Depending on user response, the company says it may Webcast more auctions on the Internet in the future.

RSC Revs Up 1999 Web Drawing Rental Service Corp. is hoping to drive up the number of visitors to its site with a Web contest featuring a grand prize of a trip to this year's Dura-Lube 500 Nascar race in October in Phoenix.

As with last year's RSC contest, contractors can enter the drawing for free through August 1 after filling out a short survey about their equipment rental preferences. The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company made several improvements to its site based on feedback from last year's contest, including a custom search function to locate used equipment.

Internet Offers Free Fax Service At least two Internet companies are offering free fax telephone numbers to anyone with an e-mail address, allowing computer owners to receive transmissions without owning a fax machine. Inc. ( and CallWave Inc. ( offer free fax receipt for computers that can view a .TIF image file by converting faxes into e-mail attachments.

While you cannot send faxes without separate fax software, the services could be of benefit to rental centers whose outside salespeople carry laptops that are not fax-equipped. A salesperson on the road could tap into his or her e-mail and receive faxes from customers, manufacturers or the home office - without the expense of separate hardware or an extra phone line.

Several Fortune 500 companies that have used the Internet to automate corporate purchasing have cut the cost of processing invoices by as much as 80 percent.

The Business Resource Center provides of interest to top management of all kinds of enterprises. The business management site includes tips for owners on subjects such as finance, taxes and marketing. Visitors also will find several sample business documents, including confidentiality agreements and lease contracts, that can be used as templates. See for yourself at