Wanted: Bidders For Pieces Of Pottstown's Past - Municibid Blog

Wanted: Bidders For Pieces Of Pottstown’s Past

Taken from Article on Pottstown Patch by Teresa McMin

In the market for a used front end loader, large format scanner or sludge pump?

Pottstown-based Municibid is an online auction where government can sell surplus, forfeited and seized goods. Bidding on the site is open to the public.

Pottstown resident Greg Berry, the company’s CEO, founded Municibid to help municipalities find buyers for unwanted items. The business operates similar to eBay, he said.

Berry, a Pottstown councilman a few years ago, got a firsthand look at the antiquated sealed bid process the borough had to follow in order to sell its unwanted stuff. The method required costly newspaper advertisements that often went unread by the general public, he said.

“I saw how ridiculous it was … Very few people knew the items were for sale,” Berry said. “Typically, we would get lowball bids … literally pennies on the dollar.”

To streamline the process and help municipalities make money, Berry formed the company in 2006 and launched the business the following year.

“It worked,” he said. “This opened it up to a whole new audience.”

Today, the company employs five workers, serves about 600 agencies across the U.S. and continues to grow. Baton Rouge is the latest city to use Municibid, Berry said.

“We get … a variety of items,” he said of unwanted municipal merchandise including a wooden train trestle and field of corn awaiting harvest. Municibid also sold police seized items such as comic book collections and jewelry, Berry said. “You just never know what’s going to come across.”

Bidders come from across the country, he said.

“It’s a pretty simple process,” Berry said.

Municibid raises revenue for local governments and “takes pressure off taxpayers,” he said.

“They really need to be doing this,” Berry said of municipalities. “Otherwise, they’re just throwing money away.”

The company’s services are free for government, he said.

“And we do all the marketing … It really is amazing when you see the results,” Berry said.

Pottstown Manager Jason Bobst agrees.

The borough started using Municibid a couple years ago, he said.

Pottstown sold items — so far, mostly vehicles — on Municibid for roughly three times more than the traditional bid process would have collected, he said.

And unlike the old method of selling municipal surplus, which uses sealed bids, borough officials can view the offers on Municibid, Bobst said.

“I like the concept,” Bobst said of Municibid. It saves the borough money, time, work and brings in more revenue, he said. “It’s easier for us.”