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How Do Auctions Work?

An auction is a public sale, where assets are sold to the highest bidder.

Any item can be sold at an auction; from coins, antiques, cars, property and heavy machinery.

Tirhani Auctioneers specialises in vehicle, earthmoving equipment, residential and commercial real estate auctions.

The terms and conditions of an auction are referred to as the Rules of Auction. These rules can be found as an attachment to each auction publicized and are on our website. The Rules of Auction are also provided on the day of the auction, with any special rules being announced prior to the start of the auction.

Registration begins with a bidder registration form that can be downloaded off of the Tirhani Auctioneers website (www.tirhani.co.za). This form must be completed, submitted with your FICA documents and proof of payment of the registration fee.

FICA documents are your Proof of Identification and Proof of Residence. Click on documents tab to download the FICA requirements.  

A bidder number is a number that is given to a registered bidder for use at an auction. The bidder number is used by the auctioneer during the auction in order to identify you, as well as by the auction administration department when processing refunds, invoices and payments.

The registration fee is a compulsory charge that applies to all auctions; it is determined by the seller and varies per auction. Upfront payment of the registration fee is required by anyone wishing to participate in the bidding process.

No, registration is subject to approval and may be declined if blacklisted. Successful registration will result in the issuing of a bidder number that is used on the day of the auction. Unsuccessful registration will result in the refund of your registration fee.

The registration fee is fully refundable to anyone who does not purchase anything at the auction. A refund can be requested after the auction by filling out a Refund Request Form at our mobile office. Refunds are processed within 24 hours and typically reflect in your account within two to three working days, depending on which financial institution you bank with.

Those who have purchased an item at the auction can either opt for the amount to be refunded or deducted from the purchase price of the item subject to the specific auction T&C's.

Yes, the registration fee will be forfeited by any person who purchases an item on auction and fails to make full payment of the purchase price.

No, you only have to register for an auction if you want to participate in the bidding. We encourage anyone new to the auction process to attend an auction as an observer first. This allows one to get a feel for the auction process and allay any fears.

Auction items, or lots, are photographed and uploaded onto the Tirhani Auctioneers website. However, in instances where they are not, viewing is held on the premises where the auction will take place. Viewing usually takes place one or two days before to the auction.

Viewing of a vehicle does not extend to test drives. The Rules of Auction provide more information on the conditions of the viewings, as in some cases, you are permitted to sit in the vehicle and start the engine.

Items for sale in an auction are arranged into lots. The auction begins when a starting bid for a lot has been determined by the bidders, with guidance from the auctioneer.

A starting bid is the minimum amount that a bidder is willing to pay for an item. It is typically used to start the auction off at a point that is deemed to be reasonable for the associated item. A starting price is established at the auction and is announced to the bidders.

For example – a VW Polo Vivo would have a starting bid of R20 000 or R30 000 and not that of R200 or R300.

Bidding is the process in which you register or show your interest in purchasing the item currently on auction. This is done by raising your hand or paddle in order to gain the attention of the auctioneer. Bidding takes place in increments as determined and facilitated by the auctioneer through constant verbal cues until the item is sold.

For example – the next bid for a VW Polo Vivo with a starting bid of R20 000 could be determined as R22 000. The auctioneer will ask, “do I have R22 000?” Which means, is there anyone willing to pay R22 000 for the item. A bidder who is willing to pay R22 000 will then raise his or her hand. The auctioneer will acknowledge the bidder and say, “I have R22 000”.

A reserve price is the minimum amount that the seller of the asset is willing to accept for the item. That is to say, any price fetched that is below this reserve amount will result in the item being unsold. A reserve price is determined prior to the auction and is not disclosed to the bidders.

For example – a VW Polo Vivo could have a reserve price of R80 000. If the bidding stops at R75 000 then the item will be regarded as being unsold. If the bidding stops at R85 000 then the item will be regarded as being sold.

The bidders determine the price at which an item is sold. Bidding for an item will begin at the starting bid with increments as determined by the auctioneer. The bidders will then register their bids by getting the attention of the auctioneer until the highest bid has been reached. The highest bid is therefore the selling price of the item.

The auctioneer will call out your allocated bidder number and announce you as the successful bidder for that particular lot. The auctioneer will also confirm and document the amount at which you purchased the item.

An auction ends when the last lot as reflected on the auction catalogue has been sold. Alternatively, the auctioneer can announce the close of an auction at any point during the bidding process for whatsoever reason.

Yes, additional charges such as admin fees, document fees, VAT and auctioneer’s commission may apply to items purchased at an auction. All applicable charges are stipulated in the Rules of Auction and made available on the Tirhani website (www.tirhani.co.za) prior to the auction taking place.

The preferred method of payment is that of an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). We unfortunately do not accept credit or debit cards for payment.

Cash deposits can be made directly into our account. However, it should be noted that cash deposit fees will apply. No cash payments will be accepted on the premises.

Yes, the auction does not have to come to an end before payments can be made. You may approach our onsite staff at one of our mobile offices and they will assist in generating an invoice for any purchase made.

Auction finance is pre-approval for the finance of an asset you wish to purchase in an auction. The finance is facilitated prior to the auction. Tirhani Auctioneers has a partnership with Auction Finance (www.auctionfinance.co.za) who offer a wide range of services. Please visit the Auction Finance website for more information.

How Do Online Auctions Work?

An online auction is a conventional auction that takes place on an internet-based platform, for a pre-determined period of time. Auction software is used to monitor activity, regulate bids and close each lot sequentially.

Items are photographed, catalogued and arranged into lots. Each lot will have a number, description and a starting bid associated to it. Even though the auction is online, you will still be given the opportunity to view the items onsite, one or two days prior to the auction.

An account must be created in order to register for an online auction. To open an account, simply visit our website (www.tirhani.co.za) or download the Tirhani App from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Click here for more information on creating an account and registering for an online auction.

Our site is compatible with tablets and mobile devices so a computer is not required to participate in an online auction.

Yes, assistance with registration and bidding is offered at any of our branches from the day the online auction is declared open. No appointment is required, just simply come to a Tirhani branch and a member of our team will get you started.

Mobile bidding centers are deployed to the locations where the assets are being stored. Anyone wishing to participate in an online auction can come to a mobile bidding center on the last day of the auction. Assistance with registration and bidding will then be provided.

The main benefit of an online auction for buyers, is that one can bid from the comfort of their home or office. Online auctions usually run for three to five days. The longer running period accommodates buyers who would otherwise not be able to participate if the auction were run in a day, as is typical of live auctions.

The main benefit of online auctions for sellers is that they are cost-effective. This is due to the fact that assets in multiple locations can be auctioned all at once, without incurring the cost to uplift the assets to a single auction site.

An online auction is deemed to have begun when a timer that is linked to a pre-determined closing time activates and participants are able to place bid.

An online auction will end when a timer that is linked to a pre-determined closing time reaches zero and participants are no longer able to place a bid.

An email notification detailing all successfully purchased lots is sent out. This notification will often include the invoice of the item or items purchased.

Vehicle Auctions

The trade value of a vehicle is defined as the value or amount of money that can reasonably be expected should one trade their vehicle in at a dealership.

The retail value of a vehicle is defined as the value or amount of money that a dealer can sell a car for.

No, vehicles that are advertised for auction can only be purchased at the auction. Any vehicles that remain unsold after the auction will be advertised for sale at a later date.

A vehicle document fee is an administrative levy that is exclusive of the purchase price. Vehicle document fees vary from auction to auction and will be stipulated on the rules of auction.

No, all bank repossessed auctions are subject to VAT, as the entities that are involved (the auction house and the bank) are VAT vendors. Government garage vehicles are not subject to VAT, although there will be a VAT amount payable on the portion of the invoice that applies to the auctioneer’s commission.

The purchase of a vehicle that has been sold to bidder is legally binding. It is for this reason that an invoice may not be amended, even if a buyer has found someone else to purchase the vehicle on their behalf.

This means that payment can be made directly to Tirhani Auctioneers by the third party, however, the invoice and registration documentation will remain in the name of the person who bought the vehicle at the auction, until amended by the parties involved after the vehicle has been collected.

After receiving the Original Registration Certificate, together with a completed Notification of Change of Ownership (NCO) and a copy of the Sellers Identity Document, the buyer visits a local licensing department with their Identity Document. The buyer also needs to complete a Change of Ownership form, which can be obtained from the licensing department.

Once all the necessary documents, as mentioned above, are provided to the licensing department, this process should take a couple of hours.

  • Code 1 – Brand New
  • Code 2 – Used
  • Code 3 – Rebuild
  • Code 4 – Breaker (car must be broken up and used for spare parts)

There are two categories of vehicles one can purchase at an auction and these are referred to as runners and non-runners:


If the vehicle is sold as runner, it does not necessarily mean that it can be driven off the auction site. Our staff may have had to jump start the vehicle, and in some cases, bridge the ignition if no key is available. In these circumstances, it is the buyer’s responsibility to then bring the necessary equipment to start the vehicle so that it can be driven away..

Non Runner

Vehicles sold as non-runners would have to be collected by the buyer with a Break-Down Recovery Vehicle.