Minnesota DNR holds online fleet auctions

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has canceled three live fleet auctions in Bemidji and Grand Rapids scheduled for later this year. Instead, auctions are now taking place online via MinnBid, the state’s online auction website.

The auction began last week and will take place over the next 10-12 weeks. Over that time, different lots of equipment are available on a one-week rotation. The DNR is using online auctions due to COVID-19 health and safety considerations.

“We are working with our partners at the Department of Administration and will resume live sales when we can do so in a way that protects the health and safety of customers and staff,” said DNR section manager Paul Johnson. “For now, online sales are our best option.”

The DNR has about 300 pieces of equipment that will be up for auction on MinnBid. To ensure the safety of staff and bidders, six to 12 pieces of equipment are listed for a duration of one week. The first pieces of equipment were listed Aug. 7. Auction lots will only be available for viewing by appointment. Listed lots in Grand Rapids can be viewed by appointment on Tuesdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 pm. To make an appointment in Grand Rapids, call 218-328-8965. Listed lots in Bemidji can be viewed by appointment on Wednesdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. To make an appointment in Bemidji, call 218-308-2631.

Once a winning bid is submitted and accepted using the MinnBid website, the bidder will be able to schedule a time to pick up the equipment where it is listed, at the DNR northwest regional headquarters in Bemidji or the DNR northeast regional headquarters in Grand Rapids.

During inspections and equipment pick-ups, staff will be encouraged to wear cloth masks and will maintain social distance from the public. Staff are required to wear masks under any circumstances where social distancing cannot be maintained. The public is also encouraged to wear masks when on site. Additionally, staff will wear gloves when handling auction items and paperwork.

Following the online auction, if a successful bidder needs help loading equipment, staff will be able to help using a forklift as they would at a live auction.

The DNR prepares equipment for auction by removing all state stickers, decals and registrations, washing and vacuuming the road vehicles, and addressing or making a note of any mechanical issues.

“DNR equipment auctions are a great way to find a new truck, trailer, or even a new fun way to get outdoors — like on an ATV or snowmobile,” Johnson said. “Our goal is to sell equipment while it still has good life left in it. This presents the best value for the buyer, and for the DNR.”

The auction lots are available for viewing and bidding at minnbid.org. Registration is required before users are able to ask questions about lots through the system, or before bids can take place via the MinnBid site. Head to minnbid.org/mobile/register to register for an account.