What Is A Quarter Auction?

2 consultant questions this week prompted me to write this post…  “What is a quarter auction?”

In direct sales it is always important to attend vendor events to find new business. You can attend a fair or an expo that is sponsored by your local Chamber Of Commerce or you can organize your own event.What Is A Quarter Auction

A quarter auction is a vendor event that is sponsored by direct selling consultants who are working together in a collaborative effort.

Usually about 10-12 direct sales distributors, each from a different company, organize a quarter auction.

Normally held on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, a quarter auction is an exciting event and develops a following of guests who come each month. The events are fast-paced and fun. They almost always have a charitable donation to favorite causes of the organizers.

Why Participate In Quarter Auctions?

The quarter auction that I attended had a lot of money flowing.

Every consultant that I have interviewed at a quarter auction says that they always find plenty of bookings, sign new consultants and also make some sales.

At a minimum, the events generate bookings and a financial break-even.

The events are successful for all direct sales consultants involved, as the collaboration of everyone’s efforts brings in big results.

In direct sales it is imperative to your business that you continually bring in new clients.

A quarter auction is an excellent way to bring “strangers” into your client base and keep your business solid.

Each direct sales consultant involved in the quarter auction invites their total database, hosts and customers. Each consultant then has the opportunity to network and meet all of the other consultants’ clients and friends.

The event is kind of like bingo.

  • Each guest pays to enter the quarter auction.
  • For their admission fee they get a ping pong paddle that has a number painted on it.
  • Some people buy more than one paddle so they can play more than one game.
  • They use the same paddle all night to bid quarter on items that the consultants have donated.

Please NOTE that a quarter auction can be considered a game of chance in some states and may require licensing.

The ones that I have participated with in PA all had a bingo license that (I was told) covered the rules necessary for games of chance.

Do your own research in this area no matter what state you live in!!

Many Direct Selling Companies

Each consultant from each of the different companies involved donates a certain predetermined value of goods to the auction.

With many different consultants from different companies, the auction items could include: Longaberger, Tastefully Simple, Pampered Chef, Wildtree, Avon, Mary Kay and any other direct selling company products you can think of.

The ones I have attended lasted 4 hours and auctioned off 100’s of direct selling company products.

It is run like a regular auction.

The guests bid on each item by putting their quarter into a basket and holding up their paddle. Each item has a minimum bid. It could be 1-4 quarters.

With a room full of bidders (the one I was at had at least 100 people) an item that sells for retail of $40 may get more than 100 quarters in the bid baskets. 

As each item is “closed” for bidding, a number is picked from a big bowl of ping pong balls and whoever owns that number on their paddle wins the prize. 

If you do not bid and your number is pulled, then you do not win. The money collected at the door and in the baskets goes to the room rental and is divided among the vendors.

Each consultant has a vendor table around the room and take turns with duties and staffing their tables. At the tables the distributors are booking shows, signing up consultants and selling products.

Some are playing the auctioneer and others are collecting money, rotating the auction items into place, emptying the bid baskets and other duties. Other opportunities for “selling” may include beverages, etc.

How To Start A Quarter Auction

The quarter auction is a very exciting, fun and emotionally connecting event.

quarter auctions Everyone is excited and the money can really flow.

The whole environment is conducive to selling and booking because of the great emotional connections going on in the exciting environment!

The quarter auction success depends upon the commitment of the consultants involved.

It takes a willingness to share your customer base, as well as the commitment to time involved in creating a successful series of events.

A quarter auction with 100 – 150 guests might not necessarily happen the first time.

Everyone that I have every discussed quarter auctions with has said they are an awesome way to find business!


    Shared by: Heather:

    I have a question how do you keep the honor system in place so you don’t have “cheaters” per say.. Also, do you have to have licenses in order to hold the auctions?

      Shared by: Deb Bixler:

      I am not sure what you mean by the honor system or cheaters. The paddles stay raised if they put money in and I am sure the rest of the table keeps tabs on each other. And yes, some states do require a gaming license and others do not.

    Shared by: Stacy:

    I have a couple questions. First, what is a typical amount to charge for the paddles? If you’re having it for a charity or organization, besides the paddle fee, does the organization get the quarters, or the vendors, or some combination? I realize there are variations but I’m wondering what’s typical as I would like to have one for my synagogue sisterhood but I am also a vendor wouldn’t mind making some of the money too!

      Shared by: Deb Bixler:

      I don’t think there really is a typical way to divide the money. It is up to you to make a plan and decide how the moneys will be distributed. The ones I went to there was a lot of money flowing. The vendors all said it was a very profitable event because they also sell off the tables and always get bookings and even an occasional recruit. I have seen the quarters divided between the vendors after the room rental was paid and then using sales of beverages, snacks and punch cards etc. going 100% to the charity.

      I do not remember what the paddle costs were. Maybe $5 or $8 but really a more established event will be different than a first time or new event. Hope that helps!

    Shared by: Deb Bixler:

    Every event is different, Judy…

    At the beginning I said:
    They ALMOST always have a charitable donation to favorite causes of the organizer – not all do though.

    Depending on the organizers usually they are giving a cut of the door to a charity or all those quarters being gathered up every round and there is a lot of money changing hands could be applied to the charity of choice.

    Others that I went also had other games like 50:50 drawings or punch boards.

    So, the organizers (normally a different vendor each month) pick their favorite cause and have a predetermined way to gather those funds from the many money sources in play.

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