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: 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.

    Shared by: Judy:

    I’m still confused on how the money is given to charity, as I read the article & saw
    “The money collected at the door and in the baskets goes to the room rental and is divided among the vendors”
    What $ then goes to the charity?? This is where I’m lost, I get how to run it just not where the charity $ comes in?? Thanks in advance to anyone who can answer that one for me! lol. 😉

    Shared by: Shelly Keller:

    If you’re interested in keeping up to date regarding the QA’s in PA you can visit FB page Legalize Quarter Auctions in PA.

    Shared by: Deb Bixler:

    Yes, Rachel, It has been in the news lately. This I think is in regard to York County PA and is something that has taken everyone by surprise. I do not know who said that it is covered in the bingo rules, I was just transfering info that I was told by the organizer of a bingo auction. They were operating under a bingo liscence that the fire hall or church had. Here is a news report from the York Daily Record. I plan on doing a follow up article on this within the next few days. I probably have no more info than you do. Keep in mind that these articles were written months back when QA were in full swing and growing in PA.

    Shared by: Rachel:

    There has been alot of publicity in the PA news lately stating that quarter auctions are “illegal”, and that the police have a right to raid the bingo/fire halls and confiscate all monies and products of the vendors and guests, but i am reading here that it is covered under PA bingo laws, yet when i look on the state website, i can find nothing regarding quarter auctions or the state bingo laws? can you tell me exactly which agency i can call to check on this? i have a home based business, and the recent QA i did really helped expand my client base, and i have had offers to do 2 more, but am reluctant until i know for sure! thanks!

    Shared by: Deb Bixler:

    This is pretty much honor system, Suzanne. I do not have a video. The bidders put their paddle in the air and keep it up until the prizes are awarded.

    Shared by: Suzanne:

    How do they track who placed a bid and who didn’t? Is there a youtube showing one of these?

    Shared by: Deb Bixler:

    That is a great idea, Doris. The DSA or the DSWA would have business ethics that could be incorporated into the event.

    Shared by: Doris Peay:

    This sounds interesting and fun. I agree you have to feel comfortable about sharing your customer base with others. I would recommend using other DSA Consultants that you know and trust. I had a bad experience once with a distributor I didn’t know with another event and had several of my customers and hostesses get angry with me because of some things she said or did when she contacted them. So be cautious of who you do your event with. I love to hear new ideas from other DSA consultants on how you do your events.

    Shared by: Lisa:

    I’ve been participating in QA’s for almost 2 years, coordinating my own for about 9 months – though I call mine Quarter Mania’s (the term “auction” tends to throw people off). I was just approved with a large organization to begin running QMs for their local group, and if all goes well, extending district-wide covering two counties, and eventually possibly thru-out the state! Every one is different but they all have the same things in common – they are alot of fun, nowhere else can you get great products for just a few quarters and they are always held to benefit a great cause! They are fast becoming a trend and will soon overtake bingo! 🙂 To find out about these events, I invite you to visit http://www.quartermaniaparty.com. If you are a vendor looking to participate, or already participate, get yourself listed on the site and advertise your events!

    Shared by: Deb Bixler:

    Hey Lynden, I spent 3 weeks in AU in 2000 and LOVE your country. I thought you had a 20 cent coin? At the auction, some things have a minimum bid of 2, 3, or 4 coins, so your minimums may be different. But a 20 cent coin may make it sound more desirable. Either way 50 cent or 20 cent, it would work.

    Shared by: Lynden Boehm:

    this sounds a fantastic idea – I live in Australia and I reckon it’d be a great thing to get going – on my To Do List now!!! We’ll need to call it a 50cent auction, as we don’t have Quarters! I look forward to hearing more info about it.

    Shared by: Deb Bixler:

    I just talked to people who have bingo licenses and who run quarter auctions, Amy. No matter what state you are in you need to call the state and ask them what the rules are. It is very similar to bingo. Just call any government agency and ask who you should talk to about bingo and then ask them if this falls under the category. Do you own research please as I am not giving out any legal advice here!!

    Shared by: Amy:

    I was also wondering about the gaming laws. How did you find out that in PA Bingo Licenses will cover a QA? In reference to question #6

    Shared by: Deb Bixler:

    I might have an invitation I got via email. It will take a bit to find it in my trash though. Keep watching. If I can find it I will do a short supplement article.

    Shared by: Leigh Cremin:

    I am also excited and intrigued by this idea. Anyone got a flyer for one they could share as a .doc file or edit-able .pdf? I am in the Stonington, CT, area. Anyone nearby interested in organizing something locally? (Or will we seek the wrath of the casinos??) Thanks & cheers!

    Shared by: Deb Bixler:

    I just got an email from a local group planning a quarter auction and the fees are: $5.00 admission includes one paddle… extra paddles available for $3.00

    Shared by: Deb Bixler:

    Good question! I was thinking about that and then thought I wouldn’t bring it up. I can not speak for all states nor give legal advice. In PA, a bingo license covers it. In other states it may not fall under gambling categories or it might. I have heard of fire halls who have a bingo license renting the hall then the rentor is working under their license. In PA you can buy a license for a one time event or for an annual thing. (I think.) It comes down to doing your research.

    Shared by: Kat Quarterman:

    How do people bypass the gambling laws in some states?

    Shared by: Deb Bixler:

    Well, Merilyn, I don’t remember what the admission fee was. I am thinking maybe $3 per paddle or something. One thing that a lot of these Quarter Auctions do is make a donation to a cause. So, I think the plan is on the entrance fee is to cover the room rental, usually a fire hall or church, then make a donation to a cause. The money in the baskets goes to the reps to pay for the product… I am sure they are all a bit different.

    Shared by: Merilyn Strange:

    This sounds like a really exciting event.
    How mukch is charged for admission?

    Shared by: Vicky:

    This sounds awesome and something I’d like to do in my area. Thanks for sharing!

    Shared by: Trisha Gutierrez:

    I love Quarter Auctions.. I have been running “Quartermania’s” in our area for the last year and have had a blast.

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