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Buying Government Surplus

You have your business, but now you need supplies. Purchasing surplus goods from the government is an easy and affordable way to equip your new and expanding business. From computers to cars to gently used medical equipment, just about anything you can think of that your business might need is sold by the government at or below cost, or fair market value.

A Small Business Guide to Government Auctions and Sales

When a federal or state agency has extra equipment, seized goods, or forecloses on a piece of property, the goods are either transferred to another government agency or sold to the public. These items are sold "as is" by auction or negotiated sale, either online, in-person or both. Online auctions work much the same way as other auction sites, such as eBay. You visit an agency's auction site, register your name and place your bid.

Unlike most state governments, there is no single online auction web site in the federal government. Federal agencies responsible for disposing of excess government property, such as the General Services Administration (GSA) or Department of Defense (DoD), have their own auction sites. Federal law enforcement agencies also run auction sites for seized property.

The following websites offer government surplus goods and real estate for sale.

Auction Sites

  • GovSales.gov
    This resource aims to help you find everything you need for your small business in one place. It catalogs most surplus items and real estate for sale by the federal government, from cars and commercial real estate to furniture, computers and office equipment.
  • Military Surplus
    Offers excess/surplus property received from U.S. military services, sold by the U.S. Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service. Items include furniture, appliances, camping gear, vehicles, computers, office supplies and radios.
  • U.S. Marshals Service - Seized Asset Information
    Sells property to the public that has been seized by federal law enforcement agencies. The property for sale can be residential and commercial real estate, business establishments, and a variety of personal property such as motor vehicles, boats, aircraft, jewelry, art, antiques and collectibles.
  • U.S. Treasury - Seized Vehicles Sales
    Lists vehicle auctions that take place in a variety of states. U.S. Treasury seized vehicles are usually offered for sale at the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Edison, New Jersey; Los Angeles, California; El Paso, Texas; Nogales, Arizona; and Chula Vista, California auction sales centers.
  • U.S. Treasury - IRS
    Offers properties that have been seized due to tax defaults at the IRS auction.
  • Bid4Assets
    Enables you to bid on a wide variety of forfeited, surplus, tax-defaulted and foreclosed property online using Bid4Assets' online auction marketplace. Federal, state and local government agencies selling goods on the site include the U.S. Marshall Service, U.S. Dept. of Treasury, U.S. Dept. of Energy, the State of New Jersey and more than 40 counties nationwide.

Guides to Government Auctions