1-stop shopping for surplus parking meters, police cars, desks at Municibid.com
In the market for a police cruiser from North Huntingdon, Tarentum or Turtle Creek?
How about a well-worn truck and snow plow, metal lockers or an “as-is” cast iron grill from Hempfield Township Park?
Municibid.com, an online auction house launched in 2006 by former Pottstown councilman Greg Berry, could be the perfect shopping place for you. Initially geared toward “professional” buyers across the country, Berry said the Northeast is where most business is conducted.
“We have just about 3,000 governments and school districts across the country,” said Berry, “and about 2,000 are in Pennsylvania.”
Jeannette soon will be among those 2,000. In addition to old parking meters, Jeannette officials plan to add a cache of traffic lights to the countless items up for sale from local governments, school districts, public authorities and utilities looking to move surplus and forfeitures.
Some of the meters in Jeannette were taken out of service, while others were removed from Clay Avenue as part of a sidewalk reconstruction project, city foreman Richard Ault said. Interested buyers can purchase the used, single or double-headed parking meters for $150.
“We have them stockpiled at the city garage, and it’s taking up all kind of room,” Ault recently told city council. “We’re down to three intersections with traffic signals; we have all the used ones we took off that are just sitting on a rack.”
Reinstalling the meters and paying to have them calibrated would be cost prohibitive, Ault said.
In fact, it was the need to sell parking meters and the limited resources to sell them that spurred Berry to launch Municibid. Since its inception about 12 years ago, the auction site has grown to do business in 20 states and has expanded to a wider audience.
“As a general breakdown, I’d say it’s around 60 percent businesses, 20 percent government and 20 percent individuals,” Berry said. He also said it’s interesting to see the growth of the “individual buyer,” such as when a parent buys their child’s first car.
Ault’s outlook on the fate of the city’s parking meters was similar: “Collectors will buy them … for game rooms; things like that. Same with the traffic signals,” he said.
Municibid isn’t limited to used heavy machinery and office amenities, though. If collectibles and home decor are more your route, buyers can browse auctions by category and can find listings for jewelry, kitchen equipment and even holiday/seasonal options.
Manned by a core team of five employees and about 15 contractors, Municibid continues to grow. It has earned a spot in Inc. Magazine’s annual list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies. Berry said he believes about 80 percent of his company’s growth is attributed to referrals and that 50 agencies every month make a switch to his site. He said his company spends a lot of time making sure the platform is easy to navigate on phones and computers.
“We’re continuing to grow, and it’s a testament to our company,” Berry said of being ranked by Inc. Magazine. “We’re staying the course and staying ahead in technology.”
Other Pennsylvania governments that have used Municibid include Turtle Creek, which has used the site numerous times — including to sell a dump truck and a squad truck from the fire department.
Candace Howell is a freelance writer.