Bidstation FAQ

Can I use Bidstation to run a mobile, online or virtual auction?

No.  Bidstation is a unique, customized point of sale solution purpose-built for streamlining in-person auction fundraising events with silent auction bid sheets, live auctions, fund a need paddle raises, raffle tickets, wine pulls, etc.

Bidstation allows you to run an event with no lines and happy guests with limited technology and not needing them to use their phones or devices in order to participate and support your organization.

Can I search in Bidstation for an item or a donor?

Yes. In the ITEMS window (available from the dashboard), you will find the ‘Search by title, number or donor’ field in the top left corner.

What does 0 mean in the Item number column?

If you have an item number 0 in the Item number column, it means the item has not been assigned a number. This can happen if you are entering Item numbers manually and forgot to enter one, if you imported Items without numbers, or if you imported duplicate numbers. You will therefore need to assign one.

Where do I get a license key for Bidstation?

When you purchase Bidstation a license key will be emailed to you. You will also have an account created for you on the website where you can retrieve it. Check your email for the license key and for the password for logging in to your account.

Where do I get an Event Device Code to use the Bidstation App?

The Event Device Code is generated in the Bidstation software in the Setup window when the device sync is started.

Can transactional totals be listed by category immediately following the auction?

Yes. Use the REPORTS function and choose [Item Report/By Category/Results].

How many volunteers are needed to properly and efficiently input bids into Bidstation?

We recommend of two people, one to read the bids and BIDDER numbers, the other to enter the data.

Can the donated ITEMS be listed by category and/or alphabetical sequence?

Yes. Use the REPORTS function and choose [Item Report/By Category].

Can this program be installed on more than one computer to accelerate processing for a large auction with multiple users entering winning bid and other bid data?

Yes. The program is ready for network sharing and only requires a simple file/folder sharing setup. However it is not recommended, except in exceptional circumstances or for very large events, because networks are prone to disconnection at events and require specialized knowledge and equipment. If networks are used, it is highly recommended that they be created as wired networks, not wireless (Wi-Fi) to ensure network data speed and reliability.

How do I notify winning bidders that they won an item?

We recommend printing invoices and distributing them before people leave. Bidstation’s invoices clearly indicate which items were won as well as whether or not a balance is owing. You may also print a list of winning bids/purchases (under Reports/Bid Report) and post it for viewing. Emailing invoices is possible, but may not be reliable for notification purposes since some people may not bring phones or check them.

Should invoices be printed as guests arrive at Checkout or pick up items?

No. This would undermine the effort to produce a speedy checkout. Print all invoices, possibly in multiple stacks prior to checkout so that cashiers only need to thumb through the stack to produce the invoice. (Complete each print run separately though so that one stack is ready before printing additional stacks.) Or, print by table number and deliver invoices to tables while guests are still seated.  If the auction has a high number of invoices that only have Other Bid purchases and no auction items, consider printing only invoices with auction items first, as they are the most important ones for the checkout process.

Is it possible to completely erase all of the database information if an incorrect button is pushed during the event?

No. Data is saved before the next record is opened. Only the current record would be lost. However, Bidstation does have a ‘CleanUp’ function under the file menu that will erase some or all of the data permanently, but will warn before doing so. Also, if the computer is damaged in some way, data may be lost. Users should always make a backup database file and make a habit of making regular backups after making changes such as entering all items, all attendees, all winning bids, etc.

How much time is needed to input each Winning bid and Other bid?

We recommend testing this process with the actual people who will input the data to determine their individual speeds based on their keyboarding ability. Typically, bids take a few seconds each to enter.

Is it difficult to add and subtract information at the last minute?

No. It is only necessary to be careful and precise.

Can we import data from an Excel spreadsheet?

Yes, most users import the bulk of their items and attendees because typically item and attendee details are initially captured in Excel leading up to the event as tickets are sold and items are collected.  Detailed instructions are outlined in the Bidstation User Manual. It’s important to follow the instructions carefully so that the import succeeds without errors. The user manual includes details on what fields are limited to certain character limits too. 

While these functions as not typically called on in most events, we have also included the capability to import winning bids, other bids and payments.

The file used for importing (Excel or CSV) must include the correct and unaltered template headers (in addition to user manual, see articles online covering importing items and attendees. A CSV file format can also be used for importing. To quickly and easily create a template for importing each type of data, use the create template function located in Bidstation™ under File/Import/Import Templates.

Can I print customized bid sheets?

Yes, follow the instructions in the create documents section of the user manual to make customizations and to create any type of custom document that you need, in addition to bid sheets (certificates, mailing labels, name tags, etc.).

Can I print customized thank-you letters to all donors?

Yes, see instructions on Creating Documents in the Bidstation User Manual to learn how to create your own thank-you letters using a Bidstation template.

How do you prepare separate invoices for group or syndicate bids?

The easiest way to handle this kind of case is to ask your bidders if they can work it out so that only one of them pays for the item. Otherwise, make a list of all the bidders in the group and divide the total bid by the number of bidders. From here, you can create copies of the item won by the group so that each member can have their share of the winning bid entered against each duplicate copy of the item. Split pay is also possible from within the app for payments that are processed at the moment by entering the portions to be charged one at a time.

Can I export winning bid data so that I can create displays such as with PowerPoint or other similar methods?

Yes. Simply export winning bids and the data will be in Excel format ready for formatting in PowerPoint or other similar systems for displaying winning bid information.

What are Merge Document Filters?

Merge document filters are optional filters that may be selected when creating documents such as bid sheets using templates in Bidstation. For users who want to create custom bid sheets for a specific group, category, section of an auction or range of item numbers, these filters can be selected from the Merge Document Filters screen offered when you open Create Documents.

What happens if I stop the sync?

Stopping the sync unpairs devices so they cannot access data and use the Bidstation app. The sync can be stopped and started at any time from the Setup screen.

What does the message ‘Not configured yet’ in the Square Account panel mean?

Your Square account was not connected with Bidstation or the display has not been updated. Click Refresh Status to update the display.

Can I export data from Bidstation into Excel format?

Yes.  Items, Attendees, Winning Bids, Other Bids and Payments can easily be exported as Excel files or CSV files.

Why can’t I import items and attendees?

You probably need to stop the sync in the Bidstation software. Bidstation will not let you import new items or attendees while the sync is running because this could cause errors during the event. Stop and start the sync any time by clicking the Stop/Start Sync button in the Setup window.

Can I use Bidstation after the event to collect outstanding payments?

Yes. If you need to collect payments for any reason (e.g. someone leaves without paying), contact the guest and you can enter their card details in the app and process payment right away.

How do I refresh the app screen to show the latest updates?

The app refreshes automatically every time you change from screen to screen. You can also refresh the Attendee list manually by swiping down anywhere in the white area.

What is the Event Device Sync (EDC) and how does it work?

The EDC is the function that controls when the Bidstation app can connect and then update attendees, including save a card on file, process a payment, assign a bidder number, etc. The EDC generates a unique code that app users can input to be able to connect to the cloud database and work with Bidstation attendees.

Start the EDC anytime you want to use the app.  Stop it when you are not using the app.  Note that certain functions of Bidstation are not available while the EDC is running e.g., backup, generating item or bidder numbers, etc. Typically the sync is started before check-in begins (for testing at the event and for training cashiers before guests arrive) then stopped after check-in is over (to createa a backup of with the check-in data) and then re-started before checkout begins to ensure the apps are reconnected and ready for action.  Then, when the event is over, before shutting down the computer, stop the sync and make a backup on a portable drive. 

See this video, this article and the user manual for additional details.

Give it a try.

We believe the best way to evaluate Bidstation’s effectiveness for your event is to try it out. Run a small simulated auction of your own with included sample data and live credit card payments with your Square account.