The foundation of our surplus property philosophy at UMaine starts with a simple concept: To get the best return. The “best return” is not always the same as the highest price. We pay strict attention to the cost of storing, handling, advertising, employee time and selling of surplus property. We see no advantage in spending $1,000 to sell an item for $500. With this in mind, we strive for a very low overhead. We have no warehouse, no truck and no employees except for about 50% of the Property Control Officer’s time. Selling surplus property is a cooperative effort between the Property Officer and the selling department.
Many universities put surplus items out to formal bid or auction and store equipment for long periods of time. We aim to relocate or remove surplus equipment in the fastest, most efficient, fair and ethical manner possible, and do it in a way that will best serve the interests of the students, who are our reason for being, and the taxpayers, who support us.
When selling between departments we are working for both sides at once. At times our role is one of mediator. The main concern is to keep the item on campus, if possible, because it prevents the buyer from having to buy new and allows the seller to recover some value for idle equipment. The goal is to work out a deal that is fair to both parties. The selling department can be as generous as it wants, but it still has a right to recover some value from the equipment it owns.
When selling outside the University, price is of far more concern. We want to get as much value for the least expense as possible. However, even here, being overly aggressive may not be appropriate. We must deal with all prospective buyers honestly and ethically, and every effort should be made to ensure they know exactly what they are buying.
1) Departments notify the Property Officer when they have surplus equipment.
2) First we determine value. If there is no value, the department is usually told to call the Sustainability Office for recycling or disposal (581-3300 Ext. 2).
3) When there is value, we decide whether it should be restricted to departments only. Then we determine the price, method of selling and how it will be advertised. (If the value is over $5000 and the item was purchased with federal funding, the property is disposed of following the guidelines of OMB Circular A110.)
4) The Property Officer chooses a selling method and filters calls from prospective buyers.
5) The selling department keeps possession of the equipment and shows it to prospective buyers who have been referred to them by the Property Officer.
6) When a sale is made it is highly recommended, though not mandatory, that the payment be made by check.
7) The buyer pays the selling department directly.
8 ) The selling department deposits the entire amount into their account via a Schedule of Collections. No fees are paid to the Purchasing Department.
9) The selling department makes a photocopy of the check and the Schedule of Collections and sends it to the Property Officer as a record of the transaction.
10) The buyer, whether department, individual, company or charity is responsible for moving the equipment, including any cost.