Let’s talk paper bids versus reverse auctions…

Gone are the days of the paper bid—at least in our world!

At Enviro 21, our online procurement process or reverse auction is set up for the success and savings for environmental engineering agencies, municipalities, other governmental organizations, and private industry stakeholders to provide value-added assistance with auctions, consulting, and brokerage services.

While paper bids are typically understood by the general public (can’t you hear the auctioneer in your head?), reverse auctions may be a foreign concept. What is it and how does it work?

As we continue to see a shift in the marketplace, reverse auctions are becoming increasingly popular and well—a better way to bid, generating savings from 10–40%.

Paper Bids

Have you attended an auction or bought something on eBay? If you answered ‘yes’ to either of those, then you most likely know what we’re talking about!

These types of auctions are most commonly performed at the consumer level. Traditional bids or paper bids take place when the seller offers an item for sale at a set-price. From here, the auction starts and bids are received from buyers who secure the price for the seller by bidding upward. This drives the seller to receive payment from the highest bidder.

Reverse Auction

Contrarily, a reverse auction is typically conducted business to business. Buyers set a request for a hard-good or service and the sellers bid against each other to provide the best available price for the buyer’s need.

Think about it like this…

Your car needs new tires. However, you’re new in town so you are not familiar with the businesses in your area, and you spent a bunch of money for your move—saving money where you can is important right now. You decide to head to Facebook and make a post in your new town’s community group asking for recommendations for local auto repair shops.

The comments start lighting up your phone.

Business A charges $100 per tire.
Business B charges $75 per tire.
Business C charges $60 per tire.

Congratulations—your decision is made! Business C receives your business and you are saving big!

Sellers compete as they each submit the set amounts that they are willing to be compensated for the desired hard-good or service. At the end of the auction, the seller with the lowest bid or best available price wins.


The Enviro 21 reverse auction process is set up for business to business sales transactions. The goal? For the buyer to receive the best available price from the seller. Our online procurement process allows businesses and industries to save big on the products or services they need to keep moving forward. Advanced online marketplaces have allowed sellers and buyers to connect across the nation, and our reverse auction process is no different.

If your business is interested in learning more about our upcoming auctions or bidding with Enviro 21, contact our team today.

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