Since Bill Coates bought Star Contracting Ltd.—the BC-based road contracting business where he worked for more than 30 years—his life has been getting busier.

Bill now relies on the Ritchie Bros. website more than ever, for equipment and information.

I can search for equipment, compare items, zoom-in on photos, check auction results, bid, buy and even arrange for shipping all without leaving my office.

Bill Coates

When Bill Coates finds something he likes, he sticks with it. In his early twenties he went to work for Star Contracting Ltd., a road building contractor in Port Alberni, BC. Over the first two decades he was promoted from employee to foreman to Operations Manager, and in the third decade, 2009, he purchased the company from Larry Mackenzie.

Since then he's kept things pretty much the same, especially the office and "great work crew." He's also kept the company's longtime relationship with Ritchie Bros. "I believe Larry Mackenzie has attended every single Ritchie Bros. auction in Vancouver since they began conducting auctions there," says Bill. "But my first experience with Ritchie Bros. wasn't until the early 1990s when we were selling surplus equipment. I was so impressed with their operation that I have been attending the Vancouver auctions ever since, in person or online."

The main reason for his loyalty: Ritchie Bros.' dedication to unreserved auctions.

"I think all auctions should be unreserved," says Bill. "I like it as a seller and as a buyer. You know everything sells for its true market value because the bidders set the prices. I feel very comfortable buying from Ritchie Bros."

Over the past few years Bill has converted from bidding on-site to buying mostly online because of the convenience and full-service aspects of the Ritchie Bros. website.

"I probably spend more time on Ritchie Bros.' website than their own

Bill Coates

sales people," he jokes. "I can do almost everything online. I can search for equipment, compare items, zoom-in on photos, check auction results, bid, buy and even arrange for shipping—all without leaving my office."

Since Ritchie Bros. released its new website in 2010, Bill has felt even more comfortable bidding online.

"The new is great—it gives me everything I need to bid with confidence," he says. "The high-resolution photos and equipment information are great, but what really pushes the new website to the next level is how easy it is to access past auction results. With more information on the new website, everyone is more informed and on a level playing field."

And that's what Bill's loyalty comes down to—fair auctions that keep bidders on a level playing field, along with people he enjoys working with.

"I have great relationships with many of the Ritchie Bros. staff from Jake Lawson to Adam Pruss to George Bryden and Yard Manager Dave Weisgerber," says Bill. "I really trust them and I never hesitate to call if I have any questions or concerns. They are always willing to help."

Written and published: 2009

Find the equipment or trucks you need at an upcoming unreserved auction.