Bidder Self Registration
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Bidder Self Registration

This article will outline best practices for incorporating a Bidder self-registration into your event.

Although this article addresses bidder self-registration rather than a classic guest list check-in, we understand that some guests may struggle with self-registration and need help. Don't worry. You can add bidders to the Handbid Manager and send them a unique login link. We recommend setting up a "solutions station" to help register bidders at your event! 

This may seem chaotic and perhaps you may be concerned it will limit auction revenue potential.  After all, you aren't registering every guest as a bidder!  However, in some cases, this approach may make the most sense for your event.  Why?  Consider these circumstances:

  • You don't have enough staff or time to manage an efficient check-in.  If you have 600 people coming and don't have at least 8-9 staff to check them all in, then you will create a massive line and frustrate your guests right when they arrive!  If that is a concern, consider letting your guests register themselves.  (note, if you are doing an in-room paddle raise and need everyone to have a bidder card in their hands, then you will need to conduct a full check-in.  So find those staff people!)
  • You are not doing a paddle raise and the auction is not a central part of your event.  So the auction is there, but it is not something you expect every guest to participate in.  If that is the case, then consider letting those that want to bid register and those who don't can head right in to the event and mingle.

To conduct a self-registration, you must ensure the guests have adequate instructions on how to Bid in your auction.  In addition, you can make things even easier for yourself by having your guests register before your event!  Read below on how to make that happen:

Getting Guests to Pre-Register

Getting bidders to register early makes the entire registration process seamless and less stressful. Below are some ways to make that happen:

  • NOTIFY bidders before your event that you will be using mobile bidding! This can usually be accomplished by email. One way to do that is to use the Handbid invite system. Import or load in a list of invitees, edit the invitation email and shoot off an invitation with a registration link for your guests.  You can read about how to do that here:  

    Import Guests into your Invite List
  • ENCOURAGE bidders to download the app and Register BEFORE THEY ARRIVE.  Perhaps even consider offering an incentive to do so.  This incentive could be as simple as "skip the line when you arrive" or "pass Go, collect $200 by registering in advance". Ok, maybe you don't offer them $200, but a drink ticket may just do the trick! 

  • OPEN your auction for pre-bidding and get people signed up and excited about your auction before they arrive at your event.  People are less likely to register if there is nothing to see. So give them something to see, like auction items! Better yet, let them start bidding on them days in advance.  That will (a) get them used to Handbid and how to bid and (b) generate revenue for you before your event even starts!  

  • ASSIST your bidders with pre-signup by offering a help desk where you can create accounts and get people signed up before your event. (This works great for schools to offer assistance while families are at the school for a different purpose such as drop off, pickup, book fair, etc.)

Send your guests a link to view this short video on downloading and using the Handbid Mobile App.

Some Considerations on Self-Registration

  • You may want to include a section telling people what to do if they don't have an iPhone or Android.  We have some instructions on that here in the Knowledge base.

  • Afraid your guests won't (or don't know how to use an  App?).  No problem, your bidders can also bid on the web from home or from their smartphone.  The registration link you send will direct them to our web-based bidding site: and they can start bidding from there.

  • We have tutorial videos that show people how to get started with the iPhone/Android app. These may be useful for your bidders.  

  • If your auction is not in preview, pre-sale or open modes, then it will NOT be found in the auction list. Be sure to have the auction visible before sending out any pre-registration instructions. Not sure how to change the status of your auction? This article will show you how to do that.

  • We mentioned this above, but it's worth mentioning again.  You may want to offer an incentive to get people to sign up early. Some ideas of incentives that we have seen work are:
      • Give everyone who has the app installed an Opportunity Drawing ticket or a free drink ticket
      • One school offered up $2 Starbucks cards (enough for a large coffee) for anyone that showed up in the carpool lane and showed the auction team they had the app on their phone
      • Have a VIP early checkin line for those that show up with the app already installed


The following email example can be sent out to your guests ahead of time to let them know your auction is now mobile and that here is how they can get in the game!

Hello [NAME],We are excited to tell you that our auction has gone mobile this year! [AUCTION NAME] will be using Handbid, a mobile silent auction platform that allows you to bid from your smartphone.  

Save time at check-in by getting setup and start bidding before you arrive!


    If you have an iPhone or Android, you can download the Handbid app from the Apple iTunes App Store or the Google Play store

    Please note we strongly recommend you “accept notifications from this app” when you open it and join an auction. This will allow you to get push notifications for “Outbid” messages during the event.


    Next, create an account. From the app home screen, tap on “GET STARTED” button and complete the information (please use your cell phone number - this is important as this is the number your notifications will be sent to). Tap NEXT

    Handbid will text you a 5 digit code.  Enter this code to login. 

    Once you are logged in, select [AUCTION NAME] from the list of auctions and START BIDDING!


    Whether you are bidding online or in the Handbid app, here are some easy tips to help:

    • MAX BID:  This is the maximum amount you are willing to spend for an item and the Handbid system will automatically bid for you until you reach your max.  Set a max bid and enjoy your evening!
    • NOTIFICATIONS: If you have downloaded the Handbid app and accepted push notifications, you will be notified when you are outbid on an item.  If you don’t accept push notifications, you will receive text messages from Handbid.
    • DASHBOARD: Monitor what you are currently winning and losing on the dashboard screen in your app or online. 

    No smartphone? No problem

    You will be able to access the auction through a web browser at URL: [Auction Short URL here] or we will also have iPad's available at the event to get you signed up and bidding!