Carrie Rengers

New Roads for the Francis family

Tyler Francis (left) and his father, Gene, are inspecting equipment for their first Gavel Roads online auction.
Tyler Francis (left) and his father, Gene, are inspecting equipment for their first Gavel Roads online auction. The Wichita Eagle

The new Gavel Roads online equipment auction will have its first auction next month as expected, but Tyler Francis says it’s been like doing a puzzle to get all the pieces of the new business to fit.

“It’s almost like we took a few different puzzles and mixed the pieces together.”

Francis says it’s taken time, energy and creativity “to really get what we felt was the best online equipment auction for buyers and sellers.”

As Francis told Have You Heard? in February, he and his parents, Gene and Connie Francis, and sister, Lori Rogge, are starting Gavel Roads as something of an offshoot of their Gene Francis & Associates.

Gene and Connie Francis started their business more than 30 years ago to sell farmland, ranches, recreational properties such as hunting grounds and some residential properties across Kansas. They also started an auction business to sell farm equipment, most of which has been under $30,000.

Through the years, Tyler Francis says they noticed there were bigger pieces of equipment that didn’t make it into their auctions. That’s what the new company will address.

“This business has been born and raised from Gene Francis and Associates,” Tyler Francis says.

The company’s website, www.gavelroads.com, is now live.

“We started getting the items onto the website now, and people will have the opportunity to bid on those items between now and 10 a.m. on August 31,” Tyler Francis says.

“We’re focusing most of this auction on items from the construction industry,” he says.

That includes equipment such as excavators, dozers, pavers and heavy implement trailers.

A Sept. 21 auction will focus on agriculture, with things such as tractors, combines and grain trucks for sale.

On Oct. 12, there will be a government agency auction where cities, counties and state agencies will consign equipment they want to replace or that they’ve impounded.

“Those are the three auctions we will rotate every month,” Francis says. “The goal is to have multiple options a week.”

The company also is working on auctions for specific customers, and Francis says there’s interest for a recreational vehicle auction as well. He says he’d like an RV auction on a regular basis eventually.

That will include things such as boats and ATVs.

“Until we get enough of those, we’ll put those in the other three auctions,” Francis says.

Unlike a lot of auction sites, Francis says Gavel Roads will allow reserves on items, meaning if bids don’t meet certain minimums, the items don’t have to sell.

“We don’t want the consignor to lose money or take a bath on that item.”

Gavel Roads will inspect all equipment at consignors’ sites and take photos and videos.

The company also will share consignors’ contact information so potential buyers can ask questions and arrange to inspect equipment in person.

Francis says he expects his customers from the last few decades to be potential consignors. He’s been in the construction industry for 16 years and thinks potential consignors will come from there, too.

The auctions are designed to reach a wide audience.

“From the Rockies to Mississippi, Canada to Mexico is really where we’re going to focus our attention,” Francis says. “We hope to reach a much broader spectrum of buyers.”

He says there have been a number of things that have slowed the start of the first auction. One hurdle was how the site charges tax.

“It took a long time to get that resolved,” Francis says.

“We’ve just had a laundry list of things that we’ve been working on,” he says. “So we’re a little bit behind but very excited about what we came up with.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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