Setting up a Reverse Auction

Bonfire's Reverse Auctions Module allows Project Owners to facilitate a live competitive bidding environment for Vendors to compete with each other (or against themselves) to become their Project's lowest-bidding respondent.

Bonfire's Reverse Auctions Module will allow you to create auctions within projects. Before creating an auction, you may want to review our Reverse Auction Terminology article for a detailed explanation of definitions.

This article will cover the following:

Creating an Auction

During the Auction

Once the Auction ends

NOTE: This feature must be enabled in your portal's backend. To do so, please contact Bonfire Support (

Creating an Auction

To create an auction, first navigate to the Requested Information section. Then click the Auctions tab and then the Create button on the right side of the screen:


The Create Auction window will pop up where you can fill out the details of your auction. Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*); note that you won't be able to save your auction unless all required fields are filled out. 


Tooltips are indicated with a dotted underline . At any time, if you need help, you can hover over the item title to get a description of its function. 

When setting the dates and times for your auction, you will notice that Bonfire allows you to set times down to the minute. This means that you can pick precise start and end times to suit your needs for a specific auction.


If you would like to avoid auction sniping, you can input an Extension Period. The auction end time will extend by this amount. If you would like a hard stop time, simply enter 0 in this field. 

There are 4 different Auction types to choose from. 

1. English Auction

  • New bids must be less than the current bid by the established Bid Decrement Amount.
  • Vendors will only see their own bids. 

2. Dynamic Auction

  • New bids must be less than the current bid by the established Bid Decrement Amount.
  • Vendors can compare other bids. The Buyer can choose whether Vendors can or can not see other bidders' names.

3. Personal Best Auction

  • New bids must be less than their own current bid by the established Bid Decrement Amount.
  • The Buyer controls what Vendors can see with respects to other Vendor names and their prices.


With the "No, vendors cannot see other's name or prices" option selected, Bonfire will remove all references which a vendor can use to infer a competitor's lowest bid amount. Any graphs indicating lowest bid along with any other vendor names are completely hidden from the vendor's point-of-view.

4. Custom Auction

  • Buyer can choose their desired Bid Rule and Can Compare Bid combination. 

Mapping your auction results to a Data Slot

If you are planning to use the Auto-Score feature for this auction (more on that later on), it is very important that Data Slots be created under Requested Information and mapped in the Criteria section as Pricing Criteria prior to the project close (preferably before the project even Opens). 

If there are multiple Data Slots in your project, you will need to map one to this auction via the drop-down in the Active Submissions section of the Create Auction pop-up (see the Create Auction screenshot above).

Once all the required fields are filled out, click Save. You will then be brought to the Buyer's auction view.


Under the Results tab of the Buyer's view, you will see a table of all Vendors who have created a submission along with their current submitted values (as dictated by the chosen Data Slot in the creation set). 

There is an Edit button in the top-right corner of the screen if any changes are needed. The Edit Auction pop-up will appear (which looks exactly like the Create Auction pop-up). You can leave the auction view at any time by clicking on the Back to Project button in the top-right corner.


If you want to navigate back to the view of your Auction in the future, navigate to the Requested Information section again, click the Auctions tab, and then click Actions -> View:


Email notifications for Auctions are sent to qualifying Vendors the night before an auction and once more within 30 minutes of the start time. 


During the Auction

Buyer View

During a live auction, you will see the data on the auction view refresh automatically. 

Once the first bid is made, the placeholder chart to the right will chart the bidding behavior of each bidder. Across the top are KPIs that reflect the bid results.  


The History table will reflect all updates to the bid overtime along with a time stamp, dollar value and percentage change between bids. 

The timer in the top-right corner counts down the time remaining for this auction. 

An auction will continue past the set end time as long as bids continue to come in. You can stop an auction immediately by clicking on the Cut Off Extension button to the top right of the screen. 



Vendor's View
Please see our Reverse Auctions (Vendor's view) page for a glimpse of what Vendors experience during the Reverse Auction process.

Once the Auction Ends

You may choose to use the results of the auction to override the current Data Slot entry by selecting Auto-Score from the Actions drop-down to the right of the specific auction in the Auctions section.


This will override the current amount in the chosen Data Slot with the new bid amount for all who participated. 

For the Auto-Score option to show, it is very important to ensure all these conditions have been met:

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