How to Hire an Auctioneer

Well now here’s a subject near and dear to me which I’ve yet to cover. I love auctioneering because to me, it’s the most democratic type of economy available. And saying that auctions are an actual economy is not a typo or an altruistic statement. I really mean they are their own economy.

Within an auction, there is: Currency, both monetary and non-monetary. The trust of fellow dealers is a form of currency that has value, as well as the integrity of an estate and the crew handling it. Marketing, promotion, etc. See, all of these things hadn’t any monetary value until the shape of the auction took place around them, designating them an abstract form of currency. Then an economy needs markets right? There are enough flea markets and antique shops in this world to keep an endless supply of auctioneers hopping. And there are not really an awful lot of auctioneers.

Mass interest: An economy needs that, no? I mean if a good portion of the world isn’t interested in playing ball, then an economy will collapse.
Let’s face it, one man’s trash has been another man’s treasure since the first cave man threw out a Saber toothed Tiger bone, and Grog fashioned it into jewelry for his cave girl. So we know enough people are “willing to play ball”.

Now what you may ask does this have to do with hiring an auctioneer. Well, everything.
You see, whether your hiring an auctioneer to MC a charity event, or you want to liquidate Grandmother’s estate, your asking someone to do a very big and important job. Now many of you reading may know that, but a common belief is that the only thing an auctioneer needs to do well is talk fast, and that’s just not true.

In the case of an estate when your looking to hire an auctioneer, your asking someone to be responsible for a good portion, if not all the entire accumulated wealth of a deceased loved one. Maybe your in need of a fund raising auction and the event is going to be 50% or more of your organization’s yearly budget.

Not every auction is this important, but many are. Ask yourself how important your auction is to you. Then decide if you need a rubber jawed junk dealer, or if you want someone that understands and respects your situation.
An auctioneer of this caliber can sum up any job in your first meeting and give you a very clear cut idea which direction you should go in.

That last sentence would be the meat and potatoes of this article then. What you most likely want to know is how to tell if you have an auctioneer that is right for you and will treat you fair.

Important things you have to decide when choosing an auctioneer.

Is this auctioneer available unique silent auction ideas in the date range your working with? Although a good auctioneer can get a sale ready in a few weeks, auctions are often booked months in advance, some, as much as a year. Therefore, he may be busy in the date you need him. Let them know on the phone the time frame your looking at, it may save you and the auctioneer a wasted meeting. Do they do the kind of auction you want to run? Most auctioneers are flexible, but each has his/her forte. Mine is antiques/collectibles and estates. Some auctioneers do only heavy equipment etc. You get the idea, this can also be found out over the phone.

When your calling an auction hall, if you reach anyone other than the auctioneer, ask when they can be reached. Unlike a lot of other businesses, there are not very many questions an auctioneer’s help can answer for you with much accuracy. So you’ve decided to meet. If it’s a big job and the auctioneer is late for the first meeting without a ROCK SOLID excuse, don’t hire them. While this may sound overly harsh it is not at all.

The most important talent an auctioneer needs to have is a sense of timing, it is the most crucial element to reading a crowd of buyers and reading a crowd of buyers is the auctioneers most important job.

I’ve seen people auction off antiques that know nothing about antiques, yet they can get more money than the guy from the antiques road show because they know how to work a crowd to just the right tune. Of course it’s better to have an auctioneer that knows the merchandise and can read a crowd. But I’ll take a good sense of timing over anything. If they can’t make it on time to the very first meeting, what does it say for their sense of timing? Late auctioneer = bad auctioneer.

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