Are you guys having an auction on …?

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nixonauctionSoon after starting to book auctions and working almost everyday in the auction industry, other auctioneers would call or stop by to talk to us.

Often times, that phone call or visit involved me being asked, “Are you guys having an auction on Sunday?” (for example) as the inquisitor was hoping to schedule an auction on some other day if possible.

In other words, it made more sense for local auctioneers to schedule auctions on different days, so as to not compete on the same day — which would require some bidders to choose which auction to attend.

This thinking was if one auctioneer’s auction was Saturday and the other auctioneer’s auction was Sunday, that would be better than both auctioneers having auctions on either day.

Most of these conversations took place due to there being no Internet, nor any other way to look at any other auctioneer’s schedule. In the pre-Internet days, auctions had to be booked weeks ahead of advertising deadlines (newspapers, magazines, periodicals) as well as leave time for mailings and other marketing.

As a result, an auctioneer could be at an appointment with a client, and needing to book an auction 2-3-4 weeks out. However, this auctioneer might rightly wonder if other local auctioneers had booked like auctions on that same day.

Today with the Internet and other modern technology, auctions can be placed on electronic calendars for all to see weeks ahead. Of course, this allows other auctioneers to see those auctions and avoid those same days if desired.

This “avoid-the-same-day” strategy was employed largely when the auction inventories were similar. For instance, almost no auctioneer cared if his commercial restaurant auction was on the same day as another auctioneer’s antique and collectible auction — even if the auctions were next door to each other. The thinking was (and is:) Different inventory classes = different buyers.

Despite the Internet, I received a call just the other day from an auctioneer who operates about 50 miles from our auction house. After the standard cordial remarks, he asked me if our car auctions in Columbus were on Thursdays or Fridays. He was setting up a car auction and didn’t want to have his on the same day; I was equally desirous his car auction was on another day.

We discussed the number of auctions in certain geographic regions here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/where-are-the-auctions/ It’s important to note that in some parts of the United States, there are multiple auctions of the same type of property on the same day in the same city or town — and there are typically ample bidders for all those auctions.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, should a client expect their auctioneer to check on what other auctions might be that same day? Would such fall under the fiduciary duty of “reasonable care?” I suspect so.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.

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