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In the 1980’s, Wendy’s experimented with a breakfast offering, which was largely unsuccessful. Among the numerous reasons this endeavor failed, Wendy’s discovered that consumers didn’t want to eat breakfast and lunch at the same restaurant. Therefore, for those consumers taking advantage of Wendy’s breakfast, Wendy’s lost them as lunch customers.

Auctioneers are regularly confronted with a very similar situation; do they have a one-day auction, and sell in multiple rings, or sell in fewer rings, and spread the auction over two days (or three days, or four days …)? What many auctioneers have discovered is that if an auction can be held on one day, with multiple rings (multiple auctioneers selling at the same time), that prices will be better than that same auction with one ring, over multiple days.

Why would this be?

Similar to Wendy’s discovery, auction customers don’t necessarily want to participate at the same auction two days in a row. It appears the lure of another auction, with the prospect of finding that hidden treasure there (the grass is always greener …?) is greater than the attraction remaining — for the known — on the second day of the same auction.

This isn’t hard to believe. How many people shop at the same shopping mall two consecutive days in a row? How many people go to the same state park to picnic, two days in a row? How many people eat the same thing for lunch and dinner? Human nature seems to suggest once we experience something, we then look to experience something else … something different.

Of course, it isn’t that auctioneers can’t have two-day auctions, or three-day events, or other variations. Barrett-Jackson, for example, has multiple day events including several days of auctions. It appears this type of event works better to centralize focus on one car at a time, rather than sell in multiple rings concurrently. Bidders do seem to respond day after day, until the event is over. Possibly the uniqueness of the offerings, and the high imbalance between supply and demand make this type of event the exception to our general rule?

Auctioneers have also discovered that not only will bidders respond better to a one-day event, that the seller’s expenses are lessened as well. As auctions extend over multiple days, fixed expenses such as facility rental, utilities, insurance, security and the like are increased. Generally, even considering the additional staff necessary for a large one-day event, it is almost always less in expense than spreading staff over a two-day, or more, auction.

One-day events also have another benefit for auctioneers. As busy as some are, having an auction on one day allows them to service another client the next day, rather than taking a second day to service the same client.

A one-day auction appears to be a win-win-win for the client, customers and auctioneer. While the two-day auction remains an option, and a prudent one in certain circumstances, it would seem the number of two-day auctions will continue to diminish — and for good reason.

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. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.