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We continue here with a 4-part series covering the recently released “Auction Industry 2010” research project conducted by the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University. This study was conducted by Dr. Forrest S. Carter, Associate Professor of Marketing and student researchers Marina Batchelor (lead), Kijun Yang, Sarah Andersen and Zoe Cai.

The study is broken into 3 basic parts, with a preface. I will also comment on some of the statistics presented.

Part I of the study concerned the auctioneer. A total of 1,972 respondents contributed to these statistics.

First, the typical auctioneer was profiled as such:

  • A male
  • 51 to 65 years of age
  • Possesses a high school diploma or GED
  • Works full time in the business
  • Has been in business 21+ years
  • Was drawn to the profession by experience attending auctions, or transitioned from a career in real estate or some other career which used auctions
  • He most enjoys his independence and his ability to help people
  • He is most likely in the Midwest or southern United States

Some other statistics:

Auctioneer’s Gender

Male 90%
Female 10%

Auctioneer’s Age

18-24 1%
25-35 9%
36-50 30%
51-65 46%
66 and over 14%

Auctioneer’s Education

High School/GED 35%
Tech/Trade School 18%
Undergraduate Degree 33%
Post Grad Degree 14%

Extent of Auction Activities

Full-time 56%
Part-time 44%

Years in the Auction Business

0-2 8%
3-5 11%
6-10 15%
11-15 13%
16-20 11%
21+ 42%

Influences on Becoming an Auctioneer

Family Business 25%
Referral from someone in business 12%
Career counseling, school or career programs 1%
Experience attending auctions 54%
Other 8%

Other Influences on Becoming an Auctioneer

Don’t know/No Reason 2.5%
Charity events 1.3%
Evolved from eBay 1.3%
Real Estate, Appraiser, Sponsored by company 36.1%
Desire to help people, Always wanted 40.5%
Serendipity / Desperation 18.4%

Aspects of Auctioneering Most Liked

Money 9%
Independence 23%
Travel 4%
Meet new people 18%
Job security 3%
Help people 21%
Passion for products I sell 10%
Working with family 9%
Other 3%

Other Aspects of Auctioneering Liked

Improve Image / Professional 7.9%
All of the reasons listed 10.9%
Life Style 8.9%
Exciting / Always something new 55.4%
Unique / Personally rewarding 6.9%
Economic conditions / Opportunities 6.9%
Not sure 3.0%

Professional Associations

None 11%
Local Chamber of Commerce 11%
Association of Fundraising Professionals 0%
American Bankruptcy Institute 2%
National Association of Realtors 11%
International Society of Appraisers 1%
American Society of Appraisers 2%
National Auctioneers Association 24%
A State Auctioneer Association 33%
Other 6%

Other Professional Associations

General Business / Professional 32%
Other Auction-Related 18%
Livestock / Agricultural 2%
Toastmasters 2%
Civic Organizations 10%
Antiques / Specialty Collectibles 5%
Other Appraiser Organizations 31%

National & State Association Membership

Members of NAA and a State Association 40%
Member of NAA and not a State Association 6%
Member of neither a State Association nor NAA 31%
Member of State Association and not NAA 22%

Location of Auction Business

New England 4%
East 13%
Midwest 35%
South 26%
Central 6%
Southwest 9%
West 5%
Outside U.S. 2%

I should note here that we did our own study with very similar results: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/where-are-the-auctions/

Gross Commissions over $1 Million:

  • Male (91%)
  • 51-65 (42%)
  • College Degree (36%)
  • Full Time (93%)
  • 21+ Years in business (53%)
  • Influenced through Family Business (41%)
  • 75% belong to NAA and 66% belong to NAA and a State Association
  • Like Independence (22%)
  • Resides in Midwest or South (53%)

Gross Commissions less than $50,000:

  • Male (89%)
  • 51-65 (48%)
  • High School Graduate (33%)
  • Part Time (81%)
  • 21+ Years in business (32%)
  • Influenced by Experience Attending Auctions
  • 29% belong to NAA and 24% belong to NAA and a State Association
  • Like Ability to Help People Most (24%)
  • Resides in Midwest or South (63%)

Some have possibly incorrectly concluded that “if someone belongs to NAA, they will make more money” as the statistics suggest 75% of those making over $1 Million are members, while only 29% of those making less than $50,000 are members. It could just as well be that those who make more money tend to join NAA, and those who make less tend to not join. This study didn’t explore if membership in NAA predated making over $1 Million, for example.

We will continue with two more articles, Parts II and III of the overall study, namely: about the auction business and about auctioneering.

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.