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auctioncrowdedIn the live auction business, do auctioneers attend other auctioneers’ auctions?

They sure do.

I have traveled all over the United States as an auctioneer, and seen all of the below motivations to attend both our auctions and other auctions:

    1. To assess prices and/or demand for the property offered.
    2. To see how this other auctioneer operates.
    3. To bid and buy like anyone else at the auction.
    4. To offer the auction’s auctioneer help if needed.
    5. To talk with the other attendees or staff at the auction.
    6. To be available for questions about his services or his upcoming auctions.
    7. To actively solicit other bidders to hire him and/or attend his auctions.

It would seem to most auctioneers that:

    • Reasons #1, #2, #3 and #4 are certainly acceptable.
    • Reason #5 may or may not be acceptable.
    • Reasons #6 and #7 are generally very inappropriate.

Let’s take a closer look at reasons #6 and #7:

If an auctioneer is attending another auctioneer’s auction to either “be available for questions …” or “actively solicit business,” then without the express permission of the auction’s auctioneer, this is aberrant behavior.

For that matter, any material distraction from the auction at hand — and the property contained within — is detrimental to the seller’s position. It would be a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the auction’s auctioneer to not put a stop to any actions causing injury to his client’s position.

But, does this type of conduct take place? All the time, unfortunately. Here’s some samples I’ve seen or overheard myself:

    • An auctioneer interrupting the auction’s auctioneer’s opening announcements to announce to the crowd about his upcoming auction
    • An auctioneer passing out business cards and/or fliers about his upcoming auctions
    • An auctioneer telling bidders to “not buy that here” as he has one coming up at his auction
    • An auctioneer openly discussing his upcoming auctions, and thus distracting bidders from the property at hand
    • An auctioneer placing fliers on cars and trucks in the parking area, or parking his own lettered-vehicle nearby for viewing
    • An auctioneer wearing promotional clothing, hat or other apparel to advertise his auction or his auction services

The clear common concept here is his actions are all about his auction, his property, his company … and putting that in conflict with the auction’s auctioneer’s/seller’s auction, property and company.

Certainly there are instances where an auctioneer will introduce another auctioneer in attendance, and invite him to announce about his upcoming auctions — or even ask him to bid call some. However, without this express invitation, such should be absolutely avoided.

For auctioneers attending other auctioneers’ auctions — it is essential to remember who’s auction that is — and who’s auction it is not.

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 serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.