“I want to be an auctioneer … how do I go about that?” is a fairly typical question.
I usually inquire about where the caller is hoping to practice as an auctioneer.
I joke with him or her that, “You’re already an auctioneer in about one-half of the United States.” “I am? Really?” is a customary response. “Isn’t there some schooling or licensing required?”
“Well yes, the other approximate one-half of the United States requires schooling, maybe an apprenticeship, bonding, fees, testing, etc.,” I inform the caller. “So it depends upon where you live or hope to do business.”
Even though about one-half of the United States requires licensure and related pre-licensure schooling (usually 10 days) and testing, quite frankly it is easy to become an auctioneer in the United States, no matter where you live.
Some states require auctioneers to have a high school diploma or GED, but for others, no formal schooling, nor auction school is necessary.
In contrast, some occupations require four, five, six, seven and more years of post-secondary education and training: Doctors, lawyers, accountants, veterinarians, nurses, professors and the like — to name a few.
So, yes, it’s easy to become an auctioneer. What’s hard is to become a competent auctioneer and make a good living at it. It’s even harder to become an excellent auctioneer and make a very good living at it; none of the latter is easy by any measure.
Anyone wanting to become a highly successful auctioneer can expect years and years of bid calling practice, 100’s of hours of continuing education, years of actual auction experience meeting with clients, signing contracts, hiring staff, setting up auctions, conducting auctions and providing good results to those clients, as well as a keen awareness and appreciation of the latest technology.
Further, highly successful auctioneers network in their state and national associations, often compete in bid calling contests and auction marketing competitions, and give back to their industry by guiding new people to enter the auction industry and helping them become highly successful auctioneers.
As well, highly successful auctioneers serve their state and the National Auctioneers Association on committees and boards, teach classes and run for other leadership positions. Often times, such roles require an auctioneer put the overall auction industry and the welfare of other auctioneer members ahead of his or her own auction career interests. These auctioneers almost always have sufficient family and other support staff vested in their business.
Just the other day, I was standing in front of our last auction school class and telling them that while graduating from auction school seemed now like their destination, it was only the beginning of the rest of their careers in the auction industry. I also told them there aren’t a bunch of people out there saying, “Oh, you have very little experience? Great, you’re hired.”
Maybe it’s worth saying again? It’s easy to become an auctioneer. What’s hard is to become a competent auctioneer and make a good living at it. It’s even harder to become an excellent auctioneer and make a very good living at it.
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.