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In 2013, we wrote that “Bid calling matters” suggesting that the particular live auctioneer who is taking bids can — and does — make a difference in the final bid prices.

Further, we wrote that auctioneers who are highly skilled in bid calling are paid a premium over those who are not, and that additional compensation is prudent, and can be viewed as an investment rather than a cost.

That prior writing about bid calling mattering is here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/bid-calling-matters/. Today’s story is that in 2016, a rather comprehensive study concluded our same conclusion.

A study by Nicola Lacetera (Associate Professor of Strategic Management, Department of Management, University of Toronto Mississauga Chief Scientist, BEAR Centre,) Bradley J. Larsen (Assistant Professor of Economics, Stanford University,) Devin G. Pope (Professor of Behavioral Science and Robert King Steel Faculty Fellow, University of Chicago) and Justin Sydnor (Associate Professor, Risk and Insurance, University of Wisconsin.) published the study titled “Bid Takers or Market Makers? The Effect of Auctioneers on Auction Outcome.”

Here is a link to the complete study: http://web.stanford.edu/~bjlarsen/LLPS_2016.pdf This research concluded the differences in auctioneers is “economically relevant.” We quote from the study here:

The evidence presented in this paper shows that in well functioning, high-stakes English auctions, how the auction is run can have an important impact on outcomes. Using a large dataset from the wholesale used car market, we find that auctioneers differ systematically in their ability to sell cars, as well as in the prices they get and the speed in which they do it; these differences are economically relevant.

This research suggests that some auctioneers are not merely “bid takers” and possibly “market makers,” although the making of a market may be an overstatement. With the Internet, the personal property market is essentially worldwide; however, can a better auctioneer with his or her enhanced bid calling skills increase prices over an auctioneer with less skill? There seems little doubt …

Very good bid callers often find themselves in demand all over the United States and even the world. As such, they often work as so-called “contract bid callers.” We wrote in 2014 about traits we felt were important for contract auctioneers (bid callers:) https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/the-9-important-traits-of-a-contract-bid-caller/

Relatedly, the National Auctioneers Association has a two-day designation class entitled “Contract Auction Specialist (CAS)” focusing on the skills needed to excel in this field. This class covers marketing, sales, professionalism and money management including the tax and insurance implications of working as a contract auctioneer.

I’m blessed to be a contract auctioneer, working as such since 1999. In that time, I’ve sold in 19 states, selling cars, land, equipment and a variety of upmarket personal property items. Possibly most notably we sold for a client July 31, 2012 in front of the White House in Washington D.C.

Contract bid calling (contract auctioneering) can have many benefits — compensation (money,) travel, nice hotels, meals and incidentals covered — but it’s not for everyone. However, if it interests you, the NAA’s CAS class might be a good first step in exploring this opportunity.

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, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.