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Let’s say I’m an auctioneer and I specialize in real estate, livestock, antiques & collectibles, intellectual property, firearms, cars, benefit auctions …

Specializing by definition means: (1) concentrate on and become expert in a particular subject or skill. (2) confine oneself to providing a particular product or service. (3) make a habit of engaging in a particular activity.

I’m by no means calling out any auctioneer, but if you “specialize” in seven, nine, twelve different different types of auctions, are you specializing in any? Maybe, rather, you are specializing in being an auctioneer?

I’ve told countless people over the years that, “I’m an auctioneer” and that if you need a tooth filled, surgery, your lawnmower blade sharpened … “I’m probably not your guy.” However, our company does conduct auction events inclusive of cars, antiques, collectibles, firearms, real property, benefit auctions and special events.

Is there any danger here? Maybe; we would propose that, for example, someone looking for a benefit auctioneer is more likely to hire some specializing in benefit auctions over someone who specializes in benefits, cars, livestock …

Could we see this same effect by listing a bunch of auction categories even without the word specializing? I think maybe so. Imagine an attorney advertising she does probate, domestic, bankruptcies, trial work, criminal, patent/trademark …

Further, everyone generally prefers to hire specialists. You need brain surgery? You need your basement repaired? You need an expert witness? In these cases as in countless other instances, a specialist is typically preferred and sought after.

My personal opinion? It’s fine to do a wide variety of types of auctions, but in such cases, the word “specializing” (or the like) is probably not an accurate statement.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, 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, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Texas Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by the The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.