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Many auctioneers believe membership in auctioneer associations (state and national) is not beneficial and the costs far exceed the benefit received. In other words, they view the merits of maintaining a membership on a more-or-less cost/benefit basis.

Others say that all the presenters talk about is their successful auctions and others claim that the association only promotes the big auction companies. I’ve even heard people say that they get all their education on Facebook (yes, Facebook …?!) or other online social platforms … and so membership has no value to them.

Further, many point out that the public doesn’t care if an auctioneer is a member of any association and some suggest that nobody notices an auctioneer has any designation after his name — which I tend to agree. In other words, most who are not members cite that there aren’t enough reasons to join. As well, it’s important to note here that most auctioneers in the United States are not members of any auctioneer association.

We wrote in 2013 suggesting that it’s not about what the association can do for you and rather what you can do for the association — the industry. That article is here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/auctioneers-ask-not-what-your-association-can-do-for-you/.

Do state and national auctioneer associations have room to improve? They do, and it’s the members’, officers’, directors’ and others’ job to make those groups better. I can report with confidence that some of those folks are indeed working to make those associations/classes/conventions more beneficial than ever before for their members and the industry.

Member benefits are largely for members only so it is indeed not reasonable to expect them otherwise. We wrote about that misconception here: (https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2019/05/23/are-auctioneer-member-benefits-only-for-members/).

Associations of all types give members opportunities — to give back to the industry they are in and/or “pay it forward” by helping others entering the field. Associating with other like-minded individuals (outside of social media) is in some sense priceless for self-improvement. As well, any member has the opportunity to make the association more to their liking by serving as an officer, director or committee member.

Quite frankly, we think membership is important for any auctioneer. It’s not about showing the public you’re a member, or having letters after your name, and rather the question is: Have you taken reasonable steps to hone your skills to serve your clients in an exceptional fashion?

Can you be the best auctioneer you can be without being a member? It seems doubtful — but more importantly — it’s all that much easier by being a member and taking advantage of the numerous (tangible and intangible) association benefits. Said another way, if you think you’re a better auctioneer by avoiding state and national auctioneer associations, it would seem to us you don’t know what you don’t know. Being a member doesn’t make you a better auctioneer, but it allows you to be.

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, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s 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.