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I’m not convinced occupational licensing (including auctioneer licensing) has ever mattered to consumers. I think it’s always mattered to the licensees and the states or other regulatory agencies.

Stanford University economist Brad Larsen along with Ciara Farronato of Harvard, Andrey Fradkin of Boston University, and Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT studied this subject by analyzing data covering over one million (home improvement sector) service requests placed online in 2015.

This article: https://www.remodeling.hw.net/business/research-licensing-status-not-important-to-consumers_o talks about the study in more detail. In summary, the study found:

Consumers tend to heavily value prices and online reputation, but not the licensing status of professionals when they’re picking whom to hire,

We’ve been licensed as an auctioneer for nearly 40 years and I don’t recall ever being asked by a potential client if we were licensed. However, is that the entire story? Probably not. Does the public assume certain occupations including auctioneers do or don’t require licensing?

In other words, it may not matter to a potential client as he or she would assume if a license is required, you have one, and if no license is required, you don’t. Said another way, it’s not used as criteria to choose an auctioneer because it’s not largely choosable.

There are substantial efforts underway all over the United States to eliminate some — or most — occupational licensing. The major organization heading up that effort is The Institute for Justice.

Consumers are protected by auctioneer licensing in that those auctioneers must complete schooling and follow-up education, plus licensing can require bonding or provide for recovery fund coverage for clients.

In non-license jurisdictions, no mandatory schooling, continuing education nor bonding/recovery funds exist for public protection. However, that doesn’t mean those unlicensed auctioneers are uneducated.

Many auctioneers (but not all) throughout the United States — licensed or not — participate in educational events put on by state auctioneer associations and/or the National Auctioneers Association or receive education otherwise.

However, auctioneer licensing (and related mandatory education) can be overburdensome. Some license agencies are far more concerned with protecting their jobs than protecting the public and some licensing does little other than creating a barrier to new auctioneers desiring to enter the industry.

Finally, the question remains … does auctioneer licensing matter to consumers? We think consumers largely choose auctioneers based upon other factors other than licensed or not. However, licensing (or other education) clearly makes those auctioneers better choices for consumers than auctioneers with no license and no education.

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.