It took me a while to realize that the auction industry is much like industry generally — in that like businesses are quite competitive, and have some enmity towards each other. The question really is, should the auction business be similar?
For instance, a while ago my local Chevrolet dealer wouldn’t send a part we needed to a competing Chevrolet dealer and told me we (they) would have to find it otherwise. In other words, as competitors, there would be no helping each other.
I’ve avoided this particular Chevrolet dealer ever since, however, I’m privy to my preferred Chevrolet dealer treating other dealers the same. I may have no choice but to work with service providers who have enmity to like service providers.
Likewise, many online auction platforms won’t allow auctioneers to place their property on their platform if that same property is on another platform. Even in the live auction business, I’m seeing more and more “if you work for them” then you can’t work for me.
It could be that the “other” platform is better in some way. It could be that this other auctioneer pays more and/or has more opportunity for growth. But, what if your platform was better, or you paid more and/or had more opportunity for growth? Maybe then auctioneers would gravitate towards you rather than elsewhere …
Auctioneers are right to be loyal — to their sellers and themselves, and necessarily not to other auctioneers or platforms instead. There’s nothing wrong with being loyal to other auctioneers or platforms, but sellers and our own livelihoods must come first.
Further, what happens when a platform prohibits me from fully serving my clients? I gravitate to other platforms. What happens when an auctioneer says I can only work for him or her? I gravitate to other auctioneers who offer me — as an independent contractor — to act as such.
Of course, employees technically must be loyal, but there’s nothing prohibiting an employee from quitting to work for someone else. As the last year or two has taught us, if you don’t treat your employees well enough, they’ll find work elsewhere.
The “market” for auctioneers, sellers, employers, employees, contractors, and the like is a marketplace. Often times the so-called “best deal” (price/terms/value) attracts auctioneers, sellers, employees, contractors, and the like. One doesn’t attract the best unless you too have the desired price/terms/value.
Similarly, if you want to work for the best auction company or online platform, you too have to raise your level of performance to deserve such. Auctioneers nor auction platforms are looking to hire others unless they add value to their organization. If you’re not quite at that level, work on that if that’s what you want.
Lastly, I wonder if auctioneers and auction platforms would attract more business and assistance if they focused on their own businesses, rather than obsessing about everyone else? In fact, I don’t really wonder about that anymore.
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 and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Western College of Auctioneering. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.