, , , , , , , , ,

See, that marketplace auction platform didn’t work. However, it is the platform or is it the auctioneer? Let’s explore. In fact, it may not be the platform at all — so here are my recommendations:

  • The lead description needs to include make, model, function, hours/miles, and condition. A John Deere 1745 Compact Planter, 300 acres of use, extra nice — and not “Planter.”
  • Follow-up details need to include serial numbers, weight, length, size, compatibility and possibly links to further manufacturer information.
  • There need to be several pictures of any major/material items — front, sides, back, top, bottom, inside, and various other angles. These pictures need to be clear of distractions and show the entire lot.
  • The auction needs to specify exactly when items can be previewed, exactly what shipping options are available, exactly where these lots are located, and exactly the checkout days and times.
  • If any items have been repaired, details of those repairs need to be noted.
  • Any items which are expected to run and/or move need to note if they run and/or move. More important items need to have a video of them running and/or moving.
  • Buyers should be provided titles for any items that should have a title.
  • Everything to be sold should provide “clear title” to the buyer of that property unless it is conspicuously noted in the lot detail.
  • Every lot should have the exact buyer’s premium — and any other charges — noted. Ideally, all items in one auction event should have the same buyer’s premium.
  • An auction should project a “prospect of a deal” to induce the maximum number of bidders to participate. Everything should sell without reserve or with a modest published acceptable minimum bid.
  • The auctioneer should stand behind any expressions (a.k.a. warranties) as well as any implications concerning the subject property. Bidders should be able to rely on any representations, pictures, descriptions, and/or announcements.

Five important points here:

  1. Some auctioneers are quick to note the marketplace platforms don’t work to substantiate their claim their non-marketplace platform is better. However, more often it’s not the platform, but the auctioneer’s use of that platform.
  2. Beginning auctioneers often make mistakes, and can learn from them. I was fortunate to work with an experienced auctioneer for 9 years before I ventured out on my own, and still make mistakes. But to suggest the platform isn’t working — in this example — is absurd.
  3. Any auctioneer just starting out should be applauded if he or she reaches out for advice, and looks for ways to be better at this craft. Further, every auctioneer should endeavor to continually educate themselves as we noted: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2023/05/15/auctioneers-i-shouldnt-be-required-to-take-ce/.
  4. Auctioneers should be familiar with the inability to disclaim expressed warranties, and the limitations in disclaiming implied warranties: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2023/05/22/probably-unenforceable-auction-terms/.
  5. All auctioneers need to understand the various laws and rules which affect the auction industry. Further, this education needs to take place prior to engaging in any type of material auction of other people’s property. If you don’t have this education, maybe partner with someone who is familiar until you have enough experience to work on your own.

Marketplace platforms work great when auctioneers know how to use them properly. In fact, non-marketplace platforms work great when auctioneers know how to use them and know how to sufficiently market their auction otherwise. Otherwise no platform (or auction) works.

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, Brandly Real Estate & Auction, 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 has served as faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.