Auctioneer jobs(Also known as )
An auctioneer is a professional who values and sells goods and services at auction, that is, an open bid environment. An auctioneer is a reputable, professional position that has existed in one form or another for hundreds of years. Auctions, that is, a collection of people who can openly bid on something, have been held as the best way of selling a whole number of things, but in particular property and fine art or antique pieces. This is because it fosters an open feel to negotiations and, on the part of those who are selling, means you might get a bit more money than you were bargaining for as people vie for the lot. Although most people’s view of auctioneers focuses on them standing at their lectern at the front, banging the hammer and declaring the classic “Going, going, gone”, there is a lot more to the job. There is a lot of behind the scenes work, such as valuing and allotting prices for pieces as well as arranging reserves and filling out paperwork so that the auction house gains their commission. The work environment for an auctioneer tends to be predominantly indoors at the auction house, as people tend to come to them with their pieces for sale and they examine them there. The auction room is the other main place of work and that too tends to be indoors, although at some property auctions the proceedings might be held outside, weather permitting. There is, however, some scope for travelling out of the office, visiting clients to value their goods, for example. There are a few differing routes into auctioneering. A good start is to gain work experience at an Auction House, doing any sort of work just to get your foot in the door, as it were. A lot of people tend to specialise too, becoming trained valuers before or as part of their training, which of course helps build up a knowledge of the type of products they will have to auction. Auction houses tend to do business over all seven days, though most heavily during the working week, so that people working in the local area can attend in the hope of bagging themselves some bargain antiques or property. Scheduled auctions normally take place during normal working hours, and an auctioneer will fill the rest of his or her time valuing and marking the lots and dealing with the paperwork relating to the auction house itself gaining its commission. Finally, although seen by many as a patrician type of industry women are more than encouraged to become auctioneers, and many can be found doing just this type of work everywhere from the smaller outlets to the big names such as Sotheby’s.
SalaryWhen in training, for example as an apprentice, salaries will usually start around the £16,000 per annum mark, though with experience and specialism this rises to £22-£30,000. There is no upper limit on an auctioneer’s salary, and big names carrying out big sales can earn very good money. There is also the opportunity for auctioneers to take a commission from whatever they sell, which also swells their pay. Of course, a lot of this is dependent on location and experience, as with any job.
ResponsibilitiesBelow is a list, not necessarily exhaustive, of the type of things you would expect to do as an auctioneer –
- Meeting with those who wish to sell items to set reserves etc
- Valuing and marking up the lots, to ensure a fair price is agreed and to make sure that the auction house is selling things that are worth their time.
- Organising clerks, microphones and setting up anything else that is needed in the auction room for the sale to go smoothly.
- Managing and carrying out the auction, explaining the lots and then taking bids, awarding the winner once one makes him or herself known.
- Calculating the commission on pieces sold and filling out paperwork to this end
- Helping prepare the brochures and/or catalogues and assisting with marketing and publicity for auctions
- In a general sense it pays to keep up to speed with your area of specialism, be it antique china or cottages. This might include checking new legislation. Put simply, it is vital to stay well informed.
QualificationsAs mentioned above, there are a few different ways in to auctioneering, one of which involves an academic route. Specialist qualifications can be gained at a university or on part-time or distance learning courses offered by both the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or the National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers, which can qualify you to do auctioneering work.
SkillsThese are some of the aptitudes you will need to display or develop in order to be successful as an auctioneer –
- Strong, confident speaking voice
- Self-confidence and certitude
- A passion for sales
- Commercial awareness
- A deep interest in the area in which you are selling, e.g. antiques
- Excellent communication skills
- Attention to detail