Choosing the right auction company is critical since you want to get the most money for whatever it is that you’re selling, and you also want the auction company to help make the whole process go smoothly, without stress or problems.
Auctions can definitely help speed up a sale process. Motivated buyers utilize auctions to find things they want at a decent price. They typically offer amounts at fair market values, and sometimes, if there’s a bidding war, a seller walks away with quite a nice profit since whatever they brought to the auction was in demand.
What should a person look for when trying to choose the right auction company to handle their business?
First, it’s important that the auction company has experience. Have they been in business a long time– several years? Have they been in business in your area or are they brand new in town? What’s their local reputation like? Ideally, it’s good to work with an experienced company who knows the market well, and has employees who’ve been there for years, so they know the ins-and-outs of the auction industry and can offer sage advice. You might want to find out if the company is licensed in the state and/or has accreditation with the National Auctioneers Association.
Good auction companies are great at marketing. After all, buyers can’t buy stuff they don’t know about… so it’s imperative that an auction company gets the word out well about their auctions. This means they take out newspaper or magazine ads, utilize a website and/or social media, hang flyers up on bulletin boards around town, etc. Furthermore, they should have a mailing list (regular mail or email) of buyers whom they can share news with on a regular and consistent basis. You’d want to work with a company that communicates well with both its buyers and sellers.
Knowing the Marketplace
When looking at auction companies, think of realtors. Not only do they know their market well, but they’re connected to a lot of people. They network, and because of that, they know people who are good at things like plumbing or home inspections, etc. Well, look for auctioneers who are well-connected in the community. They should be the type of people with connections to people and organizations related to what they typically sell at auction. For instance, an auctioneer who auctions farm equipment should know lots of local farmers and be familiar with who they are, what they do, and what they own.
Next up, it’s always a good idea to read reviews and ratings. Of course you can ask around to friends and family, too, and see what they have to say about certain auction companies. Ideally, you want to get a good feel for how people view a company and whether or not they have had a good or bad experience with them in the recent past. You can talk with the Better Business Bureau and/or look at reviews/ratings online via Google, Facebook or other online platforms.
Terms and Conditions
Once you have in mind some auction companies to consider working with, then it’s time to check their policies, terms and conditions to see if they match up with what you like and/or want! How do they handle auctions? Would you feel good working with them or leery about something in particular? Do they make the process easy or hard for you?
It’s not a bad idea to ask to see a written contract or auction proposal where services are explained. It’s a good thing when details about sellers’ responsibilities as well as auctioneers’ responsibilities are written down and can be carefully reviewed so you know exactly what to expect. You should also inquire about how they run auctions and what it will end up costing you when all is said and done. Look for any potential hidden costs such as charges for set up or cleaning. Also ask if they use a “buyer’s fee.” Other things to ask about include how they’ll market/advertise the auction, do they have insurance in case something breaks, and how soon you’ll receive payment after the auction ends.
Personable and Trustworthy
Great auctioneers have empathy, market knowledge, training in what they do, compatibility with sellers, and, above all, a sterling reputation in the business. You want to work with likeable people who are consistent, act with integrity, do what they say they’ll do, make you look good, and help you profit.
Visit auction companies and get to know the people who work there. You can learn a lot from just sitting in their waiting area for a couple minutes. Do they answer the phone quickly? Are people smiling and helpful (or not)?