Auctioneers are not all the same. Just as Doctors and Lawyers have different levels of experience and different areas of specialty, so do Auctioneers. Some Auctioneers have considerable experience, while others are fresh out of Auction School. Most Auctioneers are generalists; others are experts or specialists in a particular area. Some Auctioneers have an excellent reputation and a strong following of loyal customers, others are struggling to stay in business. Most Auctioneers are honest, some are not.
And if you select the wrong Auctioneer to handle your consignment, your decision could cost you dearly.
That's where an "Auction Broker" comes in. The difference between an "Insurance Agent" and an "Insurance Broker" is that the Insurance "Agent" represents one and only one company, whereas the Insurance "Broker" represents several companies, and is able to shop your business around with several companies in order to locate the best company, and to obtain the best rate, for your particular needs.
The same is true of an "Auction Broker". Whereas an "Auctioneer" represents one and only one Auction Company (their own), an "Auction Broker" represents several different Auction Companies and can steer your consignment to the Auction Company best suited to handle what you have to sell. This is extremely important because the key to getting the most amount of money for what you are selling at Auction is to locate the best Auctioneer for what you have. And the Auction Broker is often the best person to help you accomplish that.
Most Auction transactions involve signing a contract with the Auctioneer. That contract will specify important points such as the commission and fees involved, when you will get paid, standard terms and conditions of sale, etc.
All Auctioneers are going to charge you a "Commission". That commission will normally be a percentage of what they sell for you. For example, if your consignment sells for $10,000, and your flat rate commission is 20%, you will receive $8,000, while the Auctioneer keeps $2,000 to cover his/her staffing, advertising, administrative, and other expenses...and hopefully their profit.
If you are unable to deliver your merchandise to the Auctioneer, most will charge you to pack it and transport it to Auction. And occasionally other fees such as photography fees, listing fees, Internet fees, and other charges may apply.
In exchange for these fees you are, in effect, "renting" the following from the Auctioneer:
• The Auctioneer's Name and Reputation.
• The Auctioneer's Place of Business.
• The Auctioneer's Years of Experience.
• The Auctioneer's Expertise in the commodities you are selling.
• The Auctioneer's Marketing and Promotional Ability.
• The Auctioneer's Mailing List and Contacts.
• The Auctioneer's Knowledge of Potential Buyers for what you are selling.
So the key to getting the most amount of money when selling at Auction is to locate the best Auctioneer for what you have to sell. As an extreme example, you wouldn't want to sell your Tools through a Doll Auctioneer, because there would be few, if any, Tool buyers attending a Doll Auction. And you wouldn't want to sell your Doll Collection at a Tool Auction for the same reason.
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