Auctioneers often work as consultants on a freelance basis. They may be hired by private individuals or large companies anywhere that goods are offered for sale to the highest bidder. Others may work for private auction houses, which usually are located in large metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, as well as smaller cities. Those who wish to focus on specific areas such as real estate, art, or farm equipment should, of course, seek consulting assignments or permanent positions in locations and/or with companies where these items are sold; for example, farm equipment generally is auctioned in rural areas.
Beginning auctioneers may work as assistants, handling money and receipts or presenting the sale items to the experienced auctioneer. They also may begin by working at local and county fairs or smaller auctions.
Professional trade schools may offer placement services or internships that link beginners with established practitioners. Beginners may have to work part time until they gain experience and become better known. Auctioneers who work for large auction houses may receive more assignments as they become more experienced and complete training offered by the firm.
Professional auctioneers must have a reputation for skilled and honest performance. Since most auctioneers get paid by commission, they may decide to specialize in selling real estate, farm equipment, or artwork—areas that are likely to bring in more revenue for less preparation and shorter presentations.
Auctioneers who work with auction houses may move up the ranks and obtain more prestigious assignments. Others might start their own auction businesses. Auctioneers also advance as they develop their knowledge in specialized areas. Some move into different lines of work but keep auctioning as a side job.
Tips for Entry
Join the National Auctioneers Association (NAA) to access training and networking resources, certification, mentoring and networking opportunities, and industry publications such as Auctioneer.
Conduct information interviews with auctioneers and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field. The NAA offers an auctioneer search feature (How to Find Your NAA Pro) at its Web site, https://www.auctioneers.org. This is a good place to start looking for potential interviewees.
Land an entry-level job as an auctioneer assistant to learn about the field and make valuable industry contacts.