Auctioneers sell goods and fixed property by auction to the highest bidders and receive a salary or commission for their work. The selling of goods by auction is a career that has been practised by both men and women for years. The auctioneer acts as go-between for the seller and the buyer.
Almost anything can be sold by auction such as fixed property, cattle, furniture, antiques, books, documents, works of art and all forms of transport such as cars. The goods are usually from deceased estates, bankrupt properties or liquidated companies.
The auctioneer undertakes to sell an owner's articles to the purchaser who makes the highest financial bid. The articles are numbered and put on display before the auction. Pamphlets with more information on the articles to be sold are sometimes available to all potential buyers.
Potential buyers register before the auction. The auctioneer introduces and describes all the items or goods, appraises the goods and assembles items either in lots or individually, depending on the value. Auctioneers attempt to obtain the highest price for the seller, while at the same time exercising care about the rights of the buyer.
A sales clerk, who is responsible for entering all sales in a sales register and receiving all cash payments made during the auction, assists the auctioneer. After the auction the sales register is balanced and the return of the sales processed for payout to the seller. After the auctioneer has recovered his commission and expenses, the seller receives his/her part of the money.
There are various fields in which you could specialize, or combinations of them, and these include: property, machinery and plant, motor vehicles, antiques and works of art, silver, household and office furniture and equipment, bloodstock, stamps, gold and silver coins, etc. If the property market is the field in which you are most interested, an examination for estate agents and valuers would need to be passed.
The hours are irregular and some sales are held outdoors while others take place indoors. During training and even afterwards, you might find yourself selling pigs or horses and having to stand for hours in a muddy environment or you could be selling antiques to wealthy clients in elegant surroundings.
- working with people
- being able to work with items in your area of interest
- daily challenges of the work, including interesting research in some cases
- feelings of personal achievement after a good
- long working hours
- the work can be physically and mentally taxing
- adverse moods of the buying public
- travelling extensively in some cases
An auctioneer should:
- have good communication skills
- have a well-modulated voice and be able to speak clearly and rapidly
- be efficient in drawing up good selling advertisements
- be able to describe the items very well
- have good relations with the public
- be friendly, extrovert, patient and diplomatic
- have retentive memory
- have language fluency in two or more official languages
- be familiar with current prices and values of property
- have excellent physical health, eyesight and mobility
- have staying power and resourceful
- have inquiring mind and a strong personality
- be reliable, honest, trustworthy and responsible
- have the ability to work hard
- have self-motivation and initiative
National Senior Certificate.
Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: African Languages, English, Accounting
A prospective auctioneer undergoes intensive in-service training as an auction clerk and general assistant at an auction company registered with the South African Institute of Auctioneers. School-leavers start as an auction clerk and then advance to auction assistant. They then act as a sales clerk becoming acquainted with the legal aspects of selling and buying. Training takes four to five years and is predominantly practical.
- Auctioneers generally act as agents for private sellers
- Charitable organisations
- Auction houses
- Livestock markets
- Self-employment in own auctioneering business
South African Institute of Auctioneers
P O Box 51
Tel: 082 555-3458 Fax: 086 505 7497