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Auctioneers: always written contracts
by Mike Brandly, The Ohio Auction School

Mike Brandly PhotoThis is a blog I thought I never would have to write.

That’s because I thought every auctioneer knew this, and such writing would be largely uninteresting; however, I have been convinced of the contrary.

We previously wrote about the 29 things that should be in a contract between an auctioneer and seller (known also as owner or consignee) here:

In that “29 things” blog, I noted at the bottom of that treatise:

“It’s probably worth saying again … every auctioneer — with every seller — every auction — every time — and prepared by an attorney for that auctioneer to use.”

In other words, don’t work as an auctioneer (hired by a seller nor another auctioneer) unless you have a written contract in place outlining your agreement. Further, some states mandate that such a contract is in place citing penalties for noncompliance.

Why enter into a written contract if your jurisdiction doesn’t mandate one? Because without it, misunderstandings occur — for instance, you think you’re being paid $1,000 for your contract auctioneer services, and yet at the end of the night, you get a check for $500.

And why is it prudent to not enter into a written contract every time? There are really no reasons … if you’re working as an auctioneer hired by someone else and don’t have a meeting of the minds about that work, what’s that reason?

Some states not only mandate a written contract, but also certain contract components are required — such as date of auction, location of auction, all fees, type of auction, etc. In jurisdictions without such requirements contracts aren’t hard to find; an attorney can prepare, or an online search can produce a reasonable sample to use/modify.

Using a written contract? Good; make sure it’s compliant and up-to-date. Not using a written contract? You’ve got something to get resolved today.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: He is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.