Auctioneers value items, including antiques, paintings, cars, property and livestock, and then sell them in a public space. The people in the audience offer ever-increasing prices and the auctioneer sells the item to the person offering the highest price.
You are likely to specialise in one particular area, broadly categorised as; moveable items, such as antiques, cars and machinery; livestock; property and land.
You could be:
examining each item and judging its value
agreeing a price which will profit both the seller and the auction house
producing and distributing brochures describing items, particularly for a big specialist sale
booking a venue and arranging advertising for the sale
organising insurance and transport for goods
presenting and describing each item in turn to the audience
watching the audience, calling out their bids and taking bids on the phone and internet
ending the sale when the highest offer is accepted
working out commission earned on sold items and completing paperwork.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Salaries might start at around £20,000 a year for new entrants, rising to £24,000 or more. Senior managers can earn up to £50,000, sometimes more. Self-employed auctioneers depend on commission for their income.
You will work in an office and in salerooms, but may travel about visiting clients and sites.
If you are selling farm goods you may work outdoors in all weathers.
You will sometimes work in the evening and at weekends.
You can get in by various ways and entry is very competitive.
Knowledge of, experience in and contacts within the specialist field are more important than paper qualifications.
You usually need a degree (SCQF Level 9-10) relevant to your area of expertise to work in a major auction house, such as fine art or property management.
You could start as an assistant in an auction house, getting experience and on the job training — you do not usually need qualifications.
After your degree you may get onto a graduate training scheme such as those run by Christie's or Sotheby's.
Livestock auctioneers generally come from an agricultural background.