Open Buckle Auction Service
There is no substitute for experience!



Rohn & John Nelson - Auctioneers

Tips For Selecting a Benefit Auctioneer:

When selecting an auctioneer for you banquet or event, please keep in mind that there is a significant difference between the sales of items at a “commercial” auction and the sale of items at a “benefit” auction.

At A Commercial Auction, the auctioneer is attempting to liquidate the items for as much as he can, as fast as he can. These auctioneers are usually working on a commission of the total gross sales. To do this, his style will in most cases, be to start high, then cut the bid until he gets an opening bid. By starting at or near the “fair market value” (FMV) of an item, and then cutting down to get a bid, he has in most cases assured that the item won’t sell for over value. That is because the audience has already seen and indicated that there is no interest in the item at the FMV. This saves time and moves the merchandise very quickly. Some auctioneers will sell and item every 3 breaths.

At A Benefit Auction, the auctioneer is not liquidating the items, but instead is attempting to maximize the value of the items. To do this, it is important that the “ceiling” of the bid NOT be tipped off with the opening bid request. Therefore, the auctioneer should start lower to assure getting an opening bid every time, then ramp up from there to get to, then through the FMV in 7-10 step increments. Most benefit auctioneers will try to start at 1/3 or 1/2 of the estimated fair market value. In this way, many of the items will sell above the fair market value.

In addition, there are several techniques used by auctioneers, which are used in benefit auctions, but are not often used in commercial auctions. For example, when and if the auctioneer will cut his bid in half, his choice of bid increments, and whether or not he indicates his intent to say “sold”.

With this in mind, here are some clues to look for in interviewing your auctioneer. Remember, you may have a good commercial auctioneer who is also an excellent benefit auctioneer. He will know to use different techniques on the benefit auction. Being a good commercial auctioneer is not incompatible with being a good benefit auctioneer. However, being a good commercial auctioneer is not a guarantee that he will also be the right person for your benefit.

Some times the most expensive auctioneer you can get is the one that offers his services for free. Occasionally these auctioneers are new to benefit auctions, trying to get auctioneering experience, or may conduct auction sales on a relatively rare occasion. It is good advise to employ an experienced auctioneer, with good references or recommendations, and a genuine interest in your organization. One way to insure this is to ask him to show you his Auctioneers License and Business License.

All of us at Open Buckle Auction Service, would like to wish you the greatest of success at your auction.


John & Rohn Nelson

Click here for Benefit Auction game and raffle ideas