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Call for a bid

The word auctioneer, for many people, conjures an image of a fast-talking pitch man, holding a gavel who can entice you into bidding on a glass of ice water in the dead of winter.

education Updated: Nov 20, 2012 17:23 IST

The lowdown

The word auctioneer, for many people, conjures an image of a fast-talking pitch man, holding a gavel who can entice you into bidding on a glass of ice water in the dead of winter. While bid-calling is the most crucial part of an auctioneer’s job, it is only a minor aspect of what he or she does. An auctioneer play several roles – such as that of an office manager, public relations manager, accountant, and coordinator, to name a few. Though auctioneering looks like a lucrative profession, success in this industry is not a sure thing. A combination of training, skills and determination can be helpful

There is no fixed routine for an auctioneer every day. The working days and hours keep changing according to the auction
7am: Wake up read papers
8.30am: Head for auction house
11am: Make arrangements for auction
1.30pm: Break for lunch
2.30pm: Go over lists of items to be auctioned
6pm: Auction begins
8pm: Pack up for the day

The payoff
As an apprentice, you can earn around Rs. 30,000 per month. With experience, salaries can go up to Rs. 1 lakh. Some professional auctioneers working on invitations get around Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000 per month as sales commission. There is no upper limit on an auctioneer’s salary, and big names carrying out big sales can earn very good money

* Confidence and good communication skills
* Commercial awareness
* Considerable interest in the area in which you are selling, such as paintings and antiques
* The ability to reason and apply simple numerical concepts
* Good knowledge of the market, likely buyers and good advertising skills
* Attention to detail
* Good personality is an important factor

Getting there
If you want to be an auctioneer, the only thing you need is aptitude. You should be able to hold an audience, sometimes for long periods, and develop an atmosphere that is conducive to the buyers wanting to buy and come back another day.

There are no formal qualifications for becoming an auctioneer and requirements vary from employer to employer. Big auction houses usually look for graduate students with a degree in fine arts, but most of the learning is done while training

Institutes and URLs
There are no institutes that award diplomas or degrees for auctioneering. In India, however, some museums offer training programmes, short-term courses and internships on cultural heritage. For those interested, an art and antique auctioneer, a bachelor’s or masters degree in visual arts is sufficient

Pros and cons
* Job can be daunting, particularly when there are no bids
* For those who have just started out as auctioneers, charity and fundraising auctions are a good way to get some experience, but salaries won’t get paid right away
* Reputation is built slowly

An auctioneer’s major responsibility is to increase revenue of the company. Proactive attitude is must -- Arun Kumar Ghosh, auctioneer, Art Auction India, Kolkata