Auctioneer licensing in declineThe number of applicants to be an auctioneer has been on the decline in the last five years, according to the Public Service Commission, and local auctioneers think it could be due to retirements and changes in farm equipment.
By: Klark Byrd, The Dickinson Press
The number of applicants to be an auctioneer has been on the decline in the last five years, according to the Public Service Commission, and local auctioneers think it could be due to retirements and changes in farm equipment.
From 2006 to 2010 the number of applications steadily went down from 422 to 385, PSC Licensing Division Director Sue Richter said.
Auctioneers must have a license issued from the PSC to cry at an auction. Individuals are required to go to an auctioneer school that meets specific criteria set by the Commission and auctioneers must post a $5,000 surety bond.
Dickinson-based auctioneer Ed Praus said that the schooling and application process most likely would not deter people from getting into the field. He has worked as an auctioneer for 35 years and suspects that new auctioneers have had difficulty making sales.
“If they aren’t making a profit, they are probably just letting their license expire,” he said.
Licenses must be renewed annually.
Auctioneers work on commission and 81-year-old retired crier Elmer Zimmermann said he has noticed some new auctioneers that try to cut commission prices to get jobs.
He said most items pay about 6 percent, but some novice auctioneers try to bring it down to 3 or 4 percent.
“That doesn’t work,” Zimmermann said. “You are just cutting your own throat.”
Zimmermann and Praus said that changes in agriculture have taken away equipment sales, which are big price items at auctions.
Leona Praus, who works with Ed, said that advertising and the internet have changed the auction process.
“You really have to keep up with the new technologies,” she said.
Gordon Krance, an auctioneer from South Heart, said that online auctions may force some auctioneers to get out of the business.
“With the online auctions, some guys are in the business and they don’t keep up on a website or modern technology,” he said. “They are just getting out of it instead of spending the money to get involved with that.”