What goes into running an auction? I am so glad you asked …
Planning – Planning the date, time, and venue is a good place to start. Then gathering people and setting up committees to help organize the many things that need to be addressed helps divide the workload. By assigning groups of people to take responsibility of different aspects of the auction, you can cover more ground in a day; however, communication between committees is a vital part of your success.
Advertising – Informing the public is a must! Internet ads such as Craig’s List and posting our flyer on various Facebook pages are a good way to inform a large amount of people with little effort and zero expense. However never underestimate the impact of signs, flyers and word of mouth, which are all still very helpful.
Hall Set Up – Setting up the sound system and auctioneers stage area, registration and raffle areas, tables 1-10 for auction items and seating for buyer’s areas in advance of the auction is a vital part of a smooth operation.
Registration – Everyone that enters the auction needs to register at the front desk. This is where buyers will supply their personal information and be issued a number for credit or they are issued a card that denotes that they are paying with cash. The sellers supply their personal information and register their initials and items that are for sale.
New Members – New members are always welcomed and our auctions are a great place to meet new people and reach out to them. Information about our club and new membership forms need to be readily available at the registration table.
Raffles – Running raffles such as a Silent Auction and Fishy/Fishy helps generate more income for the club. Someone needs to solicit vendors and request donations for the Silent Auction. Then a display table needs to be set up at the auction and tickets need to be sold. For the Fishy/Fishy Raffle someone needs to walk among the buyers and sell tickets.
Kitchen – The main purpose of the having food available is to keep our buyers in house, however, it doesn’t hurt if we can make a few dollars in the process. Obtaining funds from our clubs Treasurer, shopping for supplies, set up, preparing food, serving customers and cleanup are all part of the kitchen committees duties. Member donations and help are always greatly appreciated!
Extra Sales – Sometimes we have extra items for sale such as bags for fish and t-shirts. Areas such as these are usually set up near the registration table or near the kitchen and need an attendant.
Auctioneers – Auctioneers need to be familiar with the many different types of fish and plants that cross their path as well as the pronunciation of their difficult genus and species names. They also need to speak loudly and clearly over the roar of the crowd and they need to keep their eyes peeled for the hand of the bidder’s.
Buyers/Sellers – Of course what would an auction be if there were not buyers and sellers! Buyers may pay cash or run a tab. Sellers receive a 70/30 percent split for their items.
Chit Writers – Chits are the little tickets that accompany the sale items, on them are a description of the item and the seller’s initials, these descriptions are written out by the Chit Writer. Once the item is auctioned, another Chit Writer records the buyer’s number and notes the price it sold for on the ticket, and then he hands it to the Runner. For bookkeeping purposes, it is very important that the chits be written clearly and accurately.
Runners – Runners take the item from the Chit Writer and deliver it to the buyer. The buyers are required to initial the chit if they are running a tab or pay cash to the Runner. The Runner then takes the chit/cash to the Bookkeeper.
Item Delivery Team – After table #1, items need to be brought up front to be auctioned. Some are big and some are small so it is important to deliver the goods in a sensible manner. Putting sharp rocks next to bags of fish would be un-wise, so some thought needs to be put into the transportation process.
Express Items –After table #2, items may be expressed for a fee of $2.00 each, payable to an Assigned Member. The Assigned Member takes the item and fee to the Bookkeeper, obtains an “Express” sticker, puts it on the item and then takes it to the Chit Writer for immediate sale.
Bookkeeping – The Bookkeepers enter the information from the chits into the computer, which tracks of all aspects of the sale; item number, seller, buyer, and purchase price. The accuracy of this information is only as good as the people who have handled the chit up to this point. This is a big responsibility and an all day job and it is truly amazing that all this data can be calculated and available at the time of check out.
Check Out – Buyer’s that run a tab receive a statement for the items they purchased and must pay for them prior to leaving. Sellers receive a statement of the items they sold and are paid at the time of check out or they may apply their income toward their purchases.
Break Down – The hall must be left as we found it, so all the tables and chairs need to be put back into place before the lights go out … and that’s a wrap!
Most of these jobs are not difficult to do but as you can see, there are many hands needed to keep things running smoothly. If you would like to participant and help during our next auction please let me know, I would gladly take the time to teach you how to do the job best suited to you!