Sale by auction is used in various situations to get the best market price for sale items. The auctioneering companies earns money by taking a commission from the buyer and or seller.

The job of an auctioneer is to ensure that each item sells for the best price, both through the auction process on the day, and through organising and publicising the sale in advance.

Goods commonly sold by auction include:

  • Property and equipment
  • Moveable items, such as antiques, carpets, jewellery, fine art, cars and farm machinery.
  • Agricultural livestock, such as sheep, pigs and cattle.
  • Estates, such as buildings or land.

Most auctioneers specialise in one of these areas, but general duties tend to include:

  • Inspecting each item and assessing its value.
  • Reaching agreement with the seller on a reserve price (the lowest price the seller will accept).
  • Producing publicity material and catalogues and distributing them to interested parties.
  • In the case of land or buildings, writing a detailed description of the property.
  • Describing each item to the customers from the rostrum at the auction.
  • Closely observing all the customers and calling out their bids.
  • Accepting bids from the Internet and the telephone and by proxy.
  • Deciding when to call a halt to the sale and move on to the next item, taking into account both the need to reach the best price and the need to keep scheduling with the sale.
  • Organising transport and security for goods and property.
  • Valuing items which are not up for sale for insurance or inventory purposes such as probate.
  • Researching current average prices and valuations to keep up to date.

During the actual sale of items everything happens very quickly. Mistakes can be costly, so there can be a lot of stress attached to the job.

Auctioneers work with porters or salesroom assistants, who carry and display the goods for auction, and may consult experts to value specialist items.

Auctioneering firms usually operate from Monday to Saturday. Some sales and property viewings happen in the evenings or at weekends. Auctioneers may occasionally work late in the run-up to a big auction.

Most auctioneers divide their time between an office property inspections and salesrooms.

Some auctions take place on the seller’s premises – for example, if a large house is being cleared or a farm closed down. Agricultural sales of livestock or equipment take place outdoors, in all weathers or often at a market.

Auctioneers may need to travel to a variety of auction venues, and to carry out research and valuations, possibly abroad.

Starting salaries may be around £20,000 a year.

With the rise of internet auction sites or ‘marketplaces’, this is improving auctioneering as a popular choice and employment opportunities are currently stable. The Top Employers include major London auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s, Allsop Clive Emson.

Just over 25 per cent of auctioneers are self-employed.

It may be possible to make a direct approach for employment to a firm of auctioneers including us at NALC. It is our intention to retain all of our best trainees.

Training is mainly on the job, working with our experienced auctioneers before taking on the responsibility of running a sale. Trainees are expected to undertake personal study to gain knowledge of the particular commodities that their auction house specialises in. Once in employment, it is possible to work towards RICS or Property Mark membership. The routes to membership were revised in September 2005 and now give credit for both experience and paper qualifications. See the RICS’ website for more details.

An auctioneer should have:

  • A strong, clear voice.
  • An outgoing, confident manner.
  • The ability to work well under pressure.
  • Good observational skills, both for close detail and to conduct the auction.
  • Good hearing and quick reactions.
  • Knowledge of the value of goods.
  • Good business sense and shrewd judgement.
  • An aptitude for finance.
  • Knowledge of laws relating to the sale of goods.

The entry requirements to become an auctioneer vary, but employers typically look for outgoing people with good communication and numerical skills, and the ability to work well with others.

Part-time courses for professional qualifications are available, and entrants are likely to need good GCSE’s/S grades (A-C/1-3). It may also be possible to enter as a salesroom assistant and work up to the position of auctioneer.

To enter a major auction house, a degree may be required, followed by professional qualifications. This is where NALC can get you started and help you on the road to what we believe is the perfect Job.

There are degree courses in fine arts valuation at De Montfort University and at Southampton Solent University However the best and most relevant degrees are based at Nottingham Trent University, or the college of estate management in Reading. Online and distance learning courses are a really good way to gain a qualification while continuing to work each day. Again, NALC can help.

There is also a new postgraduate degree course in arts market appraisal (professional practice) at Kingston University. These courses are accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Other relevant RICS courses include property valuation and management studies.

Some of the large London auction houses, such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s, run graduate entry schemes. These range from unpaid work experience opportunities to various kinds of internships.

Auctioneers can gain promotion by developing their contacts and moving to larger and more prestigious auction houses. They could also move into management, partnerships or self-employment. Some UK auction houses have salerooms overseas, so it may be possible to work abroad.

AT NALC Learning centre you can choose any level of training to best suit you and your lifestyle.

Course A

Five nights (5 – 10 hours) Introduction to auctioneering course. Were all the possible requirements of the job will be talked though in our lecture room and your training begins if you wish.        £250.00 for the week.

Course B

Three months intensive auctioneering course. You will be provided with one day per week on the job training and full study material. And guidance from some of the leading auctioneers in the UK. £1200.00 Plus vat

Course C

Our six month course includes all of the above. Plus, work experience on as many days as you wish and guidance and enrolment on to your first auctioneering qualification. £3000.00 Plus Vat

Course D

1 year of on the Job training at NALC. All of the above is included Plus our assurance we will guide you all the way to your qualification and letters behind your name.  £4000.00 Plus VAT

Please email for further information.

Important notices pre-registration Please note that charges and fees additional to the sale price might be payable by the successful buyer in respect of the lot please read the information contained below and check the special conditions of sale plus the particulars of sale and any addendum for the lot before deciding whether or not to bid. Pre-registration approval to bid All bidders who wish to bid need to register beforehand all checks required by current money laundering regulations must be satisfactorily completed as part of the process prior to NALC Auctions approving you to bid at our Auctions please use the links upon our website in order to fill in your pre-registration forms (hyperlink). Guide prices
  1. Where a guide price or range of prices is given that guide price is the minimum price at which or range of prices within which the seller might be prepared to sell at on the date on which the guide price is published upon this website. The guide price will normally be at or above the reserve price. The guide price may be subject to change at any time up to and including the day of the auction the latest publish guide price or range of prices is displayed on our website and you are advised to check the website regularly for any updates alternatively you can of course call the office and speak to a member of our team on 01636 558200 for an update on the status of any particular property which you may be interested in.
  2. All guide prices are always quoted subject to the auction contract.
  3. Please note the guide price in the lot does not include any buyers fee charged by the auctioneers and the VAT on the sale price, any stamp duty land tax or any other taxes or additional fees which may be payable
  4. Additional costs and fees charged by the seller or third parties that might apply to some lots and also some buyers’ fees are not included within the guide price.
  5. if a guide price is listed to be advised that’s TBA it means no guide price has yet been set, should you be interested in this particular property please do not hesitate to call the office on 01636 558200 and the members of staff in the office will endeavor to give you the most up-to-date information.
Reserve prices 6.The reserve price is the minimum price at which the vendor is prepared to sell the lot. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the advertised guide prices are up to date it is possible that the reserve price set for any lot may exceed the previously quoted guide price this is because our sellers do not fix their final reserve until just before the lot is offered for sale at the auction itself. Buyers and sellers’ fees and additional charges
  1. For each lot a buyer’s fee is payable on the fall of the Hammer.
  2. NALC Auctions Ltd charge the following amounts for a residential auction. All lots £650 plus the VAT
  3. For our chattels and machinery and equipment auctions a minimum of 10% buyer’s premium on the hammer price will be charged.
  4. Sellers fees and additional charges might be charged by the seller and all other parties. You are strongly advised to read the special conditions of sale for the lot prior to bidding and check any additional charges and fees and to check the addendum. The addendum may but does not always contain details of any such amounts.
  5. Some lots (commercial property) VAT may be chargeable in addition to the sale price of the lot. The lot particulars and all the special conditions will explain whether VAT is chargeable or not.
  6. Other matters. Please note that lots may be sold or withdrawn at any time prior to the auction.
  7. Please note that the amount of security (deposit payable) per lot is variable and must be agreed with the auction department prior to bidding please refer to the addendum and the particulars and conditions of sale which will normally state the guide price and required deposit or bigger security deposit. The required deposit will normally be 10% plus any buyer’s premium
  8. Plans are reproduced with the consent of promap and ordnance Survey and are licensed by HM stationery office
  9. Plans and photographs shown in the catalogue and on this website are included in order to assist you in locating the lot in question. They are not necessarily drawn to scale and any arrows on plans or photographs are merely there to assist you in finding the lot itself and not for the purposes of indicating the legal boundary; especially when referring to Land Registry plans.
In this regard the auctioneers cannot guarantee that any plans or photographs showing up-to-date position with regard to boundaries or occupiers either of the lot or for the property shown in such plans or photographs.