Retirement…still going to do it!
In January of this year, I announced I would be retiring in June of this year…final auction June 11-14.
Another year ends, and again, it will be a year most of us will never forget. Covid-19. I really don’t have anything more to say about that. Let’s just hope for a better 2022!
Personally, one of the major events of the year, was the passing of Donnie, Sept 7. We knew for a few months it was coming, but still it was hard. You can read my tribute to Donnie here.
(love this photo of Mom and Donnie)
2021 marked our second year of online auctions, and like most auctioneers, the transition has been incredibly successful.
Often, I am asked, “are you going back to live auctions?”. I will state now, we will not be going back to live auctions.
For 24 years I did live auctions, and looking back, when we did our final live auction in March 2020, two days before the lockdown, we went out on a high note. Good crowd, good prices, and all my staff together. If I had known that was to be our final live auction, I would not have changed a thing. It was a good way to wrap up 24 years.
We did our first online auction in July 2020, working out of two storage units. By October we had moved into a large, albeit a little rough around the edges, temporary building. (a former swinger’s club, so the jokes were unending). In this larger facility, the size of the auctions doubled.
In May 2021, we moved into a 2800 square foot facility in the Bayfield Mall Barrie. Large, clean, comfortable, great workspace and display area…could not ask for anything more!
Make no mistake, online auctions are a lot of work. We average 500 lots, and the presentation of those lots, requires approx. 3500 photos. I would estimate I work 60-70 hours per work getting the auction ready, and then there is a day of booking the pickup appointments, and two more days handling the pickups.
I do all the photos myself. I am very particular, and I don’t think I could have anyone else doing the photos for me.
Rick Osborne is my right-hand guy, or as he often refers to himself, “your mother hen”. Rick looks after the deliveries, assists me with pickups, cleans and repairs furniture if needed, and generally is doing whatever necessary to allow me the time to work on the photos.
My brother-in-law Gerry Jansen looks after the shipping.
The online auctions provide a North American selling platform. The bidder registration now, is on average 250% higher than our average live auction. We have bidders and buyers across Canada and throughout the United States. We even shipped to England.
The sales on average are up 40% in dollar value.
Expenses are just over half of what my live auctions were costing.
We don’t worry about weather, and I don’t have to deal with escalating hall rent. Pottageville hall rental doubled in the 7 years I was there, and I was informed it would keep increasing every year. Honestly, I don’t even know if the hall is available for rentals anymore.
Customers often tell me they miss the interaction of a live auction. I admit, I miss that too. I always enjoyed standing in front of a crowd and auctioneering. However, much to my surprise, I have more interaction with most customers now, than I did when I was auctioneering. I now have a chance to speak with customers when they pick up, talk about the items they bought, joke a little. I couldn’t do that during a live auction.
Many of my best customers have come onboard with us, and I am meeting a whole new group of buyers, who love the online auction experience.
Consignors like the online auctions for the increased exposure, and the business keeps coming. I could do two auctions per month, but one is all I want to handle!
So, to summarize (finally), I plan to run out the clock doing online auctions. I want to make them smaller, work a little less, and turn them into a nice “semi-retirement” project.
I need to keep active; I need to be excited about what I do, and the online auctions are filling that need for me.
So, I thank every one of you for your support during our 24 years of live auctions, and I also thank you for your enthusiastic support of our online auctions.