a time to relax and reflect!
December. This is the quiet time of year for me when it comes to business. I deliberately do not book sales in December, because it is the only time of the year when I can justify not doing an auction. It is when I get some time off, and can focus on some of the things neglected during the very busy fall season.
This certainly has been an interesting year…and also a record year for sales totals! The quantity and quality of the items consigned to our auctions during the last year has been very satisfying to me personally.
Of course the most talked about event this year in our business, was the forced last minute cancellation of our first sale in Pottageville. I am sure you have heard, but we had to cancel and move the sale out of the hall, the night before the auction. There was a mixup in the hall booking and it turned out the hall was not booked to me on auction day, and had been booked out for another function. I still shudder when I think about it, but we did get everything moved out of the hall (took until 4:00 am), and the sale went ahead two weeks later. Enough said about that!
However, on the up side, the move to Pottageville has been an outstanding success! Nothing but positive comments about the hall and the auctions, and I have to admit it is a pleasure to set up and do the auctions in that facility. I hope to make Pottageville a permanent location for us for many more years.
Bond Head was where our sales started 14 years ago, but the huge increases in the hall rent, plus the physical limitations to the building, made me consider a move for the last few years. It worked well in Cookstown for the summer and early fall months, but I really needed to make a change for the fall and winter auctions. Of course nothing is carved in stone, and it is very possible I could be doing sales again in Bond Head, but for the foreseeable future, Pottageville is going to be our home.
Here are a few statistics relating to our business
. First, 2010 has been a record sales year. We sold 7462 lots, including over 1500 pieces of furniture. Each sale averaged 621 lots and that believe it or not, is fewer lots per sale than previous years. In 2009 we averaged 726 lots per sale! However, I have been trying to cut down the number of lots in each auction, and focus on better quality pieces. As a result we sold fewer lots but had a record sales total. My goal in 2011 is to keep the average number of lots at approx. 500 per sale.
We had a total of 1635 registered bidders for our 12 sales this year, which averages 136 registered bidders per sale. Probably works out to about 200 people per sale, because a couple generally only register under one number. 72% of the registered bidders make a purchase.
People come from all over the province to our auctions, especially in the summer months. I keep track of where every bidder comes from. Since moving to Pottageville we have had a increase of bidders from south and east of us, so now about 60% come from those areas,, and the remainder from north and west. Surprisingly, we are not a “local” auction. Very few people in the immediate vicinity attend the sales. Most people drive between 1/2 hour and one hour of the sale.
Ok, enough with the statistics. They are important to me in understanding my business, and very helpful in planning out the auction schedule, but how does that affect you? The numbers tell me what I need to know about my business., and hopefully what I should and shouldn’t do. I can anticipate the size of the crowds and try and make sure I have the right items at the right time of the year. I am learning what sells, and when it sells best, and plan the auctions accordingly.
So, what are the plans for 2011? Well, I am working on reducing the size of the sales, and focusing on better quality. It takes some time to do this, but I have managed to do that during our fall schedule, and the results were obvious. Potential consignors may be disappointed when I have to turn down their items, but I can’t run a successful business trying to sell what people don’t want to buy. At times we get overrun with low end smalls, and it can take months to get through some consignments. No shortage of good quality items in our auctions, so it doesn’t make much sense to spend a lot of time and effort on items that just do not sell anymore. I am compiling an ever growing list of items that just do not sell, and therefore I do not want them in our auctions. Most importantly, you
do not want them in the auctions. You vote with your bids!
So 2011 is looking very interesting. I anticipate the quality items will continue to come our way, and I will do everything I can to maintain and even increase the quality of our sales. There is a lot of good merchandise coming into the marketplace, and I want to make sure as much as possible comes our way!
I thank you again for another wonderful year….and in fact, a record breaking year, and look forward to an interesting and exciting 2011!