Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Auctioneer or Estate Sales Manager

Updated November 13, 2013
Craig Connelly calls a live auction with assistant Kevin Burchett (left) in Hebron, Ohio. Connelly has more than 40 years of auction experience. (Photo by Joe Maiorana)

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Hiring an auctioneer or estate sales manager might be something you do only once in your lifetime. Here are some questions to ask before signing a contract.

RELATED: Hire Carefully for Estate Sales and Auctions

What are your credentials? 
Auctioneers are required to be licensed in nearly half the states in the U.S. Verify with your state or local licensing board.

Do you have a contract? 
Read it. Ask questions if anything is unclear.

What fees will be applied? 
Determine whether they include advertising, setup, cleanup or trash removal.

Are you bonded and insured? 
If not, you could be responsible if someone is hurt on your property during the sale, or if employees aren’t paid.

Do you have references? How long have you been in business? 
Talk to others who have worked with any company you’re considering hiring.

Is a permit required? 
Some neighborhoods require a garage sale or auction permit. Find out if that’s the case, and, if so, who takes care of obtaining it.

For a multiple-day sale, how much will items be marked down as time goes on? Be sure you understand when this happens.

After the sale, how long until you receive a check? 
Make sure it’s spelled out in the contract.

What do they do with items that don’t sell? 
Make sure you’re comfortable with what ultimately happens to your property.

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