The Dirty Dozen: Auctioneer


November 6, 2017 1:24PM

For such fast talkers, the process of becoming an auctioneer is a slow one. It takes two years of education and training before one can take the stage and start auctioning off items. To put that into perspective, it only takes six months of training to become an EMT in Tennessee. And not only does getting all that training come at a steep cost, the fees to obtain the license total a whopping $500 ($225 to become an apprentice, then another $275 after that two years of training), making auctioneering one of the most expensive licenses to acquire in the state

This is a prime example of a licensing regime that involves too much red tape. We should seriously consider doing away with the auctioneer license altogether. If the concern is that auctioneers handle their customers’ money and property, there are far better ways to protect consumers than a licensing law. One idea would be to require auctioneers to carry insurance and to provide a surety bond order to protect the other person’s valuables. After all, a third of all states have figured out how to protect consumers without requiring a license.

At the very least, it shouldn’t take four times as long to get an auctioneer license as it does to learn to save lives. The auctioneer licensing requirements need to be far more aligned with the potential to do public harm, and Tennessee’s current laws have a long way to go for that to be the case. Hopefully lawmakers will gavel in sensible reforms for our auctioneers come 2018.