You need a license to be a benefit auctioneer?
In many states, yes you do.
- It’s expensive.
- It’s time consuming.
- It’s confusing. In some jurisdictions, even the government employees don’t know the answers to questions as it relates to benefit auctions.
Yet every year to protect the nonprofit, I spend a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to secure licenses in areas where I conduct auctions.
(Asking about licensing is an excellent question to ask the auctioneers you are prospecting. Their answer will give you some insight into their business practices and knowledge of your locale.)
About half of the states and the District of Columbia require licensing of benefit auctioneers. Many of these states are east of the Mississippi River.
Below is the current list of states where I am licensed. I’ve also listed the governing department. You can reach out to the respective organization for further information on becoming an auctioneer, researching licensed auctioneers, or even complaining about an auctioneer.
- Florida AU3344 // Division of Professions, Board of Auctioneers, 1940 North Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783 // 850-487-1395 // www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pro/auct/
- Georgia AU004174 // Georgia Secretary of State, Professional Licensing Division, 237 Coliseum Drive, Macon, GA 31217-3858 // 478-207-2440 // www.sos.state.ga.us/plb
- Illinois #441002144 // Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation, 320 West Washington Street, 3rd Floor, Springfield, IL 62786 // 1-800-560-6420 // www.idfpr.com/DPRdefault.asp
- Indiana AU11300062 // Indiana Auctioneer Commission, Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, Attn: Auctioneer Commission, 402 W Washington Street, Room W 072, Indianapolis, IN 46204 // 317-234-3009 // www.in.gov/pla/auction.htm
- Kentucky #3638 // Commonwealth of Kentucky, KY Board of Auctioneers, 2819 Ring Road, Suite 200, Elizabethtown, KY 42701 // 270-360-0736 // http://auctioneers.ky.gov
- Massachusetts #3228 // Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation (OCABR), Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, 1000 Washington Street, Suite 710, Boston, MA 02118-6100 // 617-727-3074 // www.mass.gov/dpl
- New Hampshire #6031 // New Hampshire Board of Auctioneers, Office of the Secretary of State, State House Room 204, 107 North Main Street, Concord NH 03301 // 603-271-3242 // http://sos.nh.gov
- Pennsylvania AU005743 // Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, State Board of Auctioneer Examiners, P.O. Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649 // 717-783-3397 // http://www.dos.pa.gov
- Tennessee #000006480 & #00005613 // Department of Commerce and Insurance, 500 James Robertson Pkwy, Nashville, TN 37243-0565 // 615-741-2241 // www.tn.gov/commerce/
- Texas #17444 // Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, POB 12157, Austin, TX 78711 // 800-803-9202 // www.tdlr.texas.gov
- Washington, D.C. #600566003257 // DCRA’s Occupational & Professional Licensing Administration, 1100 4th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024 // 202 -442-4400 // http://dcra.dc.gov/book/about-business-licensing/professional-occupational-licenses
- Wisconsin #2740-52 // State of Wisconsin, Department of Safety and Professional Services, PO Box 8935, Madison, WI 53708-8935 // 608-266-2112 // http://dsps.wi.gov/contact
- Virginia #2907003083 and #2908000859 // Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 400, Richmond VA 23233-1485 // 804-367-8500 // http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/Contact/
Incidentally, there is no specific benefit auctioneer license. Instead, one is given an auctioneer’s license which — depending on the area — can be used to sell all types of goods and services.
(A few places require an additional or specific license to sell certain items, like livestock or automobiles.)
For more information, here’s a blog post I wrote about three license laws affecting benefit auctions.