Day in Life: Russ White, group auctioneer at Manheim
Nationwide auction network
As a group auctioneer at Manheim I engage in pre‐sale activity, trying to get bids on vehicles and placing vehicles, and checking catalogues when needed.
After the sale itself – which is the most visible part of my role – I carry out various bits of reporting around the sale before moving onto the next auction, wherever that may be! I have auctioneered at nearly all of our 17 auction centres and as group auctioneers we can go as far north as Manheim Shotts, and then all the way down to Manheim Plymouth. That said, this is normally for holiday or sickness cover and we have a monthly rota where we attend the same auctions on a regular basis.
Auctions are daily Monday to Friday, including evening sales throughout the week. Average sales can range from over 125 cars per hall, right up to our recent
Colchester mega‐sale for BMW, where we sold 1,012 cars – over 250 per lane.
The best thing about my job, apart from the different characters we meet, is the auctioneering itself. Is it the best job in the world? Yes, completely and utterly. If you’ve auctioneered once and you get the buzz and passion from it, I don’t think there are too many jobs to rival the feeling of standing on the rostrum in front of a packed room.
Training for me when I started was on the job, taking at least 12 months before being allowed to sell any fleet or dealer cars on the rostrum. Today, as far as we know, Manheim has the only dedicated auctioneer training programme in the
UK – the Auctioneers Academy – so there is more structure to training.
Being a good auctioneer really comes down to your attitude and having a passion for the job – managing both buyers’ and vendors’ expectations is challenging but being straight‐talking and honest is always the best way to approach any situation, in my opinion.
There are typical seasonal trends, so 4x4s tend to spike prior to winter weather and the same two/three months prior to summer, convertibles start to gather momentum. Alternatively fuelled vehicles are also starting to come off lease now, and we’re seeing a lot more electric and hybrid vehicles come up to auction, especially with local council and London emissions compliancy changing and adjustments in the export market.
As far as recent trends it’s really all about the colours now, with white being the colour of choice for many months. I have to stop myself saying, “In the Russell White” as I need new material!
Who knows what the next colour will be? My guess is that red could be the future colour of choice.
Time for something different
The specification of a vehicle can really affect how well it sells; leather, satellite navigation, and transmission type – and of course colour – can make a big difference to car values. Lack of spec can have a dramatic effect to a car’s auction value.
As for the upper end of auction values, selling a Rolls‐Royce Phantom Drophead at °Í330,000 when they first came out has been the highlight so far! I also love selling anything limited edition and different, and anything classic that makes you say, “I’ve not seen one of those for a while”. If it’s an MG Metro, Maestro or Montego, well they get the royal auctioneering treatment!