Kelly Fisher: auctioneer for World Wide Auctioneers
PMV finds out what life is like away from the scenes of the sale yard.
The buying and selling of heavy machinery at auction is a money-spinner across the region, bringing in millions of dollars and ensuring contractors can meet the demands of their clients. But the job of the auctioneer, standing in the scorching heat and swirling dust of a Jebel Ali auction yard, talking up the prices of machinery, hardly seems an enviable task.
However, Kelly Fisher, an auctioneer working for World Wide Auctioneers, belongs to an elite group of established auctioneers living the sort of globetrotting lifestyle it's unlikely an outsider would associate with the sale of second-hand machinery.
An auctioneer for 36 years, Fisher is a man in demand. Working for five auction companies around the world, Fisher sees more places in a fortnight than many do in a lifetime. Following his three-day stint in Jebel Ali as part of the team pulling in around US $30 million for World Wide Auctioneers, he will travel to Germany, the Phillipines, back to Dubai and home to his native North Dakota, USA - all in less than two weeks.
"In 2006 I counted the days that I was gone out of the US and it amounted to six months and ten days," says Fisher. "It's hectic, you're always on the move."
Fisher began life as auctioneer at an early age after attending livestock auctions with his father. "I would go along to the sales and walk into the barn and see the auctioneer," he says. "One day, when we were leaving the sale barn, I said to my father that's what I'm going to do when I grow up. I started selling and practising, trying to imitate the auctioneers."
Then a spell at auction school fine-tuned his talents. "When you go to auction school you learn ethics about the business," says Fisher. "Then you get into your chants. You do a lot of tongue-twisters day and night. They give you the basics and from there it's experience."
Although it might seem that the auctioneer is employed simply for talking quickly, Fisher ensures there is more to it than might at first meet the eye. "There are a lot of twists," he says. "You do every once in a while know someone that wants an item. Someone will ask you what you think a bit of machinery will bring, so you shoot the target at a high sight. You've basically got a client that you know you can be looking for when that machine comes up."
While snapping up a bargain piece of construction equipment at auction can be the highlight of the week for a contractor looking to grow his fleet, in terms of the auction it's ideal if both buyer and seller leave content.
The buyers will feel they've got a good deal, while the vendors will be happy with the sale. "I get my satisfaction out of satisfying the customers," says Fisher. "You can't do it all the time, but it gives you a good feeling.
"Probably the best thing about the job is knowing so many different clients all over the world. They'll come up and correspond with you the day before the sale and tell you they have this machine in and that machine in."
As plant machinery demand continues to outweigh availability, the future for auctions and anyone involved looks to be bright. "Im gonna hit it hard for another ten years," says Fisher. "Then I'm gonna sit back on the prairie and raise my cattle."