Yes, you should consider multi-year contracts
Recently I emailed an organization in Tampa with a really cool, unique event, asking if they had an auctioneer already for spring 2018.
Here’s the reply:
I have hired my auctioneer with a five- year, first-right-of- refusal contract. Thank you for your interest. We can revisit you in 2020.
I was like, “Wow, 2020! Ok, then, they are taking this 5-year thing *seriously*. And then I thought, “Kudos to you, unknown auctioneer, who talked your client into this job security, rare in our line of work.”
But here’s the thing – I soon found out it wasn’t the auctioneer’s idea – it was the Event Chair’s!
Check this out:
“I have been doing events since 1986 and after my first year working with everyone I’ve nailed them into a five-year contract. It just helps so I do not have to re-create the wheel every year.”
How.Wise. Is. That? I mean, crazy smart, right?
Once you know you like an auctioneer’s style and you like working with them, or like a DJ, a caterer, a venue, an emcee, etc., doesn’t it make your life sooooo much easier to not recreate the wheel each year? Of course you can have a new theme, new decor, maybe different entertainment, but good auctioneers are hard to find, as are ideal venues, especially those with great food. Wouldn’t it make your life soooo much easier to agree to a longer-term partnership than 3 months, 6 months, or even a year?
I was pretty blown away by the crystal clear logic of this Event Chair with 30 years of experience.
I think it’s something we would all benefit from, so if you love your venue, emcee or auctioneer, next time give them first right of refusal beyond year 2, as a show of goodwill (and a commitment to your sanity!)