Q&A with Jeff Weaver, owner of Weaver Auctions

How did you get started in the auction business?
My brother Greg and I got our start in the auction business around 1988 through Greg’s father-in-law, Ian MacDonald, who was an auctioneer in Fairview. Ian once told me: “To be an auctioneer, you fill your mouth with marbles and start chanting the numbers and spit out a marble. Once you have lost all your marbles you are then an auctioneer.”

Is Weaver Auctions a family business?
Yes, it is. Our family of five all work in the business. We try to get along and keep the feuding to a minimum, and we hire everyone else. We all have different strengths and work well together. Lorne and Evan and myself are auctioneers, and we make the deals. Yvette and Janine manage the office part of the business. We have a great group of employees, and we have successful auctions because everyone works hard to put it all together.

How many auctioneers do you have?
To do a large live auction with two rings, we utilize up to six auctioneers – three for each ring. As technology is changing our industry, our second ring is being done by a timed auction program, where you can bid with your cell phone or home computer.

Jeff Weaver

Do auctioneers need training before calling themselves an auctioneer?
Yes. You must complete an accredited course and become licenced and bonded. Disregard what Ian said about my early training with the marbles.

What do you auction at Weaver Auctions?
Primarily, we sell trucks; cars; ATVs; real estate; farm, construction and oilfield equipment; and the occasional white tiger.

If this is my first time attending an auction, what do I need to know?
Do your homework on any prospective purchases and ask questions so you can make an informed buying decision. Bid as high as you possibly can, and then one more time after that . . . keeping in mind you have to pay for all your purchases if you are the successful bidder.

Who attends your auctions?
Bidders and buyers are from the local area as well as all over North America. We have sold some equipment overseas – a rock truck to England and an excavator to the Arab Emirates last summer.

How often do you get people looking for specific items ask you to call them when it comes in?
A lot of customers let us know what they are looking for, and it is great when we can find a particular item for them.

Have you yourself ever bought an item that came through your doors?
I have bought lots of things for personal at-home use, mainly shop tools and attachments. We have also bought items for the business – our service truck, steam truck and one loader. A recliner came from the December sale.

What are the most popular auction items?
Most popular items are usually the exciting items – jet boats, ATVs and vintage sports cars. For me, the most popular item is the last one sold, which means the sale is over, and most of my work is done.

What happens to items that are not sold?
Lots that do not sell are rare, as we try not to take in items with little or no value. Generally, if we do not get a bid on an item, we may return it to the seller, give it away, or take it to the recycle.

You have had to change the way you auction during COVID-19. How easy was it to turn around and offer online-only auctions?
Fortunately, we have some recent experience with online-only auctions in 2019. So, it was not too difficult for us to offer an online-only service for spring 2020. Our customers had experience utilizing this newer method of bidding having held an online bidding only auction in December. We had made the decision to go that method because the weather was a major factor. This allows people to bid from wherever they are regardless of the weather. We work for the consignor to get the best possible price. As auctioneers, we take extensive pictures of the items and accurately describe the auction lots so bidders will have confidence to buy.

How popular is the Internet bidding feature?
It is the way of the future. Many purchases are made via the Internet without the buyers ever personally going to the auction site to inspect the equipment. The newer generation adapts easily to this technology. Some of the older auction buyers are a little slower at learning, but we are getting it, usually with help from the younger generation.

How often do you normally travel for an auction, or how many auctions are held at your yard?
We usually have four major sales a year at our yard. Offsite auctions can be anywhere within 500km, depending on where the seller lives.

What is the coolest thing you have ever auctioned off?
I once sold a stuffed white African tiger for thousands at a place called Driftwood Ranch.

When times are lean, are you just as busy as when times are good?
The auction business can be busy in both. In good times, contractors and farmers sell their older equipment and buy newer to improve their fleets. In tough times they might sell to reduce debt and give them some cash flow. Our business is fairly steady regardless of economic times.

Where do you spend your time when you are not working?
I enjoy being home and having a beer with friends. Yvette and I went to PEI (Prince Edward Island) last August to see how potatoes grow. A winter vacation to a southern country is nice. I’d like to go see the White House this summer and say hello to Trump, and try to figure out how to make Canada great again.