Washington Auctioneer Bond: A Comprehensive Guide

September 30, 2022

Washington Auctioneer Bond

This guide provides information for insurance agents to help their customers obtain a Washington Auctioneer bond.

At a Glance:

  • Average Cost: Either $100 to $125 per year based on the type of license being applied for and the value of the goods being sold
  • Bond Amount: Between $5,000 to $25,000 (more on this later)
  • Who Needs it: All auctioneers and auction companies operating in Washington
  • Purpose: To ensure the public is compensated for damages if the auctioneer fails to comply with licensing law
  • Who Regulates Auctioneers in Washington: The Washington Department of Licensing

Background

RCW 18.11.070 requires all auctioneers and auction companies operating in the state to obtain a license from the Department of Licensing. The Washington legislature enacted the licensing laws and regulations to ensure that auctioneers engage in ethical business practices. To provide financial security for the enforcement of the licensing law, auctioneers and auction companies must purchase and maintain a surety bond to be eligible for licensure.

What is the Purpose of the Washington Auctioneer Bond?

Washington requires auctioneers to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a business license. The bond ensures that the public will receive compensation for financial harm if the auctioneer fails to comply with the regulations set forth in RCW 18.11.121. Specifically, the bond protects the public in the event the auctioneer commits fraud or fails to pay all required taxes, fines, and fees. In short, the bond is a type of insurance that protects the public if the auctioneer violates the terms of their license.

Washington Auctioneer Bond Form

How Can an Insurance Agent Obtain a Washington Auctioneer Surety Bond?

BondExchange makes obtaining a Washington Auctioneer surety bond easy. Simply login to your account and use our keyword search to find the “Auctioneer” bond in our database. Don’t have a login? Enroll now and let us help you satisfy your customers’ needs. Our friendly underwriting staff is available by phone (800) 438-1162, email or chat from 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM EST to assist you.

At BondExchange, our 40 years of experience, leading technology, and access to markets ensures that we have the knowledge and resources to provide your clients with fast and friendly service whether obtaining quotes or issuing bonds.

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How is the Bond Amount Determined?

RCW 18.11.121 dictates that the bond amount must be:

  • $5,000 for an auctioneer license
  • Between $5,000 to $25,000 for an auction company license

For auction companies, the bond amount is determined based on the value of all goods sold at auction during the previous calendar year. For new auction companies, the bond amount is determined based on the estimated value of all the goods to be sold during the current calendar year.

The following table illustrates the required bond amounts for Washington auctioneer companies:

Value of Goods Bond Amount
$0 to $24,999 $5,000
$25,000 to $49,999 $10,000
$50,000 to $99,999 $15,000
$100,000 to $499,999 $20,000
$500,000+ $25,000

Is a Credit Check Required for the Washington Auctioneer Bond?

No, a credit check is not required for the Washington Auctioneer bond. Because the bond is considered relatively low risk, the same low rate is offered to all auctioneers operating in the state, regardless of their credit history.

How Much Does the Washington Auctioneer Bond Cost?

The Washington Auctioneer bond costs just $100 per year for auctioneers. For auction companies, the Washington Auctioneer bond can cost either $100 or $125, as outlined below:

Bond Amount Bond Cost (1 year)
$5,000 $100
$10,000 $100
$15,000 $100
$20,000 $100
$25,000 $125

Who is Required to Purchase the Bond?

Washington requires auctioneers to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a business license. To paraphrase RCW 18.11.050, an auctioneer is defined as any individual that sells property to the highest bidder at an auction. Likewise, an auction company is any entity that arranges, sponsors, or manages auctions. Sole proprietorships owned by licensed auctioneers do not have to obtain an auction company license if their gross sales do not exceed $25,000 per year.

Exemptions to these requirements include:

  • Individuals selling their own personal property
  • Auction sales required by law or conducted by a public authority
  • Charitable or non-profit organizations that do not receive compensation for auctions
  • Sales of livestock or agricultural products under Washington Code 16.65 or 20.01
  • Auctions of abandoned vehicles under Washington Code 46.55
  • Auctions of fur pelts conducted by any cooperative association organized under Washington Code 23.86

How Do Auctioneers and Auction Companies Apply for a License in Washington?

Auctioneers in Washington must navigate several steps to obtain a license. Below are the general guidelines, but auctioneers should refer to the Department of Licensing’s licensing page for details on the process.

To apply online, auctioneers must have a SecureAccess Washington (SAW) account. Instructions on how to set up an account can be found here.

License Period – Auctioneer Licenses in Washington are valid for one year from the date of issuance and must be renewed before the expiration date.

Auctioneers

Step 1 – Meet the Requirements

To become a licensed auctioneer in Washington, applicants must ensure that they satisfy the following criteria:

Step 2 – Purchase a Surety Bond

Auctioneers must purchase and maintain a $5,000 surety bond.

Step 3 – Complete the Application

Auctioneers should submit their completed applications to the Department of Licensing online or by mail to the following address:

Auctioneer/Auction Company Program
Department of Licensing
PO Box 3856
Seattle, WA 98124-3856

Auctioneers must complete the application in its entirety and submit the following items:

    • Surety bond
    • $155 application fee
    • Unified Business Identification (UBI) number (obtained from the Washington Department of Revenue)

Auction Companies

Step 1 – Meet the Requirements

To become a licensed auction company in Washington, applicants must ensure that they satisfy the following criteria:

Step 2 – Purchase a Surety Bond

Auction companies must purchase and maintain a surety bond (limits outlined above)

Step 3 – Complete the Application

Auction companies should submit their completed applications to the Department of Licensing online or by mail to the following address:

Auctioneer/Auction Company Program
Department of Licensing
PO Box 3856
Seattle, WA 98124-3856

Auction companies are required to complete the application in its entirety and submit the following items:

How do Washington Auctioneers Renew Their License?

To renew their licenses, auctioneers in Washington should submit a completed renewal application, including the required fee, to the Department of Licensing online or by mail to the following address:

Auctioneer/Auction Company Program
Department of Licensing
PO Box 3856
Seattle, WA 98124-3856

All Washington Auctioneer Licenses expire one year from the date of issuance and must be renewed before the expiration date.

What are the Insurance Requirements for Washington Auctioneers?

Washington does not require auctioneers to purchase any form of liability insurance as a prerequisite to obtaining an auction permit. However, auctioneers with employees are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Auctioneers must purchase and maintain a surety bond (limits outlined above).

How Do Washington Auctioneers File Their Bonds?

Auctioneers should submit their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney, to the following address:

Auctioneer/Auction Company Program
Department of Licensing
PO Box 3856
Seattle, WA 98124-3856

The bond requires signatures from both the surety company that issues the bond and the applicant. The surety company should include the following information on the bond form:

  • Legal name and address of the entity/individual(s) buying the bond
  • Surety company’s name and state of incorporation
  • Date the bond is signed and goes into effect
  • Bond amount

What Can Washington Auctioneers do to Avoid Claims Made Against Their Bonds?

To avoid claims against their bonds, auctioneers and auction companies in Washington must follow all license regulations outlined in Chapter 18.11 of the Revised Washington Code. Best practices for avoiding claims include:

  • Not engaging in any acts of fraud, including false bidding
  • Paying all fines, taxes, and fees

What Other Insurance Products Can Agents Offer Auctioneers in Washington?

Most reputable auctioneers will purchase liability insurance. Bonds are our only business at BondExchange, so we do not issue any other types of insurance, but our agents often utilize brokers for this specific line of business. A list of brokers in this space can be found here.

How Can Insurance Agents Prospect for Washington Auctioneer Customers?

Washington conveniently provides a public database to search for active auctioneers in the state. However, agents must create an SAW account to access it. Contact BondExchange for additional marketing resources. Agents can also leverage our print-mail relationships for discounted mailing services.

2022-09-30T16:04:41-04:00