When the weekend rolls around, many people look forward to kicking back and relaxing from work. Not Lenny Mullin and Kevin Borger. They’re happiest when booked for work, serving as auctioneers through Legacy Auction Professionals LLC, based in Shawnee.
Mullin and Borger formed the company about a year and a half ago. Legacy provides comprehensive auction services for nonprofit organizations.
“We can provide everything from consultation about the type of event, planning for it and the execution including auctioneering services,” Mullin said.
Their client list includes 30 organizations including Make A Wish Missouri, Hillcrest Transitional Housing, the Olathe Chamber of Commerce and Washburn University Law School.
Before forming Legacy, the two men had known each other four years, working together on several events as independent contractors. Both men have full-time jobs elsewhere; Mullin is an independent real estate agent while Borger is an assistant to the president of MidAmerica Nazarene University.
Q: Why did you decide to formalize your partnership?
“It makes it easier for billing, and it’s cleaner and more professional,” Borger said. “Both of us have a love for the auction industry and its marketing.”
Mullin said by formally teaming up, he and Borger were better positioned to pull from their respective strengths and connections.
“We realized this partnership is much stronger than each of us on our own,” Borger said.
Q: How did you get into auctioneering? What was your training?
Borger started in the auction business at age 13.
“It was a charity auction for a church, and it was a fundraiser,” Borger said. It was while attending college at MidAmerica Nazarene that Borger received training from another pro.
“I was groomed in auctioneering under Bing Carter,” Borger said. “I watched him raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Borger first pursued work in the ministry before returning to his first love, auctioneering, four years ago.
Mullin jumped into the auctioneering business as an outgrowth of real estate work in which he conducted an auction on property.
“I didn’t sell the property at auction, but I did a few weeks later, and I was so intrigued by the auction method of marketing,” Mullin said.
Q: What training is involved?
In addition to his training through MidAmerica Nazarene, Borger has taken classes. Mullin took classes at the Worldwide College of Auctioneering.
“It’s quite intense,” said Mullin of the training. “They talk about the auction method and the different kinds you do. And the technology is always changing. There’s discussion of the auctioneer chant, but you can’t get it all down there.”
Over time, both men have perfected their skills.
Borger was named the 2009 International Auctioneer Champion, an honor given by the National Auctioneers Association. Both men have also earned the association’s designation of benefit auctioneer specialist, which they say is held by fewer than 200 auctioneers nationwide.
Q: How is your auctioneering service different from others?
Mullin and Borger said Legacy differed in its approach to a fundraising event and the breadth of its services. They give close attention to every aspect of the event.
“We’re architects of the event, and we provide them with options,” Borger said. “We look at their needs, what it costs to operate the event, and break down the numbers.”
“There aren’t many firms that do the planning and consulting that we do,” Mullin added. “We help clients understand the desires of their patrons, trends in the industry. We can even help them find auction items.”
The actual auction is a relatively small part of what Borger and Mullin do at events.
“Our goal is that everyone walks away for the event saying, ‘It’s already over? We had so much fun.’”
Though some auctioneers donate their services to nonprofits, Borger and Mullin charge for their work. Clients either pay a flat fee based on services provided, a premium based on the transaction total of the event, or a percentage of what Legacy is able to raise.
“We don’t do it for free (but) it’s a small price to pay for what we’re able to raise,” Mullin said. “We charge for our services because we want to be sure our training is up to date and because we bring in other specialists who know what they are doing with an auction to help out.”
“We’re helping these organizations leave a legacy,” Borger said.
In the relatively short time Borger and Mullin have been in business together, Legacy has continued to book new business.
“We’re seeing a real increase in interest,” Borger said. “We’ve grown to a point now that we have to make decisions on what events we do.”
Looking to the future of Legacy, Mullin said the sky’s the limit.
“We’re starting to look at more events outside of our region and across the nation,” Mullin said. “We’re looking to form relationships with other groups.”
Both men enjoy doing their auction work through Legacy.
“It’s very rewarding to stand on a stage and say there’s a need that needs help and who will help support it,” Mullin said. “It’s both exciting and gratifying.”
Borger sees Legacy leaving a legacy.
“After 34 years of doing this, I want to use my gift of auctioneering for the next generation and give back and make a difference,” Borger said.
IN A NUTSHELL
COMPANY: Legacy Auction Professionals LLC
ADDRESS: 22105 W. 83rd St., Shawnee, KS
TELEPHONE: Lenny Mullin, 913-915-0468; Kevin Borger, 913-940-5494