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MAYBE

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Guy Schooling, chairman of Sworders.

The world now expects businesses to be open on Saturdays, such are the busy lives we lead. I feel we should be open on Saturdays and last week we launched a trial Saturday opening.

Why have we not done it before now?

Our staff work long hours, conscientiously and diligently, often in stressful conditions five days a week. We already ask more of them than most businesses, and now we want them to volunteer to do even more.

Rather unsurprisingly, they feel Saturday opening is a good idea – as long as they do not have to do it. Existing employment contracts stipulate Monday to Friday, so we do require volunteers.

We will need to offer a full range of services on Saturdays, albeit with a skeleton staff. The cash office should be manned and, of course, reception.

Porters and casual staff will be required to find purchases and unsolds (yes, we do have a few of these). At least one valuer should be on duty to offer advice and book in items for sale.

Saturday opening, while desirable from a business perspective, is proving a hard nut to crack.

However, we will achieve it with the assistance of casual and part-time staff and the willingness and understanding of our wonderful workforce.

“Saturday opening is proving a hard nut to crack

YES

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Vicki Wonfor, director of Roseberys.

Roseberys took the decision about seven years ago to hold auctions on a Saturday.

It followed a discussion with the staff about their personal auction experiences and how we could try and encourage a bigger room participation. The major feedback was the fact that if auctions were at a weekend they could attend because they were not at work: simple when you think about it!

It is not suitable for all our auctions, but we find it particularly successful for our multi-disciplined Art & Antique auctions and our Modern & Contemporary Print sales as the price point is typically more accessible to a broader consumer market.

We find the specialist and fine art sales benefit more from being during the week as collectors and trade establishments are open and there is a larger presence from this type of buyer.

We have always opened on a Sunday to view a fine art or specialist sale, as it is important to provide a weekend to facilitate viewing for those who are unable to attend during the week, and they can then bid in confidence from afar on the internet or phone.

Last year we took the decision – after considering client feedback – to open at the weekend for collections from auctions. We do so by appointment now the weekend following the sale and it has proved hugely successful, not just for the buyer but also from our perspective, as collections are facilitated quicker and, as such, we gain the space back in the auction and storage rooms.

It can be tricky introducing these extra measures from a staffing perspective, but ultimately I feel we are able to provide a better and more complete service for our clients.