Damien Cooley set out on his own in 2003 to launch Cooley Auctions and hasn’t looked back since.
My career in real estate originally began at Elders Randwick as a property manager in April 1999. The following year a friend of mine suggested I enter the REINSW Novice Auctioneers Competition and remarkably I won without any experience.
From there I moved to McGrath, where I was still a property manager but also an auctioneer. As a result I saw a need for good quality, young auctioneers outside of major real estate groups. After working with McGrath, I started Cooley Auctions in 2003, at the age of 23, with a vision of putting together the best auctioneering team in Australia.
A passion not a profession
What I love most about auctioneering and my own business is having a positive impact on people’s lives. I have a passion for the property industry and thrive on watching people make money out of property, whether it is the landlords, renovators or developers. Being a part of this industry gives you the chance to meet great people and go on many different journeys with them. I see so many properties go through renovation from start to finish and being a part of their financial gain is a true reward.
Dealing with personalities and expectations is something that also comes with the job and the number of people you deal with day to day. It can sometimes be a challenge to please everyone and meet every expectation, but it’s a challenge we’re all up for and enjoy taking on.
The Cooley Auctions team and myself are dedicated to constantly bettering ourselves to provide a young, fresh and unique auctioneering company. Over the course of a decade of having my own business, I’ve entered many competitions and won the Auctioneering category of REINSW Awards for Excellence twice. I also hold the Australian record for the highest sale of a single dwelling home sold at auction, located at 93 Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill, selling for $23 million.
Top tips for auctioneering success
Be hungry for success
My advice to those who want to start their own business is to be hungry for success and know your “why”. Know why you’re doing it; why you want to be an auctioneer. Most people want to be an auctioneer for the wrong reasons; they think it’s a business for quick, easy money, but it’s your drive, passion and innovation that will make you succeed.
Choosing the right team
One of my biggest achievements is having such a great team of 12 auctioneers that constantly delivers professionally executed auctions, present and speak like a Cooley Auctioneer and provide the same quality every time. Last year was our biggest year on record and it is all thanks to a brilliant team.
A winning attitude
To have a successful business, you and your team need to have a “winning” attitude but at the same time accept when you don’t win and take it as a learning curve, adjusting your attitude for next time and learning from your mistakes.
Marketing and media
Our marketing and media exposure is phenomenal and stands out from our competitors. A business needs to be innovative to separate from the rest. A business that stands out is desirable to others. We value any time we are able to get our brand into newspapers, on radio or on TV – whether it be a segment on the news or auctioneering for the fifth time on The Block. All of this coverage adds to the reputation of Cooley Auctions and our auctioneers.
Focus on the simple things
Concentrate on the simple things in your business by providing an outstanding auction performance for a client; and aim to establish a goal pattern, values and maintain a good relationship.