Today we’d like to introduce you to Claire and Louis Murad.
Claire and Louis, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In 2000, Louis accidentally became auctioneer for the international auction house he was working for when the auctioneer of record quit and they needed a US auctioneer. After he attended auction school, his company asked him to help as the auctioneer during their factory, hospital and large equipment sales. Meanwhile, I was raising our four children and spending time volunteering at their school and other nonprofits. During this time, I started to see the need for full time charity auctioneers in the nonprofit world. All the auctioneers I had worked with had other full-time jobs and while some were happy to donate their time at charity events, none were willing to meet with the charities beforehand and help engineer the live auction. I found that there was a need for a certain expertise to help us understand how we could make our live auction more profitable and a need for someone to tell the story of the non-profit to help raise funds during our events.
That year Louis volunteered as the auctioneer for St Patrick Catholic School, where our children attended. His energy on stage made a big difference in the profits of the event, and their committee said they would be happy to pay him if he would come back next year. This made us realize that there was a potential to create a business in this industry, and so we decided to open the doors of Murad Auctions.
We had our work cut out for us since we had to convince auction chairs, development directors and event planners that it was worth hiring us and paying us a fee for our services when they had been utilizing volunteers in the past. However, as our clients started seeing their live auction proceeds double and triple from previous years, the word started spreading and people started calling to ask for our help.
A few of our clients asked us if we could also help them manage the check-in and checkout of their event, so we started providing support for paper bid sheet auctions. The key to this service at the time was that our platform allowed us to pre-scan guest credit cards at check-in and safely save them in our system. This allowed guests to create an efficient checkout process at events. It also created a professional and efficient first and last impression of the event for guests. At the time, this was groundbreaking and had a huge impact on the efficiency of events in DFW.
In 2006, we offered another groundbreaking platform to DFW nonprofits: the first electronic bidding system in the area. We offered tablet bidding, on computers instead of bid sheets. This eventually transformed into mobile phone bidding, which really helps our clients create an easy to use and efficient silent auction. We still run bid sheet auctions as well, but most of our clients love allowing their guests to bid with their Smartphones. They can open the auction up early and allow all their supporters to bid even if they cannot attend the event! At a recent event, one of the big donors was not able to attend since he was in Hawaii. He was still able to bid in the auction, and spent more this year than he did last year!
Another great advantage is that when the auction closes, we can check out the guests immediately. This all helps our events to run smoothly and creates a great guest experience. This is our goal: To help our clients raise more money for their worthy cause and create an efficient and pleasant guest experience.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
We have definitely had struggles along the way. Convincing people that we could make a big impact on their event was our initial hurdle.
Also, learning to balance our family life and our business life is always a challenge. When you love what you do for a living, it is easy for it to take over your entire life. We are both very involved in the business. We have to learn to “turn off” when we get home. We must make ourselves, not talk about business at home in the evenings, and just have family time. We have not always been successful at this, but we try.
Also, since most of our events take place on Friday and Saturday nights, we have to schedule time off during the week so we don’t work ourselves to death. Creating a healthy work-life balance has been a challenge, but we are getting better at it!
To balance our work and family, we involved our children in the business as well. They have all worked at our events, which helps them understand what we do, and hopefully, they can be more involved in our business in the future. Our son Marty attended auction school in January and is now a licensed auctioneer.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Murad Auctions – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We become part of our client’s team. Along with the Development Director, the Auction Chair, and the Event Manager, we as the auction company, become part of the planning committee and are very involved in engineering a successful auction for our clients. This is our full-time job, and we take it very seriously. Each auction is extremely important to the nonprofit we are working with. We do everything we can to help ensure the success of each auction we are involved in.
Louis has so much energy that he can light up the room with his smile and personality, he can get your committee excited about soliciting auction items, and motivate your board to support the event! Claire is the detail-oriented team member along with our office manager, Lori and our wonderful Event Managers, and staff. We make sure all the details are taken care of to ensure a smooth-running event.
We have been managing events for so long, and we are always learning from our clients and our event managers. We have so much to share with our clients, and we do this by consulting with them prior to the event and helping to engineer a successful fundraiser for them We join forces with our clients and become part of their team to create successful events.
The thing we love most about our business is all the wonderful people we get to work with each day. Our clients work to raise money for all types of causes and we get to join forces with them to help. Whether we are helping to improve education, eradicate a disease, help kids, the elderly, families in crisis, or a puppy who needs a home, we are doing good in this community. We are so proud to join forces with these selfless people who are trying to make life better for those in need. Our clients are so awe-inspiring! They motivate me to be a better person each day. We could not ask for a better job!
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We want to continue to grow and increase the number of nonprofits we work with. Since we have not been able to successfully clone Louis, who is our lead auctioneer, we have a group of wonderful and talented auctioneers who work with us. They are so professional and are always striving to be the best in the industry. We are blessed to have them on our team and with their help, we can continue to help more organizations in the future.
If you had to start over, what would you have done differently?
I would have hired an office manager the day we opened our doors! Our staff and Event Managers are amazing and Lori, our office manager keeps this ship running. At first, I was the sales and marketing department, the office manager and the Event Manager. We had to watch every dime we spent so we were cautious about hiring a lot of people. Then I remembered some advice my first boss told me. He said, “You have to hire an administrative assistant before you think you can afford one, or else you will never be able to afford one! “ That is so important because hiring our first office manager allowed us to do the jobs we were really good at, while she kept us organized.
- Address: 8500 N. Stemmons Frwy, Ste 4020
Dallas, TX 75247
- Website: www.muradauctions.com
- Phone: 972-238-0249
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org