Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Finding Self-Storage Auctions

Dave Hester, the famous YUUUUP! man of A&E's Storage Wars, has claimed that highly popular Storage Wars is faked, stating that some of the items found in the storage units are planted items. What this might mean is a renewed interest, or possibly skepticism, in buying good for resale from self-storage auctions.

Clients can find out about auctions in several ways: following the websites of local self-storage facilities, which usually announce the auctions on their websites or on the websites of their affiliated auctioneers. You can find self-storage facilities by searching on the state's self-storage facility association. StorageFront provides a directory of self-storage associations or you can conduct your own search on Google by searching with the name of the state and "self storage association" or "self-storage association". You can also look for individual storage facilities, which may not belong to an association, by searching on StorageFront.

In Canada, there is a national self-storage association, but the list of vendors downloads in an Excel spreadsheet, and the list seems fairly sparse for the entire country.

Your clients can also look at auctioneer websites to find out about upcoming auctions. The National Auctioneers Association provides a Find an Auctioneer directory. You can also search on their Find an Auction service, though these search results will include more auctions than self-storage auctions. There does not appear to be a national association in Canada, so you will have to search by province and "auctioneer association" on Google.

Auction participants usually have to pre-register to attend the auction, either on the auctioneer's website or on the self-storage website. Just showing up may mean that the wannabe storage warrior is turned away or shows up on auction day to find out that the person who was delinquent on paying for the locker has paid up and saved their stuff, so the auction was cancelled. Since an auction can be held for only one unit, showing up for a cancelled auction will waste time and mileage, so pre-registering and checking on the status of the auction the day before is a good idea.

If you win at auction, you usually win the entire contents of the locker--junk and all. The winner needs to be able to haul away all the materials, usually in a truck, as well as disposing of all of the garbage in the locker and most self-storage places won't let you use their garbage bins or brooms, so you need to bring garbage bags, bins and brooms with you, since you may need to sweep out the bin to consider it completely vacated and satisfy the terms of the auction. You will probably also need your own lock so you can secure the locker during the time that you have access to the locker. So not only do you have time and mileage costs, you may need to rent a truck and hire temporary labor to haul out all of the material in the locker. In the case of Dave Hester, he owns his own trucks and has his store crew to help with this part of the process.

What do people do with the stuff they buy at self-storage auctions? On Storage Wars, the participants usually resell their items in their second hand shops. Since they are in California, they need a reseller's license to avoid paying sales tax on the items they won at auction. Other people may resell their items on Ebay, or even on their own auction websites or on Craigslist or Kijiji. Usually items are not resold quickly for the price that the storage warrior needs to recoup their various costs, so if you don't have your own storefront, you may use your home or garage to store items for resale or even rent your own storage locker to hold the items until they can be sold locally or on Ebay.


Ricky said...

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Cris Gee said...

I don't understand your comment: I don't have a storage website, so I am not using SEO to promote said storage website.