Category - Storage Auctions 101

What Types Of Valueables Can You Find In Self Storage Units?

The answer to this question is as broad as the horizon. You can find anything that you would normally find in a home or a business in a storage unit. Although most storage units contain a lot of common items, if you buy enough units, you are bound to find some real treasures in some.

I have personally bought that contained rifles, shotguns, pistols, mint proof sets, vintage guitars, high-end tools, stamp collections, coin collections, sports card collections, motorcycles, a antique Coke machine, high-end appliances, over 5K in new Gucci & Versace shoes, luxurious furniture & antiques. One of the best storage units that I bought contained a vintage guitar & a safe which contained gold, silver, cash, WWII & Civil War memorabilia, an antique revolver and an antique pocket watch collection. Although this doesn't happen often, you can find some amazing & quite valuable items in storage units.

Do You Have The Space Required To Accommodate Your Inventory?

Not much of what you buy at storage auctions is going to sell overnight. It can sometimes take days, weeks or even months to sell certain items. This being said, you will need to consider where you are going to store your inventory. For those of you who aren't planning on buying more than one unit per week, you may be able to operate from your home efficiently. Some of you, however, may not have the space required to run a resale business from your home.

Although you may have a large garage, if you are buying storage units regularly, it can only take a month or so to outgrow this area. You may need to consider the benefits of renting your own storage space to accommodate the massive amount merchandise you will accumulate in a very short amount of time.

When I was at my buying peak, I was buying five to nine units per week. On average, my workers and I filled two twenty six foot moving trucks, full of merchandise, every week. Every Saturday, we had a massive garage sale. I would rent a auto consignment lot and spread the contents of the moving truck out over a third of an acre. Although we sold a lot of merchandise at the garage sales, we usually refilled one of the moving trucks, at least half way, at the end of the day. We had to store this leftover merchandise for future sales. At one point we actually had five storage units rented for the leftovers alone.

Here is some advice to help you decide what type of storage you need. First and foremost, you will need to consider location. If you plan to sell some of your merchandise online, you will be meeting your customers daily and it is a good idea to rent from a storage facility that is close to your home. Even if the closest storage facility charges a little more in rent, it may be worth it because of the convenience and the money you will save on gasoline.

My favorite unit to rent was a 10' x 30' with doors that opened at both ends; commonly referred to as a drive-thru unit. Not only was there plenty of space, but since the doors at both ends opened, it made it easier to get to the items that I needed. One piece of advice; make sure you organize your units to the best of your ability. Stack boxes of small merchandise, that you aren't likely to sell online, against the wall; and stack them high. Since this storage unit may double as your showroom, make sure that you and your potential customers can easily access your big ticket items. This being said, it is wise to leave a path through the center of the unit.

As I said earlier, location should be the number one factor in determining which storage facility you should rent from. However, if there are multiple facilities close to your home, here are some other things to consider. Some storage facilities offer specials. The location I was renting from offered half off rent for the first 6 months, which was great considering that I needed long term storage. If you only need storage for a month or two, facilities that offer the first month free can be a money saver. If you are in it for the long haul, renting from a private facility can be beneficial as well, considering that they typically offer larger storage units for a lower cost.


Selling Merchandise On The Internet

If you plan to sell the merchandise that you purchase from storage auctions on the internet, you will spend a lot of time taking photos, placing ads and doing research on the items. If you don't already use them, websites like Craigslist & Ebay will become your new best friends. These websites are the greatest resources for reaching customers on a local, national & even international level.

I personally use Craigslist for almost everything that I sell. Craigslist is completely free and you can post a for sale classified in your city. Most consumers turn to Craigslist first when they are looking for a good deal on second hand merchandise. If the items you are selling are priced reasonably, they typically sell fast.

Larger items like furniture and appliances do well on Craigslist. You wouldn't want to post items like these on Ebay because the shipping costs could eat you alive. Since Craigslist ads are local, your customers can come directly to your home or any place you decide to meet them to pick up the item for sale. You may get some tire kickers, an occasional late night phone call or even some spam in you inbox, but overall, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Using Ebay can be a great way to sell rare, valuable or unique items that require a specific buyer. Collectibles, antiques & oddities do especially well on Ebay. Keep in mind that Ebay charges listing fees and that there will be shipping costs as well. Posting an item on Ebay takes a little more time than posting an ad on Craigslist, but you may be able to achieve a higher selling price.

Using these tools can be a great way to maximize your profits on items that you purchased from storage auctions. Beware of scams, they are prevalent on both of these websites. The most common scam seen on Craigslist is when someone contacts you by email, claiming that they are out of town and would like to purchase your item for sale. These scam artists are pretty easy to spot because the emails often contain poor grammar. They offer to send you a cashiers check and to make arrangements for a moving company to pick the item up. The cashiers checks are almost always fake. Do not accept checks or cashier's checks and if using PayPal, only ship to verified addresses. It's pretty easy to tell when you have a legitimate buyer. Most legitimate buyers don't have a problem with speaking with you on the phone, responding to your emails and if possible, meeting you in person.

All in all, Craigslist & Ebay are great tools for storage auction buyers. If you use a little common sense, they can help you make a lot of money.

Do you have any tips or advice you would like to add to this article? Leave your interesting and creative responses below.