Storage Auctions

any thoughts on this for a business plan?

any thoughts on this for a business plan?
« on: May 31, 2013, 03:00:16 PM »
So...yeah this has been way too much fun buying and selling stuff.  Soooo...

Time to step it up a notch.
1. I'm not quitting my day job.  I make way too much money at it (6 figures).  Plus this wont make a ton of money ever.
2. My wife however is not currently employed.  And if I were to be laid off it could make a good supplemental income until a new job was found.

Now I've looked at this, thought about it, and have come to some conclusions:
Filling a store with this sounds pretty good, but the overhead will brutalize you, and it will be unprofitable for a long time. 
Similar issue with getting warehouse space.  Although it IS doable.  Its more doable if you start from a large running amount of stuff.

So...2 paths are open I think.
I can rent a smallish warehouse space, and she can buy lots of lockers and fill it.
I can find a self storage that will let em run a business out of a storage unit.  Say a 10x30 or so. 

If we go the storage unit route I need to get:
1. A storage unit that running a business like this out of is allowed.
2. Shelves (possible to find in a storage unit auction, but I might just buy so its all uniform)
3. Tubs (see #2-I still might buy my own for the uniformity)
4. A box truck.  Uhaul sells those for $2,500-anyone have any experience with these trucks?

The idea the racks in the storage unit like two upside down U's for a total of 6 racks.  They hold 3 layers, of 5 tubs each.  I've done this in my garage and it works very well.  Buy the 90 tubs for them, and label them all.  Place this in the back of the unit, facing forward.  on the Right side attach white sheets to cover the sides and front for a oversized white box to take pictures inside of, while still maintaining the usage of the shelves.

The front of the unit will have 3 areas, from left to right each separated by tape marks on the floor: garbage run stuff, sorting stuff, and keeping stuff.  This allows my wife to sort it all as she unloads it into the middle, then we can do a dump run with stuff on the left. 

1. win more lockers!  (yay)
2. Move stuff to the storage unit from the won locker, marking boxes with a marker as we load them (thus we can tell which locker boxes came from so we can return personal items correctly, and track profit/loss on wins.
3. unload, and sort using the areas mentioned above.
4. make a garbage run.
5. take pictures of items, and list them on craigslist, ebay, or for consignment as appropriate.
6. Record which plastic tub they are placed in.  If too large they just go in between the shelving
7. Ship purchases out and record their removal from the tracking system.

I can use existing software, or write my own.  I could use barcodes and my scanners if I wanted to for adding/removing things, but I am not sure it is worth the effort. 

Any thoughts on this?  Is the storage unit a feasible way, or is it just too small? 

The warehouse idea is very attractive, but it brings monthly costs up a lot.  On the other hand, its larger, AND has a bathroom and office.  I CAN afford to own one without making any profit.  But of course we plan on doing better then that.  I am hesitant on it though because...the more units I buy, the more likely I am going to be to overpay for some.  So more work, but smaller profit margin.  Other side is it provides a good place to have people come to pick things up.

Anyways any feedback from folks?

Offline MovieMan

  • *******
  • 4175
    • View Profile
Re: any thoughts on this for a business plan?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2013, 03:13:34 PM »
Sounds like you have done a lot of planning and organizing on paper.

Makes me wonder how I have gotten along for the last 10 years without a barcode scanner.  ;D

I have a 10 by 25 with roll-up door at each end and with shelving, but beyond that your organizing far outweighs mine.

With that 6 figure income keeping you busy how will you ever have time to implement these plans?

Re: any thoughts on this for a business plan?
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2013, 03:20:08 PM »
I will spend some weekend time, but by far the vast majority of this will be my wife.  She hasn't worked for a while because of being sick all the time.  Doctors couldnt figure out why. 

Had some genotyping done recently and discovered...she is lactose intolerant.  Removed milk..and suddenly she is feeling good again and wanting to do this.  Its amazing.  All because we were curious about it.

Offline MTP

Re: any thoughts on this for a business plan?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2013, 05:33:38 PM »
Running a sale out of the Units I think will turn into a pain in the uknowhat fast I think.
I also doubt any facility really likes that.
The whole idea is that the place is secure and not every John, Jane and other riff raff comes in and out at their leisure.

I rent a 1,500 sq ft warehouse for $550 (super cheap even for this area), but it's in a somewhat remote industrial area and my weekend yard/parking lot sales have been sucky to say the least.

Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this. Unless you love fleamarkets (I hate them) to sell and/or have a huge yard where you can do monthly yardsales, you are really stuck like me.

Currently exploring the idea to open a coop/antique mall with a friend.
He has money, I habve th ideas and planning.

Will see how that goes.
But that way you make money on others.
Ideally you can cover all your overhead with the rent you take in from the other vendors and your own sales are profit.

Check my post I just made in 'other ways of selling'

Re: any thoughts on this for a business plan?
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2013, 06:14:43 PM »
1500 square feet for $550?  that is a heck of a deal!  Mostly around here it looks like that would run about twice that.  I will keep looking and see if maybe I can find something like that, because that would work really well for us.  But the prices I am seeing are mostly in the 700-800 range for 1,100 Square feet.  One is tempting at $1,200 for 2,800 sq feet, but in all honesty I think its too large/costly for what we want to do.....on the other hand...thats a LOT of room to put things, and organize in.  But add in additional overhead...and...while I could pay the rent without more income, it would be painful, and selling enough to make the overhead might be too much.  Also add in NNN on most of the places around here, and the price rapidly hits $1/sqft per month. 

At 550 for 1.5K of space though...thats awesome. 

Offline MTP

Re: any thoughts on this for a business plan?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2013, 11:43:57 AM »

At 550 for 1.5K of space though...thats awesome.

Yup.... but I am sitting here for 1 1/4 hour now after setting up my yardsale which is the biggest yet and not a single soul has shown up.
I am getting real close to throwing in the towel on this storage auction biz.
I love the hunt, I love the digging through and buying, and I know some good ways to sell, but at the end I am stuck with tons of decent stuff nobody wants.

I did fleamarket a few weeks ago and barely made minimum wage after getting up in the middle of the night, setting up, sitting there all day, packing up and falling into bed at 4 in the afternoon being wiped out....

UPDATE: 2 of my regulars showed up and bought $51 worth of stuff, a little happier now :)

Offline Alias300

  • ******
  • 1196
    • View Profile
Re: any thoughts on this for a business plan?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2013, 04:42:44 PM »
Yup.... but I am sitting here for 1 1/4 hour now after setting up my yardsale which is the biggest yet and not a single soul has shown up.

How do you advertise your sale?


And the standard neon paper and black marker signs.

Google 'garage sale advertising' and find a site that is used in your area.
Advertise a week before.  Tell whts there but in general terms. Like 'kids clothes' not '6-9 month girls clothes'.     Ad pics of really good stuff, distant pics of whole lot to show quantity of stuff.
Low sales? You might have crap or didnt price right or set up right...there is a science to setting up.
No people? Odd. Yards sale buyers will get up at 4am and drive 100miles for a sale...

I personally hate yard sales.  Even when I've sold most everything and made good money I've felt like it was to much work.  Just not my thing but sometimes a necessity....

Offline MTP

Re: any thoughts on this for a business plan?
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2013, 05:12:02 PM »
I advertise on Craigslist.
Plus the usual signs in the neighborhood.

My SALE is at my warehouse. Somewhat remote industrial area, so I don't get much of the regular yardsale crowds coming through which is part of the problem, actually the biggest problem really.

It ended up OK for me. I am sure a lot will laugh but I made a little over $150 which is ok as I did not waste any time. I was working at the WH anyway so the sales are just gravy. In my 'business plan' calculation I only plan on making $400 a month this way, so I am ok with today's haul.

I stress to everybody that I get more stuff all the time, so don't assume next time you see my signs it's the same stuff.

On CL I take pics of the better stuff, stress what I got a lot of etc.

I understand that I can not count on the regular flow of people finding me, but have to build a following, which is ok.

I also need more signs maybe a little further away at major intersections.

Had a distant friend show up today and turns out her and her BF always wanted to open a thrift/resale/consignment kinda store....
Never met him, but set up a follow up chat and talk business.
She only works PT in a dead end job at a dead end company and would LOVE to get out and do her own thing.

Could be the break I was looking for.
Him and Me running the auction circuit and bring in the goods, they both have ebay/online experience and then we can both use the store to move the smalls and furniture and what nots.

Offline Alias300

  • ******
  • 1196
    • View Profile
Re: any thoughts on this for a business plan?
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2013, 05:30:23 PM »
Without knowing the items you had I'd still say $150 isn't to bad.

You also have to remember a lot of people went out of town or had BBQs last weekend then a short work week so an extra day of work to catch up on.  Means this weekend they are lazy or catching up on things.
Equals low turn out.
At least that's the theory I'm going with...cause that's the excuse I used today for not picking...even tho I don't have a real job.   ::)

Offline MTP

Re: any thoughts on this for a business plan?
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2013, 05:43:09 PM »
For sure there are various reasons for a slow turnout.
This was my 4th sale here.

First 2 I had 20+ show up and made about 80 each time.

3rd was a nightmare, 3 people and $13, BUT that weekend were a lot of festivals in the area.

Today I had prob. 8-10 people show up, but 2 good sales. One with $50+ and one with $80 plus.
The $80 was a decent dresser and a bunch of tools, the guy could not believe my prices. In his broken english (Mexican... he said: Are you sure? several times). I know I blew those out, but they weren;t like Craftsman stuff and I made him happy, he will be back and tells all his buddies. I got run down the mill hand tools ALL THE TIME.

Offline rulesforrebels

  • ******
  • 1276
    • Yahoo Instant Messenger - rulesforrebels
    • View Profile
    • Free Storage Auction Lists
    • Email
Re: any thoughts on this for a business plan?
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2013, 12:28:06 PM »
Here's the biggest problem with that. People need to get in and out of the storage facilities with large trucks, cars, boats, trailers, I don't think the storage facility will want retail traffic clogging up their parking lots or even worse the narrow lanes between units.

Storage facilities also have the placed locked down for a reason, they don't want random people roaming around their facility. Witha  retail operation in there every person who comes to buy a toaster from you has to get through the locked gates somehow.

I have seen some storage facilities basically turn the retail space where the noramlly sell boxes and locks and stuff into a sort of makeshift resale shop so its not something that can't be done but when I've seen it its normally the owner running the store not a third party, they already have someoen paid to sit there all day anyway why not also have them ring things up.

Only other issue I can think of is if they have auctions it may either be or at the very least seem like a conflict of interst someone they are in a business partnership with is buying all their units.

Re: any thoughts on this for a business plan?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2013, 06:05:26 PM »
Advice taken.  Went to look at a small shop, rents doable for me even with no income, so that not an issue.  Its a little smaller then I would like, but still I will have  a decent sorting room, and stuff for sale room.  Intent:
Large stuff goes to my garage for sale on craigslist, smalls etc to the store.  If I ever outgrow the store, then I should have enough income to justify moving to something larger.  Shrug.

And don't quit my day job.  Wife is running it, and im working on weekends and weeknights helping.

Still reviewing everything and taking our time before deciding on the store we looked at.  $750 a month, good foot traffic, and 1,000 sq ft.

Offline rulesforrebels

  • ******
  • 1276
    • Yahoo Instant Messenger - rulesforrebels
    • View Profile
    • Free Storage Auction Lists
    • Email
Re: any thoughts on this for a business plan?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2013, 04:09:17 PM »
Hey good luck with the business. Really shop around for a retail space. Commercial space is really more demand than supply so you can find some really good deals with no long term contracts or leases, sometimes even a few months free.

If you do a lot of networking with other storage buyers maybe offer them the opportunity to rent some space in your store, your wife is already sitting around by the till anyway, why not sell stuff for them as well. I have an antique store near me where its like this not one owner but several owners who have stuff in their and basically operate independantly but share a space. You could also selll on consignment for tohers you know.

I always thought you may as well have a we sell on ebay store at a place like this as well. It would help to get you more merchandise from other people, boost your ebay volume and feedback and also like I said with the other thing, you already have someone who's going to be sitting around waiting for customers why not have them take in ebay things on consignment as well.

Best of luck to you

Re: any thoughts on this for a business plan?
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2013, 01:46:25 PM »
$750/mo. for 1,000 Sq. Ft. is an amazing deal compared to what you get out here. I'd be at a minimum of $1,500 NNN for a space with decent foot traffic. Right now I'm in a flea market, upgraded to 2 PODs this week. So I've got essentially a 16x32 space to work with for $300/mo. Before settling on the 2nd POD I checked with the state flea market on an indoor space. It's cheaper, .50/sq. ft. but they want specialty shops inside. Things like pet supplies, jewelry, crafts. Not "thrift junk"..

Each weekend we average about $300 but it's a very high traffic location.. About 15k cars/day pass by on the weekends.

Offline MTP

Re: any thoughts on this for a business plan?
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2013, 12:42:49 PM »
That is really good rent, but REALLY look at it as an average guy driving down the street before comitting.

I rented a super high traffic store once right halfway between 2 of the biggest most successful thrift stores in town and a Harbor Freight Tools anchoring the shopping center.

I really counted on the traffic. But once I had no sales and I tried to analyze why I realized that the layout was so sucky that nobody could see us. Sandwich boards on sidewalk did us little good as well.

The Harbor Freight traffic worked a LITTLE but they all entered the parking lot on the left, and we were on of the far most right locations.

Lasted only 5 months. Advertised in yellow pages, pennysavers, tons of craigslist, hired a sign twirler and had 2,000 sq ft of great reasonably priced stuff but still had $20-30 days. Needed $160 to break even. That hardly ever happened.

Stupidly it was at the peak of the storage auction shows so buying good stuff that way did not work. NOW I get all the stuff my custiomers always asked for but I didn;t have back then.

Go figure
 Murphy's law....

New Business Plan for 2014

Started by MovieMan

2 Replies
Last post January 25, 2014, 02:59:18 PM
by rulesforrebels
Hi everyone!-need your thoughts on something.....

Started by gemini70

2 Replies
Last post July 27, 2012, 12:58:34 PM
by Cheesehead
Deep Thoughts in Storage Auction Philosophy

Started by Travis

5 Replies
Last post June 06, 2013, 05:27:01 PM
by Travis
Yet more thoughts on the viability of online storage auctions

Started by MovieMan

5 Replies
Last post August 19, 2013, 02:39:25 PM
by HomeGrownPromos