Storage Auctions

Do you really take the time to maximize your profit on every unit?

Offline Travis

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When I was buying/selling full time, it was in volume. I rarely had time to go through things thoroughly and I realize in hindsight that I probably let tens of thousands of dollars slip through my fingers, over the course of buying hundreds of lockers.

For those of you who do look through every jacket pocket and open every book, can you tell us about the steps you take to ensure that you're not letting anything valuable slip by and how you maximize your profit by doing this.

Offline dbr831

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Re: Do you really take to time to maximize your profit on every unit?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2012, 08:42:14 AM »
I'm sure we all let tens of thousands of dollars slip through our fingers, lol! If a unit is really a good one we are more likely to pick out the choice things and take a mountain to the goodwill.....etc. But when a unit is a potential loss, yeah we start looking at everything a little closer. I can not list the number of times I have looked at something with dismay thinking "why did someone store this?" only to find out it has value to someone. For example, got a unit with two large tubs of spools of thread. Set them aside for a couple weeks because I didn't think they were worth anything. One day I looked them up and ended up selling them in several huge lots on EBAY for a total of about $400. Who knew? Another time I set aside a little file of papers from a unit. Eventually uncovered it one day, found a folded piece of paper, glanced at it, reached to drop it in the trash and at the last second decided to look closer....WWII German map, sold it for $750.00. Several times I have found cash in odd places, (pockets, greeting cards, back packs, checkbooks...never in a bible yet but always look). So, no I don't always really take time to maximize my profit on every unit but when I do it's amazing what you can sell sometimes to make your money.

Offline Cobia

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Re: Do you really take to time to maximize your profit on every unit?
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2012, 09:27:21 AM »
Maximizing profit out of a single unit takes up two very limited resources (time & space).

It's really difficult to quantify how much I am making by maximizing profit out of one unit, compared to how much am I losing by not buying new inventory.

I try to look at it in terms of opportunity cost. As soon a I feel that "dead" inventory is taking time and space away from "live" inventory, it goes out the door. Either donate, give way, dump, whatever. Whether or not that inventory came from a profitable unit or not is irrelevent because that is a past decision, and I don't allow past decisions to hold up future opportunities.

Offline rulesforrebels

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Re: Do you really take to time to maximize your profit on every unit?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2012, 12:38:16 PM »
I have found you definately have to find that balance between maximizing profit out of every item vs being willing to sit on items for months at a time and spending time searching out the right buyers. Maybe I can get an extra $50 for an item but if that means I'm sitting on the item for 6 months and spending additonal time seeking out buyers maybe I'm better off just selling it for a little less. That's a call everyone has to make for themselves though.

Re: Do you really take to time to maximize your profit on every unit?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2012, 07:14:24 AM »
I myself am all over the board.  Some units I work hard to turn and burn as I have purchased a number of units all at the same time and have limited room for storage.  Others, if buying is slow I will take my time to sell.  A few units, like my payphone unit, I am taking my time on.

I have the following sliding scale:

1) Lots units, low storage - small or very unique items == keep
2) Lots units, low storage - same household dishes, etc. == 1 - 2 trys sell, then goodwill
3) Few units, low storage - same household dishes, etc. == 2 - 3 trys sell, then goodwill
4) Few units, lots storage == keep most everything of value to try and sell till hit #2 or #3

I am learning what to keep even in the household items for specific customers.  I sell more and more at my buddies store and not at the flea.  Have learned things that I would not sell at the flea can do well at his store and vice versa.

Offline Leota

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Re: Do you really take to time to maximize your profit on every unit?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2012, 08:09:24 AM »
I will start looking through everything and once I see it is going no where I stop and toss! If by chance I find a few good things such as old coins, (gold and silver in tied up socks) I will of course check further. If I find a bag of just dirty stinky clothing, it's dump time! Actually got another bidders unit one time (mgr. told me after the auction) and thought "Oh crap! This is going to be junk he didn't want and total garbage!") but it turned out he and his wife got into drugs pretty heavy and just stopped doing auctions and lost two units. Mine turned out to be very profitable. Lots of old silver coins, jewelry, gold, etc. Serious boxes of items he had apparently planned to come back and go through and never did. So, a long story short, I start cleaning and if it's looking good, I work harder at it. If not, it's gone in 60 seconds. :-) But then again, from reading above, a lot of you do this as a hobby, I do it as an income supplement.   ???

Offline Cobia

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Re: Do you really take to time to maximize your profit on every unit?
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2012, 09:49:43 AM »
One of the things to think about when deciding how to maximize profit out of all the inventory found in storage lockers is the "freshness" of the inventory, or how quickly do the items you have become obsolete or out of style.

I suggest going through all the boxes and bags and make sure what you have. Don't let piles of boxes and bags from a previous locker sit in storage without knowing what is in them.

Things like electronics, appliances, toys, games, some clothes can lose value very quickly over a short period of time. Make sure you get these things to the market as soon as possible.

other things like housewares, kitchenware, home decor, artwork, furniture, linens, some clothes, sporting goods, collectibles & antiques (unless they are really HOT right now!) can be left to sell later or try to maximize your sales/profit.

Re: Do you really take to time to maximize your profit on every unit?
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2012, 10:52:47 PM »
"New Regular" here, who's been a long time lurker over the last year and has really enjoyed the insight and knowledge gained from this forum.  Thanks everyone!

I agree with Cobia and Craiglauction regarding freshness of inventory and the sliding scale for current inventory.  I do this as a hobby on the side to make extra money so I don't have a store or a warehouse to keep and move my inventory.  I actually don't even have a garage and have done 53 units this year, so managing space is key for me and keeping the wife happy (too much sh** in the house).   

I tend to donate most of the clothes (except name brand) that I find mainly because I'd rather not store them and for me they don't do well at garage sales.  I do the occasional lot on Ebay but overall it's not worth the time, for me.  This is a personal preference, but for someone who only buys 1 or 2 units a month they may want to spend more time with the clothes.  I'd rather get rid of them, focus on other items, and purchase more inventory.

Sometimes it's tough donating or tossing items that have a little bit of potential, but it's almost like a breath of fresh air so that you can move on to the next unit.   

Offline MovieMan

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Re: Do you really take to time to maximize your profit on every unit?
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2012, 09:57:48 AM »
Do I really take time to maximize my profit on every unit ?

No, it's not worth it to me !  ;)

Re: Do you really take to time to maximize your profit on every unit?
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2012, 11:34:37 AM »
I take the time to go through everything. This year alone I have gleaned over $300 on change and close to $200 on cash found in pockets, purses and the like. $50.00 in Walmart gift cards. $30.00 in Starbucks gift cards. $30.00 in a Staples gift card. These have all come out of old greeting cards. I would have lost several hundred on gold by throwing away things that most would not even take the time to look through.
I must say that I do have a large shop and plenty of storage so I don't mind that it sometimes takes several weeks to put merchandise on the shelves. Usually when I purchase a locker it all gets loaded up and brought here. Everything is gone through by myself and my mom. Sometimes the rest of the family helps if a unit was purchased on or near the weekend. Everything is sorted at the store not at the locker. I think that people who sort at the facility don't always take the time to go through everything.
For me part of the thrill in this is finding that $20 bill in a coat pocket or a 14K ring in a purse. It doesn't happen with every unit and I know that but I think it is worth my time.

Offline Travis

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Re: Do you really take to time to maximize your profit on every unit?
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2012, 09:57:27 PM »
"New Regular" here, who's been a long time lurker over the last year and has really enjoyed the insight and knowledge gained from this forum.  Thanks everyone!

Welcome Quitafind, we're glad that you decided to join in the conversation!  ;D


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