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Wrote an article for Inside Self Storage, looking for feedback

Wrote an article for Inside Self Storage, looking for feedback
« on: January 19, 2015, 09:37:59 AM »
Hey everyone. My name is Sam Edwards. I've utilized this forum many times (particularly when researching lien law) and I'm a fan.

I recently wrote an article about online storage auctions for Inside Self Storage. It was published two days ago. I was wondering if anyone here had any thoughts about the points made in the article. Any feedback offered would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

http://www.insideselfstorage.com/articles/2015/01/6-reasons-to-switch-to-online-selfstorage-auctions.aspx

Offline Travis

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Re: Wrote an article for Inside Self Storage, looking for feedback
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2015, 10:18:42 AM »
I actually made a comment on the article, here is what it said:

Good article; however, it isn't entirely correct.

You said "The majority of auction websites are free to the storage operator. They make their money by charging bidders a processing fee. This way the facility receives 100 percent of the final bid, which is the way it should be."

You're right, that is the way it should be; however, all online storage auction services except OnlineStorageAuctions.com charge both the buyer & the seller a premium on the final bid amount or a monthly service fee.

Most operators don't realize that buyer fees are really seller fees in disguise. Sellers are unknowingly paying the buyer's fees since bidders take these fees into consideration and reduce their bids accordingly.

Sellers who use a service which charges buyer and seller fees are essentially losing 20-25% of the final bid amount. That could result in an annual loss of $3,300 (Estimated) for a storage facility which auctions off as few as 3 units per month.

I'm really surprised that the storage industry media hasn't published a cost comparison guide for online storage auction services yet.

Re: Wrote an article for Inside Self Storage, looking for feedback
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2015, 11:00:00 AM »
"The majority of auction websites are free to the storage operator."

"however, all online storage auction services except OnlineStorageAuctions.com charge both the buyer & the seller a premium on the final bid amount or a monthly service fee."

First off, Inside Self Storage changed what I had originally wrote. It isn't true that the majority of auction websites are free to the storage operator. Most websites (Storage Battles, iBid4Storage etc) charge the facility some sort of fee. Bid13 only charges a bidder's fee. That's a point I was trying to make, not sure why they changed it.

I took a look at the 4 auctions posted on this site. Only one of them has a bid, and only one of them has viewable pictures. They also appear to be spread out across the country. How do people know what they're bidding on if there isn't any pictures / video? I'm curious. You are contending that this site is better for sellers, but I'm not seeing any proof of that. Could you elaborate?

Offline alloro

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Re: Wrote an article for Inside Self Storage, looking for feedback
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2015, 11:39:43 AM »
I took a look at the 4 auctions posted on this site. Only one of them has a bid, and only one of them has viewable pictures. They also appear to be spread out across the country. How do people know what they're bidding on if there isn't any pictures / video? I'm curious. You are contending that this site is better for sellers, but I'm not seeing any proof of that. Could you elaborate?

I believe it's the newest of the 4, so it does take time to build a customer base and for the word to get around. That aside and just so you don't go and put you foot in your mouth :) , Travis owns onlinestorageauctions.com

Offline Travis

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Re: Wrote an article for Inside Self Storage, looking for feedback
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2015, 12:18:30 PM »
First off, Inside Self Storage changed what I had originally wrote.

That doesn't surprise me. They did that to us once too.

Most websites (Storage Battles, iBid4Storage etc) charge the facility some sort of fee. Bid13 only charges a bidder's fee.

A 15% bidder's fee that really gets passed on to the seller, or do you disagree?

I took a look at the 4 auctions posted on this site. Only one of them has a bid, and only one of them has viewable pictures. They also appear to be spread out across the country. How do people know what they're bidding on if there isn't any pictures / video? I'm curious.

*Quick, someone put the lid back on the can of worms before they get out* Oops, too late!

3 of those auctions were posted yesterday and quite frankly, some were posted by unrealistic sellers who overvalue their merchandise. Nobody is going to pay retail for used merchandise. Furthermore, we don't get involved in what sellers upload to the site, unless the content violates the site's terms of use. Ultimately, it's the seller's responsibility to upload their own images/videos.

You are contending that this site is better for sellers, but I'm not seeing any proof of that. Could you elaborate?

I don't recall making that statement, but if I did, I would probably point out that our service is completely free for everyone and that we had 150,000 unique visitors and a half a million page views last month. Massive traffic + no fees = top $$ for the seller.

Offline Travis

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Re: Wrote an article for Inside Self Storage, looking for feedback
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2015, 12:36:06 PM »
I believe it's the newest of the 4, so it does take time to build a customer base and for the word to get around.

There's actually 9 now, but who's counting.  ;) Actually, OSA's forum predates all of it's competitors, but we just launched our auction platform in 2014. We've got a massive buyer database, but I agree, it does take time to get the word out to storage operators.

Re: Wrote an article for Inside Self Storage, looking for feedback
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2015, 01:55:27 PM »
"A 15% bidder's fee that really gets passed on to the seller, or do you disagree?"

This is my view on it. With Bid13 there are no literal fees for the seller, first off. No monthly subscription fees, no cancellation fees, no seller premiums.

We do charge a bidder's fee. That said, we do all the advertising for the seller. We target specific areas to attract local bidders for each individual auction (which is time consuming). We have customer service representatives in the office every day - therefore if the seller has a question, or if a bidder has a question, we answer it promptly and thoroughly.

Time is money - this isn't a platitude; for an owner of a large facility (or multiple facilities) this is a true statement. The less they have to deal with, the more time they have to focus on renting units to dependable tenants.

Offline luke

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Re: Wrote an article for Inside Self Storage, looking for feedback
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2015, 03:40:19 PM »
This is my view on it. With Bid13 there are no literal fees for the seller, first off. No monthly subscription fees, no cancellation fees, no seller premiums.

Nice site, I like it.  I think you can get rid of the unit size filter (It's just clutter) and has no bearings on how much content is inside the unit.

I also think you should add some "Alerting Features" for auctions within X miles from your location when they pop up. Maybe you do this without consent, but I don't see an option for that, It would save me the time to repeatedly check your site.

I also love that you can view past auctions and you don't randomize units on page refreshes, two things that annoy me about SB.

So how to you get Facilities to list on your site, do you have sales people calling facilities up informing them why you're better then SB, OSA, ETC?





Offline Travis

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Re: Wrote an article for Inside Self Storage, looking for feedback
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2015, 04:34:14 PM »
"A 15% bidder's fee that really gets passed on to the seller, or do you disagree?"

This is my view on it. With Bid13 there are no literal fees for the seller, first off. No monthly subscription fees, no cancellation fees, no seller premiums.

You didn't answer the question.

If I (as a buyer) am willing to pay a maximum of $100 for a unit, and you have a 15% buyer's premium, guess how much my bid is going to be? Yep, $85. Therefore, the seller just lost 15%. Do you disagree?

Offline Cobia

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Re: Wrote an article for Inside Self Storage, looking for feedback
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2015, 05:27:06 PM »
As a storage unit buyer, I am most interested in opportunity and content of inventory. When the site that charges 15% has units I want available to purchase, I'm not going to wait around for the other sites to list quality units that are close to home. I suppose if their are several sites that all have a good selection of units close to me then I would probably use the site that was free or had the lower buyers premium.

As far as the article goes I pretty much agree. As much as some of us don't like the idea of online storage auctions for various reasons, it is the trend of the future. I didn't quite get the point under number 3. "The second way is most common and very problematic. If you happen to be auctioning valuable units, this could result in a significant loss of revenue." because remember a storage facility is the business of "renting storage space, not selling off customer contents."

Re: Wrote an article for Inside Self Storage, looking for feedback
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2015, 10:24:49 AM »
"You didn't answer the question."

"If I (as a buyer) am willing to pay a maximum of $100 for a unit, and you have a 15% buyer's premium, guess how much my bid is going to be? Yep, $85. Therefore, the seller just lost 15%. Do you disagree?"

The point I was trying to make in my post was that whatever money a seller could possibly lose by virtue of the bidder's fee, that money is made up for by the fact that the seller doesn't have to waste any time. That was the point of the "time is money" spiel in my post. Bid13 handles everything, and we're there to answer questions and make sure the process goes smoothly for both bidders and sellers.

I also agree with what Cobia said: "When the site that charges 15% has units I want available to purchase, I'm not going to wait around for the other sites to list quality units that are close to home."

If a bidder sees a unit they really want at an auction close to them, most of the time the bidder's fee isn't going to hold them back from fighting for that unit. That's what I've noticed, at any rate.

Offline Travis

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Re: Wrote an article for Inside Self Storage, looking for feedback
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2015, 11:23:01 AM »
The point I was trying to make in my post was that whatever money a seller could possibly lose by virtue of the bidder's fee, that money is made up for by the fact that the seller doesn't have to waste any time. That was the point of the "time is money" spiel in my post. Bid13 handles everything, and we're there to answer questions and make sure the process goes smoothly for both bidders and sellers.

You're a master of the spin, but thank you for answering the question, albeit indirectly.

I'm quite aware of the advantages of online storage auction services. Your right, time is money; however, money is also money. That 15% may seem insignificant, but for companies like Public Storage, U-Haul, Extra Space, CubeSmart & Sovran, those fees add up to millions of dollars each year. Why anyone would pay a fee to buy or sell a storage unit online, when a free service like OnlineStorageAuctions.com is available, is mind boggling.

As this industry grows, buyers will use several platforms to purchase storage units online. The only loyalty I foresee is that between the online storage auction service and the storage operator, but even then, those loyalties are easily swayed by cost, service and results.


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