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Messages - Cranky

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eBay / Timing is Everything
« on: December 19, 2011, 08:18:04 AM »
Do others who sell regularly on eBay notice ups and downs in buyer activity at certain times of year?

Of course, late November and through till mid-December, sales were hot. I've noticed since mid-month that buying has been dead. I expect we'll see a lot of activity starting up again after Christmas, especially from those folks who got money gifts and/or didn't get what they wanted under the tree.

Are there other times of year when you noticed that buyers seem to be buying everything in sight or it's just plain dead?

Reality Shows about Storage Auctions / Re: Auction Hunters is FAKE!!!
« on: December 17, 2011, 12:41:55 PM »
Just thought I'd relay the story of the auction I went to that was attended by Ton and Allan from AH. It occurred in Brookline, MA on 3/21/11 (I bought a unit at this auction, so got the date from my records). This auction was touted as "Boston" on the episode in which it was featured. There were 7 units up for sale and the AH guys bought 3. The bidders were real folks and not extras, though we all got paid $25 for appearing in the show.

On the Boston episode, they showed that 2 units were bought, neither of which looked that great in the few seconds we got to look inside. In one, they found a great vintage bike and some valuable, random bike parts. In the other, there were about 8 6 cu ft Home Depot boxes, 15 very large filled trash bags and one antique gun used to shoot a bomb into whales for whale hunting.

After the auction was over, the team asked some of us to stay behind and do some fake bidding so they had extra footage for the show.

By coincidence, my brother (who was with me in Brookline) went to an auction in West Boylston that Ton and Allan showed up at (this was the "Worcester" auction in that episode). Again, they bought 3 units and showed incredible finds from 2 (I think) units, including a tank gun barrel and an antique safe, valuable in its own right (as I recall, in their wrap-up of unit cost vs. profit, they claimed the safe was worth more than $1000).

I chatted up one of the members of the production team at the end of the auction in Brookline to find out what they did with the leftover stuff in the units after the show was done. He said they'd look for local auction buyers to sell the remainders to. I gave him my number and he called up a few days after the Brookline auction. He offered me the leftovers from their 6 units for $600, this included the safe allegedly worth $1k. As it happened, the unit we bought in Brookline was the worst unit we'd ever bought and we were burned out from hauling trash and making dump runs so we passed up the opportunity to clean out 6 units in short order.  

I have to say that these great finds in 4 out of 6 units purchased for that episode can lead a thinking person to only 1 conclusion (which most of you have already done) ... the good stuff is added to the unit after the buy but before the filming begins. It does make for much more fun viewing.

In Massachusetts today, I went to an auction about 20 miles west of Boston that I thought would be lightly attended because there was a 4 auction caravan with another auction company nearby ... I hoped the caravan would get most of the action.

Well, it wasn't to be. There were about 40 folks there for a 3 unit auction. First was a 10 x 10 lightly filled with sample locks/doorknobs. It went for $400. Second a 5 x 15 household unit with a junky, scratched-up dresser in front, a low dresser in the back with an old tv on top and some old mattresses in the very back.Everything else was filled with nondescript boxes. It went for $450. The final, another 5 x 15, didn't have much in it. Some new mattresses in the back, an office chair, a subwoofer, some tubs. It went for $800!

These prices were quite a bit higher than I'm used to seeing in the area. It's hard to imagine that the buyers made any money off of these buys.

Stores / Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« on: October 26, 2011, 10:19:11 AM »
I, too, use booths at multi-dealer shops to sell a great deal of my stuff from storage units. I have a 6' x 8' booth at a shop next to a flea market that's open only on weekends and only takes cash. So there, I primarily put lower-priced stuff that's appropriate for either a flea market or is collectible. We've done better each month we've been there, as we've learned what does well from product and pricing perspectives. I have a big sale on handbags going on there (got these from a hoarder's unit ... over 70 brand new handbags) and they've been moving very well.

I've also just recently taken a set of shelves at an antiques/collectibles shop on a main drag in a more well-to-do area. I'm putting antiques and collectibles there. They do take credit cards and are open Thursday - Sunday. Not much action there, unfortunately. If business doesn't pick up there very soon, I'll exit immediately after Christmas.

We also have a shelf in a locked cabinet at this antiques shop so I can sell off jewelry items. The cost for the rental is so low, it will be much cheaper to sell items there than pay the final value fee for each on eBay.

Starting November 1st, we'll also begin selling furniture in a multi-dealer furniture warehouse connected to an antiques/collectible multi-dealer shop. We were on the wating list there for 4-5 months, I'm thinking low turnover indicates to me sellers must do pretty well there. I currently have my own storage unit to use as a staging area for furniture that I sell on craigslist. The monthly rent for 2 spots totaling almost 200 sq feet at the warehouse is lower than my rent for the 10 x 10 storage space! This shop is open Thursday - Sunday. It's near Brimfield, so it's also open every day Brimfield is going on.

Unlike many of the storage unit buyers we see here in Massachusetts, I like furniture a lot, so we have quite a bit. This new outlet should prove to be a huge boon.

BTW - the deal for all these spaces in the 3 shops is a flat monthly rent only. There is no fee based on sales made. The one exception is if a sale is made by credit card. Then, the shop keeps 5% of the sale cost.

With this variety of booths going now, there's not a lot we sell through other means. Basically, those items fall into 2 categories: 1) clothes - which we mostly sell on eBay using Buy it Now. For instance, I'm selling a lot of coats right now on eBay that we got in that hoarders unit with the handbags. 2) higher value or unknown value antiques/collectibles or items that appeal to niche collectors - again, these go on eBay primarily as auctions. Examples are pre-prohibition beer bottles and a 1979 Roland synthesizer.

The Treasure Chest / Re: Ace in the hole ...
« on: September 27, 2011, 06:03:00 PM »
DewGuru - congrats! I wholeheartedly agree with you on the need to closely review every box and container in the unit. Yesterday, I found a bracelet at the bottom of a box, mixed in with random loose change and paperclips. The box primarily held personal papers. When I picked up the bracelet, it felt too light for its size to be gold and I almost trashed it as junky costume jewelry. I put it aside, though, to double check. Turns out it was 14k and the links are hollow, making it lighter than you'd expect for gold. Should yield at least $250. Not bad for a $275 unit.

The auctioneer who works my favorite caravan of 6 auctions each month is my least favorite auctioneer. He stretches out the bidding as long as he possibly can to try and eke out the biggest possible fee. Slows things down without yielding him much loot.

The 3rd unit I bought was owned by a drag queen. It contained 2 pairs of fake breasts along with 3 corsets, 2 pairs thigh-high boots, over 10 wigs, 3 tackle box size makeup cases, outfits, etc.

General Storage Auction Talk / Re: Used TV's and computers?
« on: September 22, 2011, 06:37:41 AM »
For tvs, Best Buy will take most tvs (up to 32", I believe). You pay them $10 to take the tv and they give you a $10 coupon for their store.

Granted, selling the toys won't work this way, but the wigs and costumes might ...

it's almost Halloween and folks are looking to pick up costumes cheap. I got a locker about 4 months ago that was owned by a drag queen. Never got around to selling the corsets, wigs, thigh-high boots and such. Now have them on sale at my flea booth.

Stories about Storage Auctions / Re: Jackpot ! Jackpot in the Safe ?
« on: August 30, 2011, 09:04:49 PM »
Thanks for telling us all the juicy details on a great story ... wonderful locker, melodrama with the former owner. I think you made her a fair offer and she clearly wasn't going to come up with the $1k since she couldn't even manage the add'l $83 for the first third.

I suspect, tho, since she has your number that the melodrama isn't completely over. Based on reading of your posts so far, you're ready to deal with it should she call.

Keep us posted!

Other Forms of Selling / Re: Social media sales
« on: August 26, 2011, 04:57:24 PM »
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I love this idea and plan to implement this for my own business. Thanks for the great idea!

Stories about Storage Auctions / Re: Jackpot ! Jackpot ?
« on: August 25, 2011, 08:25:35 AM »
Clearly, this will be a real money maker. Nice going!

The "Other" Job / Re: My full time "other job" is
« on: August 24, 2011, 09:18:53 PM »
Jross - Massachusetts, about 20 miles west of Boston. We chatting on another thread about your desire to move to New Bedford in a few years.

The "Other" Job / Re: My full time "other job" is
« on: August 24, 2011, 08:17:02 PM »
I was laid off last September. I worked in benefits consulting and administration for 25 years. I'm trying to retire as I can't imagine ever working a 9-5 (or, in reality, 7-6) job again. Looking to build a small, ongoing business in storage lockers to supplement my retirement income.

I'm working most aggressively now on finding the best mix of outlets for selling goods. I've got a booth at a multi-dealer shop connected to a flea market (primarily for small stuff), Craigslist and a local consignment shop for furniture and eBay for good quality clothes and collectibles. I've also started using a local live auction house for collectibles, especially those that I can assemble into lots. I think they'll be a good, steady source of income.

One thing I'd like to cultivate in the coming months is a network of individuals who will buy items from me to recondition and resell (or just resell in general). The pure dollar value of each sale will be lower but there'll be less time invested in making the sale. And, no fees paid to eBay, the consignment shop or the auction house.

Movieman - I was at the auction in Boston where the AH guys "found" the whale gun. There were 7 units up for sale and they bought 3. I guess the 3rd one wasn't worthy of inclusion in the show. I looked into all those units and I am virtually certain there was no bicycle in the unit where they allegedly found it. And, the unit with the gun was a very creepy, large unit filled with only boxes and plastic bags.

They probably got the guy who "buys" the gun  from them to supply the gun for the "find."

Do the producers of this show actually think people believe they have these unbelievable finds every time? Even the AH guys say only 20% of the lockers are good lockers.

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