Storage Auctions

The reality...

The reality...
« on: August 07, 2012, 09:47:38 AM »
I have lurked here a lot.  My wife did this a few years back...before the shows.  I claim to be a newbie. 

...anyway.  This is why most people quit.

6 years ago we started.  Didn't have the facilities to buy, haul, and clean out with the regulars.  Had another baby and took a vacation.  Fast forward 6 years, kids growing up, 2 pickups added to the family, and a job (mine) that actually lets me do the dirty work on nights and weekends.

Why people leave...
We jumped back in about 6 months ago basically to buy some furniture at a discount.  Yes I paid a little too much for the unit but less than craigslist prices for the sectional I needed for the basement.  End up selling most of the other stuff off so the couches were essentially free.  Dawns on my lovely wife that she now has two pickups and a trailer to haul stuff (vs. the RAV 6 years ago), a husband who isn't working nights and weekends anymore, and children who are old enough to help sort.  We decide that we will do it lightly for a while because we don't know how much the kids will take to it.  12 year old takes to it like a champ and starts absorbing all of the "look kids this is why this person couldn't afford to pay their bills" lessons.  hmmm maybe this will be good for them after all.  So we decide that if we want to have 1 of our 2 alotted garage sales in the fall we need to stock up.  End of the month trains are everywhere for 2 weekends and 1 full week.  We end up with 9 units at extremely low prices.

The reality...
One of the units, from a SU that won't hold personals, has a ton of pictures, paperwork, and a signed photo.  We are in a hurry and don't pay attention to the paperwork...sifting through for the usual...gift cards, money, jewelry.  End up with a Chase-Durer watch...nice enough but have to send off for repairs.  Nothing exceptional.  The signed item is of Michael Jackson with a personal message to one of the people in the unit.  Basically I threw out (shredded) all the support documentation for the autograph because I was in too much of a hurry.  We are going to lose about 10k...only paid $110 for the unit but its a loss of "potential".

What could have been.  The reality...one of the other 9 lockers was a "pee"/"smoker" unit that someone had ransacked.  Daughter bought it for $5...3 loads to the dump.

Moral of the story.  This is why most people do this once or twice and then leave.  For us we pay for furniture that we can CL and the rest is gravy.  It teaches our kids a lot of good life lessons.  So there is my missed "treasure" story...and why most people don't stick to it.  For us originally we didn't have the resources to be effective.  Now we do.  But most people will not stick to this no matter how many TV shows are on the air.

BTW I haven't sent the Chase-Durer off for repair and appraisal yet.  Did have diamonds checked and serial number...all good.  Will send the MJ signature for appraisal but without the supporting historical docs it's worth about 1/10th of the value. 

Offline MovieMan

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Re: The reality...
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2012, 09:59:59 AM »
A good relating of the facts of the business.  Would have been even better with your reckoning on the other 7 lockers you got !

Anyway, hopefully some of the real newbies who visit this forum will read it and get a better idea of what is really happening "off screen".


Re: The reality...
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2012, 10:27:36 AM »
Will post the other 7 as we sell through...
1.  $140 purchase price...bought for the Broyhill furniture.  Clean locker took about 30 minutes to clean out.  Sold 7 piece Broyhill Fontana bedroom suite and matching Serta Queen pillow top and box spring for $500 (held 1 week) thru CL.  Many clean mid range clothes for future garage sale. 
2.  $90 locker.  So-so clothes.  Gave profit away to auction helper...nice lcd tv stand.  Selling HVAC equipment.  Couple of low ball offers.
3.  $60 locker.  e88 manifold and SU carbs for a 71 240z.  Negotiating with someone in Germany to get the parts to him...$300.  Got other misc. but a sparse locker.
4.  $110 locker...MJ/Chase-Durer locker.
5.  $45 locker...4 couches retro and only have mold.  3 glass coffee tables, kitchen table and chairs, Fisher Paykel washing machine...I have to bump the dents out of it with a jack, 300 cds in case...yes they were actually in there...only about 50 were listable on Amazon...10% have sold.  2 fake leather kids chairs...sold $40 CL in first 3 days.  NordicTrack cx 925 and stationary bike the daughter is keeping.  2 large dressers that are in sellable shape...still in the basement with couches and dining table...have to make room in the garage.
6.  $60 Small unit bought for clothes and garage sale.  Microwave and tons of kids jeans.  Nothing spectacular...i.e. the norm.
7.  $15 wood locker.  Used the 2x4s to increase the shelf space we have in the garage.  Can't give away the 27" tube tv.  Going to try to group it with a dvd player and see if we can just get it out of the house.
8.  "Pee"/"smoker" locker.  Bag of electric clippers and a blue rose wash basin and pitcher.  Basin is pretty badly chipped.  Pitcher is nice.  Everything else went to the dump.  Full to the brim.  Good thing was daughter learned a valuable lesson.  Sometimes "almost free" isn't a good deal.  She helped (when it was safe) the entire time and didn't complain.  Have $26 + gas (dump was close to unit) into it.
9.  Wife cleaned out and sold.  Not really sure what was in it other than it fit in the RAV so it wasn't much. ~$20.

Re: The reality...
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2012, 12:29:51 PM »
Why is it that when you are using "pee/smoker" to describe a locker, I'm having flashbacks!  LOL.

Re: The reality...
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2012, 12:58:11 PM »
You may have been there..PS on 41 across from White Water.  A couple of the regulars warned my daughter after she bought it.  I wasn't upset though.  Good learning experience for her...at least she pulled her weight and helped.  :)  I was really proud of her.

Offline Alias300

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Re: The reality...
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2012, 01:40:08 PM »
Good summary.

Loss of monies is always what people think drives way newbies but I think it's the hard work and time commitment.   I think a lot of newbies would stay in the game if it was bid, dig thru, walk away.  It would be like playing slots.  Sure I bid $1000, dug thru and it was all garbage....I'll hit a good one soon, I'm sure.

But add in dirty, hard work.  Moving. Dump runs.  House full of crap.   
Loose money AND have to work?  F**k that, they say.

I know I'd gamble on more lockers, pay more, if I could just search it and walk away!



It helps in this biz if you have slaves....er...I mean.....children to help you out.   ;D





Re: The reality...
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2012, 01:50:28 PM »

It helps in this biz if you have slaves....er...I mean.....children to help you out.   ;D

Which would be why I'm struggling through day 1 of home-schooling.
Don's at auctions, as I figured I'd take the reins for this particular ride.  Ugh....feels like I lost a bet.   :-\
BUT.......another month of (all of us) learning the ropes and I'll be letting the girls take a 'day off' and put 'em to work!
 8)

edit to note~good thread.  Wish more folks would read and take heed~

Re: The reality...
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2012, 01:57:05 PM »
I really think this is the only way I can teach my kids the value of money.  To be able to see someone's bills over a significant period of time and then tell them look ...we bought a bunch of their stuff for $x...see how much they paid for it?  It seems to have had an impact.  Besides if college keeps going up like it is it won't be worth it.  Rather send them to a foreign country for a while...then use what they have learned to make a living free of the fortune 500.


P.S.  I never knew the homeschooling pain.  My wife did though...did it for 2 years...ex-teacher...by the end of it the kids were the ones begging to go back to public school  ;D.  She may be cute but she is tough as nails.

Re: The reality...
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2012, 02:18:08 PM »
This can be a great teaching tool for kids.  Least my daughter has been learning the ins/outs for the last 6 months.  For her she is up $200 + the PSPs that she kept.  While her and I have had a few arguments, etc. it's great to be spending time with her.  I joke with some of the other regulars that in another 4 years they may want to retire as she will be 18 and rolling.

Some of the newbies do bail out due to cash.  They roll the dice and loose that big fat tax rebate check and go home.  Others like you say can't stand the work.  I know I have walked away with some nice units due to other people not wanting to put the work in to move heavy furniture, appliances, etc.

It's like the one auction I was at that had this old guy walking with a cane.  He bought up 5 or more units that day.  I was like seriously - how are you going to clean them all out.  I suspect his son / son-in-law / whoever told him "Hell no - no more" after that week.  So between what he paid for those units and I supsect lack of help the lasted 1 week.

Re: The reality...
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2012, 02:56:59 PM »
I have noticed that the 5+ location trains (maybe 2 per month if lucky) have started losing people towards the end...also when there are multiple PS and Uhaul trains on a weekday my wife has done well.  She stays away from the "high quality" runs and the "low quality" runs and hits the middle ground.  Lots of 10-20 yr veterans that know waaay more than us.  They have helped her out a lot...esp. doing walk throughs (next day at clean outs) and suggesting sales outlets.  This last one was the first that we let our daughter actually bid on.  My wife is a lot harder (stays lower) on the bid side because she will focus only on the furniture for est. value.  Was safer to let daughter go with her.  The big one that I am kicking myself on was 3 weekends ago...Uhaul down in town 9 locations before this one on train.  Got there around 4pm and had 80+ units to sell (hadn't been an auction there for 3 months).  Everybody was running and things went very cheap nothing over 300-350 I think.  Only bought 2 units at that location.  Should have loaded up but was so hot and tired that just thinking about cleanout was making me sore.  We probably won't see that again for a couple of years...if ever...just a fluke.  Wife said it used to be more like that 5-6 years ago.  I never saw an auction back then because the job I had only left me time for cleanouts on Sundays.

Offline Alias300

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Re: The reality...
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2012, 04:11:29 PM »
This can be a great teaching tool for kids. 

Wish my parents taught me this way.
I got stuck working with race horses for 25cents an hour as my first taste of working......Screw that. Those things are mean! 


Re: The reality...
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2012, 04:42:54 PM »
:) Yeah I have pounded enough fence posts and bucked enough bales, as a kid, to last a lifetime.  At least the 12 year old drove in the field this year so grabbing bales went a lot faster than the last 8yrs.  Never had race horses...I have heard they are mean.

Offline alloro

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Re: The reality...
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2012, 09:04:24 PM »
Okay I'm confused. By all accounts this is a success story and should inspire people. Why is it considered an example of why people would quit?

Offline Alias300

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Re: The reality...
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2012, 09:49:04 PM »
Not "should".....why they "do".

Hard work......time.....no slaves....ER....children to help.    ;D


Yeah, he made it but told WHY.   And that "why" is what newbies don't understand or do.

Offline Cobia

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Re: The reality...
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2012, 07:09:52 AM »
Good summary.

Loss of monies is always what people think drives way newbies but I think it's the hard work and time commitment.   I think a lot of newbies would stay in the game if it was bid, dig thru, walk away.  It would be like playing slots.  Sure I bid $1000, dug thru and it was all garbage....I'll hit a good one soon, I'm sure.

But add in dirty, hard work.  Moving. Dump runs.  House full of crap.   
Loose money AND have to work?  F**k that, they say.

I know I'd gamble on more lockers, pay more, if I could just search it and walk away!



It helps in this biz if you have slaves....er...I mean.....children to help you out.   ;D






Spot on assessment!


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