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Messages - Ironman

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Stores / Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« on: November 28, 2011, 05:22:33 PM »
Well here is an update. I have been overwhelmed at my full time job and have had little time to keep the storage auctions and shops running at the level I want to. Thats changing so in January I'll get back into the swing of things. That said, our next step is to open a single shop in another mall about 20 miles from where I'm at with two booths. The area is more affluent and has clientel that don't make the trip to Kennesaw Ga. (I'm going to open the new space in Alpharetta Ga at Queen of Hearts.) That should work well for me as I live 8 miles from one and 12 from the other and it will expand the possible client base. Yes more work but if it does as well as my first two I'll be happy to put in the time. I have also noticed an uptick in peoples buying habits. Not a gandbuster but better than what you would expect for a holiday seasonal uptick so I'm hoping the economy around here is improving. Thats another reason I want to open a new shop in a new area so as things continue to improve I'm already in place and making things happen. Well, off my soapbox and back to work. Good luck everyone!!

Stores / Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« on: October 23, 2011, 11:01:24 AM »
I'd say do it. If you are near a large retiree community thats ideal as they will spend money. Especially if you have pieces that remind them of their youth. My shops are doing very well. We are actually contemplating yet another 10x10 space but at another facility across town so we can tap into potential customers that don't normally come to the northwest suburbs of Atlanta. We did have a slow month between mid Aug to mid Sep, but according to the people that have been here a long time that is traditionally a slow down. Its end of summer, schools are restarting and buyers are involved with that versus out shopping, however, the traditionall hot times are coming. The schoolers have settled in so moms now have free time during the day and are getting out, the holidays are coming and people look to buy that unique or collectible item for gifts etc. According to the 'old timers' here the sales pick up from Halloween thru into January then have a slow down in Feb and Mar then gear back up so thats what you need to plan for. If I had it all to do over again I'd have started a year earlier. I'm not getting rich but I am moving merchandise and am profitable even after travel and expenses are considered. All the old timers also said that before the economy tanked they were getting three times the price for the same items that are selling today so I'm positioning myself for the time when the economy does turn better. The thing is you should have two or three months rent rat holed (saved) in case you hit a down month so you aren't tapping your own funds. One more thing, do not get complacent and rely on this as your only sales outlet. Keep pushing items on craigslist, etsy, amazon, ebay and anywhere else. The idea is to keep your inventory turning over from somewhere so you can keep it fresh and moving along. Good luck and if you have any other questions just post them and I'll help if I can. BTW, the going rate for space in the Atlanta area is $1.90 to $2.40 a sqf. I'm in a place that is 1.90. Also, the facility looks for workers to help out like floor walkers who just make rounds and help customers if needed or even cleaning duties or cashiers etc. and they get paid XX$ an hour that comes off the rent. I do the newsletters and email marketing for the store and for that I get a 30% rent reduction. I do it weekly at home sitting in front of the TV. So, check with the facility and see if there is something like that you can do from home. If they don't have a newsletter or regular email campaign and want to do that I'd be glad to tell you what and how I do it to get you started. Good Luck!!

Stores / Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« on: September 06, 2011, 05:34:11 PM »
Hey West Ga. Sorry for the delay in answering. The mall I'm at is Big Shanty Antiques in Kennesaw. It's going so well that I'm expanding to another 10x10 up front. I actually do a variety of things for selling / advertising including CL, Amazon, Etsy, Ebay etc. The rules for the mall are that if the client sees it in the mall the vendor is obliged to sell it thru the mall and pay the selling commission to the mall which is what I do. That's the agreement and I stand by my word on it. That said, I do advertise on CL and if the piece is small or collectible and easily removed, I'll go to my booth, bring the item home and sell it if. I won't just take it to the mall parking lot and sell it or take someone here to see it and then remove it as that isn't the deal. Of course, anything I list and sell that requires shipping as thru Ebay Amazon Etsy or even CL does not go thru the mall and they are fine with that so its a very flexible arrangment as long as we all play by the rules and the rules aren't bad at all. I also send people to my booth at the mall as what typically happens is they end up buying what they went to look at and usually other items also so thats a win. The danger is that they may decide to look thru the mall and not end up buying from you but that doesn't happen very often if you are priced competitively. I personally am very happy selling this way as there are a large number of smalls and even larger items that would take too much time and effort to sell on CL or elsewhere that I put in the shop (mall) and forget until it sells. As I'm sure you know you very quickly end up with a whole bunch of stuff that is worth more than a donation or yard sale price but not enough to list on Ebay or mess with at CL so the shop is great for that, Case in point. Got a very nice set of six hand painted wine glass stemware. If I'd have put them on CL or sell t a Yard sale I'd maybe have gotten 5 or 6 bucks for. If I'd have listed them on ebay the fees would have eaten the profits not to mention being hard to sell when you added shipping. So all six took up 64 square inches of shelf space in the shop (8x8 inches). They sat on that shelf forgotten until last saturday when the six sold for $18.99 for the set and I wsn't even there. So, after a 1.90 commission I ended up with 17.09 for something that would have been worth very little at a YS or on CL. So for me it works and an added benefit is that all that "stuff" that would be in boxes in my garage is out where it can be seen and sold. When I first took the space I did not sell enough to cover the rent for the first month. Month 2 I did. Now we are in month five and have sold 6.5 times the rent and are well into the profit zone and are growing and taking another space. It took us a couple months to get a feel for what sells and at what price and we did that by both trial and error and more importantly by making a list of what we put into our space them doing some detective work by looking at the other vendors spaces for how they were set up, what they had to sell and at what price. It gave us some good pointers. We also made sure we talked to any other vendors there to glean knowledge from their experience. The best vendors that are doing what we do have multiple spaces with an ecclecic mix of products and are doing as much as 70K a year in business at a 60 to 70% margin not including their time spent. So... it can be a great way to add another channel to your sales efforts just don't expect miracles right away and be sure to keep your space and inventory fresh every ten days. If you don't keep the inventory fresh, and buyers see the same old thing they will pass your space by. Even if all you do is spend a couple hours a week and just move things around, front stuff to the back, back to the front etc etc it makes it look new and buyers notice and stop to look. Hope this helps.. Let me know if you have any other questions I'm happy to help.

New to Storage Auctions? / Re: how to build up a clientel
« on: August 05, 2011, 11:03:31 PM »
That is correct. Do it by the locker. Here's what I do from buying to pricing and selling.

1. When I get that glimpse at a locker I try to be in the last few people as by then the auctioneer has been pushing people along and then as you are near last you actually get to stand there in front of the unit as the auction proceeds. This gives you added time to look at it and evaluate what you can see, That can make the difference in winning or losing by getting a better longer look.
2. I do my add ups of what value I can see from the door then take that number times 2.5 to arrive at the max I'll go. The 2,5 number is two times what I can see and .5 for a fudge factor so if I see 100 at the door my max bid would be 250.
3. Then after I win the locker I actually look to set my minimum sales value at 3 times the winning bid value to cover costs such as gas, cleaning fees, buyers premiums, dump fees and ebay fees etc etc. and PROFIT. So I'd be looking to get 750 minimum out of a locker I bought for 250.

That means I'd set my sales prices for the sellable items (in total) such that I'd get 750 or more out of it. If what I get hits or exceeds that 750 mark the locker was profitable and I made money, if not I reevaluate what I did in step 2 above for the next locker. Of course there is that factor of luck as you really don't know what is in the locker until you buy it.

Also as others have said you may only get 3 lockers in any given month and 15 the next, coupled with all the back end work to list and sell what you got and how long all that takes is so much of a moving target that it's nearly impossible to base earnings on $$ per day or week. Have I confused everyone yet? LOL.

What you need is three months worth of earnings cash in the bank that you can ride on thru the dry spells and that amount of money is over and above the locker buying funds. Now there are a lot of people who will take exception to what I do and say here and thats fine, this is just what I did and do and it is working. In the last year my plan has worked to the point where (with the exception of health insurance) I can nearly leave my full time job and do this full time. I sell on CL, ebay, ebay classifieds, etsy and others and also now have THREE booths at a local antique mall that my wife and I operate and stock from lockers, auctions, estate sales etc. It has been a long tough road but the rewards are coming more and more.

Another reason may be a sales in if it came from a storage auction the seller got it cheap so his asking price is a good deal....... Many people don't research items they just buy them.........

The thing is that the auctioneer won't sell the unit until everyone looks and the idiot or pro who starts the bidding at 100 or whatever will do so whether he she or you are first or last in line. You still get a look and someone thinks it's worth whatever they start at. What the auctioneer is trying to do is keep the process moving along. Could you imagine how long a dozen units would take to get auctioned off if the auctioneer waited for all 50 newbies/pros/lookey loos/thrill-curiosity seekers would take if he said ok lets all be quiet and let everyone get a good look and when looker number 50 is finally done and when anyone who wants a second look gets thru we will start the bidding?  If you are last in line and don't like where the bid is, get up front next time or don't bid, although as I said, if someone thinks the value is there the bidding will go where it will go. Thats just reality.

New to Storage Auctions? / Re: all cash sale but what about deposit?
« on: July 15, 2011, 08:23:41 PM »
no ones bashing you so just chill. As a newbie this is all good advice from those who have been there and from us who don't want to see even a newbie lose their ass on doing this. Nuf Said............

"Wow, didn't know I was going to get so bashed for asking a simple question   As you see I am a newbie and I am selling stuff around the house first but am also going to some auctions to get the lay of the land.  Anyway, being new I was just wondering if the $100 cleaning deposit was normal/high/or low. "

New to Storage Auctions? / Re: all cash sale but what about deposit?
« on: July 13, 2011, 06:52:31 PM »
Not wanting to be mean here but if you can't hande 100 bucks in cash for a cleaning deposit maybe your in the wrong business. I typically carry 3 grand (and a 9mm) when I go on a run and 500 for cleanng deposits as they vary by facility and as someone else said, many of the managers know me and know I ALLWAYS take everything out, NEVER use their dumpsters and sweep each unit clean so I don't get charged cleaning deposits a lot. I also like to pay for the units in cash because at that point the unit and everything in it is paid for and mine whereas I have overheard some newbies talking to their significant others about 'floating' the cost of buying a unit so they can get a good one and sell some stuff to pay off their credit card. Not smart. DO NOT get into this business unless you have cash you can afford to lose (just in case). DO NOT FLOAT a purchase with a credit card or cash advance. If you do you are asking for trouble because Murphy's law says that unit(s) bought on credit will be the suck ass money losing unit from hell. We started off by selling a bunch of items I had at home and no longer needed or wanted such as tools, furniture, jewelry, hunting gear etc etc. With that "SEED" money of about $900, my wife and I bought our first three units and didn't buy another until we sold enough stuff to replenish our "SEED" money. Now, we have three booths at antique malls, two onlne stores along with ebay CL and ETSY and we are actually "MAKING" money. We did not tap or use credit cards and won't. We'd rather walk away from a unit than do that. Ok Now I'll get off my soap box and I do apologize for rambling on it's just that in the last year I have seen many newbies come and go, buying units for way too much and thinking they were going to get rich so they bet the farm......... I don't want to see anyone get burned doing this and its an easy thing to do.................Ironman will now go back to sleep......ROTFLMAO......

General Storage Auction Talk / Re: Sorting advice
« on: July 11, 2011, 05:15:33 PM »
Believe me and I'm certain many others even us old timers agree that every quarter, dime, nickle and penny counts. I've been doing this and estates for a long time and I still dig in every nook and crany. 4 years ago my wife and I took a ten day Alaskan Cruise and we had enough money from all the change we gathered over the previous 5 years to pay for all the spending money we used on the cruise including excusions. I ended up with over 2K in misc. coins gathered up from all those nooks and crannies so keep on digging.

What's it Worth?? / Re: quarter fed slot machine by Mills
« on: July 11, 2011, 07:13:08 AM »
The other thing you will find is that the price will be higher or lower depending on the theme of the machie. I>E> a machine that is Elvis themed versus one that is Pokemon themed will get you many more dollars. There are a lot of Japanese made machines that have little Japanese cartoon like characters on them that go in the 300 to 600 range. The Mills machine is better so what is the machine theme?

New to Storage Auctions? / Re: How do YOU find auctions?
« on: June 27, 2011, 06:37:37 PM »
I work a full time job that requires 60 hours a week generally so for me I have precious little research time so I subscribe to Drew's list and find he does a great job with it. If your in the atlanta area check it out (or better yet don't check it out. less competition that way ----sorry Drew----LOL). Autionzip is ok but I'd suggest getting to know the auctioneers and getting on their mailing lists. Then there are the local legal ads that you can research thru but again thats time consuming. I've found that between Drews list, auctionzip and three auctioneers I have PLENTY of auctions to chose from.

General Storage Auction Talk / Re: Sorting advice
« on: June 27, 2011, 06:29:42 PM »
Yeah as disgusting as some of the finds can be my wife and I sort and search it all. We have a set of grubby clothes we wear (long pants long sleeves) then put on latex gloves and even a painters mask (the cheap paper kind). When we are done the masks and gloves go into the trash the clothes come off in my garage and go into a trash bag and straight into the washer. Overkill....possibly but after some of the **** we've found and then the dust and crud and stained whatever I'd rather do the overkill.

Now on the flip side, we have found hidden inside pockets, socks, drawers of dressors such items as an 1898 Morgan Silver Dollar, a ten dollar bill in a bible. Gift cards inside books and birthday cards that were still valid and have since been used and lotsa change. The best was inside a womens dress skirt there was an inside mini pocket the same black color as the dress about the size of a matchbook. In there were a pair of gold earings 14K and an 18K gold necklace very very fine chain size, So we do our due dilligence and search it all.

What's it Worth?? / Re: small cabinet
« on: June 26, 2011, 04:59:24 PM »
Auctions are a gamble for sure. Thats another reason I rented shop space at our local antique mall (see my other thread on that). Even though the space costs me 190 per month the buyers that come there are looking for vintage and antique deals. If that piece were here and mine it would have gone into my shop at $179.00 OBO and I can assure you i'd have gotten 139 or more for it. It sold for 75? was that your net or did the auction fees and premiums come off of that?
In my little 'shop' the larger pieces such as that one attact a lot of people in to look many many of whom end up buying up the 'smalls' such as collectibles, dolls, plates, candlesticks, old toys ayda yada.....

Other Forms of Selling / Reviving the thread - other forms of seling
« on: June 26, 2011, 04:51:13 PM »
Hey all, just reviving this question about the other forms of seling and whether or not anyone has had any more experience good or bad with it. We all know what works with the tradiional outlets I'm looking for the less than traditional ones people have tried such as:

1. Ebay classifieds
5. Yardsellers
or others.

Don't know about the rest of the country but here in Ga. if two people got into a fight at an auction the auctioneers would ban them for life from any of their further auctions. This show is so bad and so scripted and so faked that it should e banned for life .....or lack there of...   jmho

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