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Topics - Cobia

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General Storage Auction Talk / Fingerprints
« on: January 31, 2013, 10:20:06 AM »
Do any of you all wipe your fingerprints off of certain items you sell on Ebay or at the flea market or whereever? Things like firearms, ammunition, knives, electronics, jewelry, etc.?

The Lounge / When to Start Your Own Apparel Line
« on: January 23, 2013, 11:24:35 AM »
One of the "secrets" to the storage auction business is to generate income through your own clothing apparel line. This endeavor can be clothing designs you have created yourself, or having a proefessional designer create your brand and line and you just put your name behind it.

Many successful storage auction business people have their own apparel line, including Dave Hester, Jarrod Schultz, & Mike Baiotta.

The question arises, when is the best time to start your own clothing apparel line? Should you start it at the same time as you start going to auctions? Wait until you become an established buyer or local whale? When you have opened your own brick and mortar thrift shop? Or wait until you are featured in a reality TV show?

There is no right answer and everyone must decide for themselves when the right time to start their own storage auction related clothing line.

Stories about Storage Auctions / Noobies: buy first, think later!
« on: December 11, 2012, 12:19:26 PM »
Here's a couple of good "what not to noobie do" stories from this weeks auctions.

Noobie #1: Wins a 10 x 10 1/2 full, no problem, then wins a 10 x 20 full, somewhere between winning the bid and arriving at the next location he decides he doesn't have anywhere to put the contents of said 10 x 20 and so proceeds to walk through the crowd looking for someone to buy the room off of him at face value (what he paid). Duh! There's a reason why the HIGH bidder wins! It's cause nobody else wants to pay that much or more for the unit! Duh! Think you might know how much space you have BEFORE bidding on the unit? Of course that doesn't stop him from bidding on MORE units throughout the day!  :-[

Noobie #2: Wins a 10 x 20 3/4 full, proceeds to clean out the unit and then asks me "So, where do I sell all this stuff I got?" I tell him, "You could always take it to the flea market and start there." His response: "I don't have time to be selling things at the flea market!, this is my first time and I just bid for fun!" Duh! don't bid on units if don't have any plan or idea of what you are going to do with all that inventory! Then he said "there's bags and bags of clothes, do you buy clothes?" My reply, "Hells No!!"  :-\ Now put on your big girl panties and figure out what you are going to do.  :'(

The Lounge / Top Ten Forum Posts
« on: December 03, 2012, 08:45:02 AM »
Someone finally knocked Mr. Andersen off the Top Ten! Good show Alloro! ;D

Stores / Indoor Vendor's Malls
« on: November 07, 2012, 02:31:50 PM »
Just doubled the booth space at the vendors mall I sell at. Of course that means double the rent, so I need to double the sales (at least).

Glad the space came available though, the flea market I like has gotten a lot more competative, more vendors/sellers; and really no change in customer traffic.

Thought I would start a new thread about vendor's malls or maybe it should be it's own categorie under "The Marketplace"?

Online Storage Auctions / Online Storage Auction Websites
« on: September 25, 2012, 07:11:34 AM »
It seems that now at least two facilities in my area are going the online auction route. They are using these to websites/services.

This is not an endorsement of these 2 websites or the practice, just letting you know this might be a trend going forward. I can imagine that it's possible within the next 10 years as many as 50% of the facilities (or more) could be using these services.

It's also possible that this is a "fad" that only lasts a couple of years if the interest in buying storage lockers continue to decrease and the serious buyers reject the use of online auction websites.

My thinking is had these storage facilities and the website creators jumped on this format when the auction scene was getting really popular about a 1-1/2 years ago they probably would have been really successful. Not so sure now that the peak of interest seems to be over.

Garage Sales / Are Yard Sale Customers Really That Crazy?
« on: July 09, 2012, 08:42:36 AM »
How many of you yard sellers, flea marketers get this guy or gal at your sales...

So guy walks up and points to something on the table.

Crazy Guy: "Whats that?"

Me: "That is a (fill in the blank)"

Crazy Guy: "Oh, what does it do?"

Me: People use it for (fill in the blank)"

Crazy Guy: "Ah, how much you want for it?"

Me: "$50 dollars"

Crazy Guy: "I'll give you $10"

Me: "No, I will wait for someone who knows what it is, and really needs it and knows that $50 is a great deal."

So people are actually crazy enough to believe I'm gonna sell them something they knew nothing about so they can flip it for a profit?

General Storage Auction Talk / Joined the 500 club!
« on: July 05, 2012, 09:06:17 AM »
I am now an official member of the 500 post club! An achievement made by only 8 other members among the 2500 + who belong to this forum.

Jrossjr79 (who has forsaken us for the storage treasures forum  ;))
Drew (Administrator)

Other Forms of Selling / Auction House no longer taking junk!
« on: May 23, 2012, 08:49:52 AM »
I went to a local auction house that I have been doing business with for the last three years, before I started doing storage auctions. I typically take them antique furniture, lower end pieces, and little nick-nack pieces of furniture that are not worth the hassle to sell on Craigslist (i.e. small storage racks, baker's racks, odd chairs, computer desks, small tables, end tables, etc.)

Well I took a load to them so they could sell it while I was on vacation, and when they looked at what I had (the usual stuff I bring) they said they could'nt take it, it wasn't worth enough! The guy I was talking to said sales are continueing to decline and they are having financial difficulties. He walked me around the showroom and showed the prices the furniture sold for at the last auction. Some of it I was amazed at how cheap it sold for, others I thought to myself well yea, it's ugly as chit and nobody will buy it, so as a re-seller why buy it! It sounds like more and more of thier client base is re-sellers and not retail customers. They have been in business for 30+ years so I trust they know what they are doing.

Anyway, I had to sweeten the deal with some nicer furniture for them to take the whole lot. If this is going to be the case from here on out, I am definitely going to have to back off on bidding on lower end units that typically have these odd, lower quality furniture pieces. At gas over $3 a gallon I am not going to run back and forth to try to sell $5-$10 computer tables, and bookshelves to Craigslist buyers.

Craigslist / Craigslist observations
« on: May 22, 2012, 08:05:11 AM »
I have noticed that calls and emails about items I have for sell have dropped tremendously since this time last year. At first I was concerned until I started thinking about the nature of the calls and emails. The emails 70% of the time were scams and they still are about 50% of the time now, but the major change is with the calls. Last year probably 70% or more of the calls were from "tire kickers" "bargain hunters" or "pickers". I would say only about 25% of the calls I get now are from those types. In fact so few people are calling with the tired "Whats the least you will take" or "Whats your bottom dollar" lines, that I have been able to chase those callers and emailers off and not try to deal with them like I was last year. Although the phone has been quiet, when it does ring it tends to be a serious customer.

Have you all noticed any changes on Craigslist?

General Storage Auction Talk / TYPES OF STORAGE AUCTION BUYERS.
« on: May 03, 2012, 09:18:57 AM »
We might have discussed this in other threads, but I just wanted to describe them all here in one thread. We all have seen different types of people with different motivations for going to and buying units at auction. I thought I would describe some of the various types of people (based on their behavior; not race, ethnicity, religion, etc.) that I have witnessed at auctions. Please feel free to add any that I have missed or expand on the ones I have listed.

1. The Entreprenuer: This is the quintessential auction buyer that most auction goers aspire to be. This person is most often a full time regular who runs a successful retail store, has a large truck, or multiple trucks, and has multiple employees to help process the units. AKA THE WHALE.

2. The Treasure Hunter: This is an auction buyer whose motivation for buying units is to find valuable items, collectibles, antiques, gold, etc. Typically the have plenty of money to spend so losing money is not a concern. Sometimes they buy a lot of units, and sometimes they just cherry pick the good looking units. AKA BARRY.

3. The Specialist: This is an auction buyer you tend to see quite often at auction, but hardly ever bids. He or She is waiting for the one special item or class of items to bid. Let the door open on a unit and sitting inside is a Bobcat skidsteer or room full of sound & stage equipment and they will come out of nowhere with $10,000 or more in hand to win the unit. AKA THE NINJA.

4. The Gambler: This is an auction buyer who seems to have little real interest in re-selling household goods, running a store, or making a "profit". Their motivation is in the thrill of bidding itself. They tend to be on the look out for the Entreprenuers and the Treasure Hunters and find pleasure in competing against these rivals in the bidding process. Actually winning a unit from the other serious buyers is their form of "profit" or satisfaction. AKA THE P.I.T.A.

5. The Part-Timer: This auction buyer can actually fall into some of the other categories, but tend to be buyers with other sources of income so they are not reliant on the money generated from storage units to live. Some are trying to grow into a full-time business and become an Entreprenuer, others are happy to just be a Treasure Hunter or a Specialist or a Gambler. They tend to come and go from the auction scene because they either can't or don't want to go to all of the auctions. AKA THE HOBBYIST.

6. The Bargain Shopper: This is an auction buyer who is not interested in re-selling or making a "profit". They are only motivated by the concept of finding furniture or household goods cheaper then what it would cost them to buy at retail stores. These are the buyers who bid a unit well beyond profitability for the re-sellers but in their mind are still getting a great deal on the merchandise they see in the unit. AKA THE BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL.

7. The Novice: This is an auction buyer who is completely motivated by the "get rich quick" atmosphere of all the Storage Auction TV shows. They tend to do little or no research about the industry before jumping in head first into buying storage units. Almost all burn out within 3 months, and the few who do have the perseverance to learn from their mistakes and keep working the business will graduate into one of the other categories of auction buyers. AKA THE NEWBIE.

8. The Desperado: This is an auction buyer very similar to The Novice but with a twist. They are motivated to make money anyway they can. This type of buyer gives the impression that they are down on their luck, looking to score the jackpot or just try to make a decent income, and they throw the last of their savings, tax return money, or unemployment compensation into buying storage units. They are desperate to win a unit, any unit, and unfortunately they pay the price and do win. AKA THE HARD TIMER.

9. The Curious: This is an auction buyer who really knows nothing about the business, really isn't that interested in learning the business, and many times just stumbles into an auction by accident. They think it is some kind of social entertainment and end up being the ones who bid and win units and then tell the auctioneer or facility manager they don't have any money or they really didn't want to win the unit, they were just bidding for fun. AKA THE DUMBA$$.

General Storage Auction Talk / Lost money at the auction.
« on: April 01, 2012, 05:10:52 PM »
Well this is probably one of our greatest fears and we don't talk about it too much but it happened at an auction recently, somebody dropped $700 on the ground. Not winning a unit makes for a bad day, loosing your bidding money makes for a really bad day,week,month,etc.

Helpful Tips:

Keep your hands out if your pockets!
Don't keep other things in your money pockets like cigarette, lighters, cell phones, sunglasses, etc.
Wear pants, shorts, with zippered or buttoned pockets.
For God sakes, don't wear old jeans or pants with holes in the pockets!
Spread your money around (for you high rollers out there) have some money in a couple different pockets and some back at the car/truck.
Don't pull your wad of money out to try and impress other auction goers as to "how deep your pockets are".
For the guys, consider a man purse, fanny pack, or backpack for carrying your dough.

The Treasure Chest / Nazi Silver
« on: February 02, 2012, 07:46:34 AM »
Found my first silver coins in a unit! Woo, Hoo; Ahoy there matie! I'm a real treasure hunter now!

Found a small locked coin box, busted it open and instead of US pennies; it actually had a real coin collection! Some of the more interesting coins were about 6 silver coins from Nazi Germany. They are not rare by any means, you can by them on Ebay, but it's still seems eerily strange to hold coins with Swatstikas minted on them. The coins themselves based on Ebay rates are worth about $80.

There are about 150 other coins in the collection. Most seem to be modern world coins so little monetary value. I did find some older German/Prussian coins so they might have as much or more value then the Nazi era coins.

I will update the total value once I identify all the coins.

Keep Hunting!

Stories about Storage Auctions / The Violin
« on: January 12, 2012, 07:32:35 AM »
So my wife works at a music repair shop. The other day a guy walks in and asks if they buy musical instruments. She says sometimes, what do you have? The guy says he has a violin he wants to sell. She tells him to bring it in they will look at it, determine what condition it is in, and give him a value and an offer if they are interested. So the guy goes back to his vehicle, brings back the violin and hands it to my wife. As my wife looks it over he tells her he does storage auctions as a hobby/business and got this violin from a storage locker. Well we have to give the guy credit for trying to do his do diligence in getting the violin appraised and perhaps sold. Unfortunately for our unnamed competitor, the violin he gave my wife was a "VINO" violin in name only. It was a childs toy, and beat to crap at that. After looking at it for a couple of moments she broke the bad news, "Sorry, this isn't even a musical instrument, it's a toy."

Of course I don't know the particulars about this storage auction buyer, or what he spent on that unit, but the way prices have been lately I can only imagine he spent in the neighborhood of $500, went through the unit finding nothing but common household junk, and thought this violin was his "Dave Hester like" saving item from the unit.

Would'nt you love to see something like this happen to Alan and Ton? I know I would!

Other Forms of Selling / Ebay vs. Flea Market
« on: November 22, 2011, 07:34:31 AM »
This is an analysis comparing a recent sale of two identical items, selling one at flea market, the other on Ebay. I do not suppose this is the only way to look at sales or the best way to look at sales, I just think it is interesting information.

Item: Vintage Hot Wheels toy

Flea Market: sold for $1.00

time spent: sorting and putting in tote = 30 seconds, sales transaction = 30 seconds. total time= 1 minute

additonal cost: fuel = negligible, table rental = negligible, total cost = $0

Return = $1.00 per minute = $60 per hour.

Ebay: sold for $6.50

time spent: research = 15 minutes, boxing/weighing = 3 minutes, listing = 8 minutes, posting/shipping = 4 minutes, delivery conformation = 1 minute, leave feedback = 1 minute. total time = 32 minutes

additional cost: listing fees = $0.30, shipping fees = $0.15, Ebay fees = $0.90, PayPal fees = $0.30, total cost = $1.65

Return = $4.85 per 32 minutes = $9.09 per hour.

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