With the public’s awareness of local storage auctions becoming more and more pronounced in recent months, some folks are turning their storage rummaging hobby and pastime into something far more lucrative and sustainable. A locally-supplied home-run business. The basics of setting up your own home business using local storage auctions as your supplier are simple: you need to bring in enough discounted goods via smart storage auction purchases, then appraise and refurbish the worthwhile stuff, and then resell it either via online auction sites like eBay or local listing directories like craigslist. If you are careful to price your items to move, but still high enough to turn you a profit based on what you paid for the storage unit, you can even use your front lawn as your selling floor and a couple well-placed signs on major roads for advertising.
Becoming Your Own Business Through Storage Locker Sales
Essentially what you are doing is making yourself into a retail store, while avoiding the high overhead costs and initial investment capital usually necessary to get a new retail store off the ground. The best way to figure out if using local storage auctions to provide you with inventory will work for you is to try it out first, on a small scale. Just attend one of the mini storage sales in your area. You can check the newspaper for postings about when the next public mini storage auction is coming up. Bring $100-200 for your first time, and keep an eye out for a small unit, probably around 5×5, that looks pretty densely packed. Avoid units that are primarily made up of clothes and other personal junk like blankets and trash bags.
What to Look For in a Mini Storage Unit
You want to focus your efforts on neatly boxed up units and units with several identifiable items of value. For example, if you can say, Oh, there’s a TV, there’s an upscale coffee maker, and there are a couple of board games that I could probably resell at a yard sale for $2-5 each, then you’ve got yourself something of interest. When the bidding starts, your aim is to get the entirety of the unit for about half of what you think you could make by reselling everything inside it at discounted prices. The biggest mistake new auction hunters make is to over-inflate the value of the things they see inside a unit they want simply because they are excited. Keep your emotions reined in and undervalue the items inside while making a quick tally of their worth. Now half this number and don’t bid a dollar above it.
Winning a Local Mini Storage Unit
If you win the unit, you get to pay the auctioneer or the storage company the full amount following the conclusion of the auction. Most auctioneers and storage companies prefer cash. Credit card sometimes works. Personal checks are almost never accepted, under the assumption you’d just pack up your things, bounce a check, and never be heard from again. Once you have paid up, the property manager will help you to get access to your unit and you can begin stuffing all your new winnings into your car.
Sift and Sort
Now you can head home and start sorting through the goods. Separate the objects of obvious value and do your best to clean them up. If they are electronics or appliances, test them to see if they work. Plug them in and make them do what they are supposed to do. If they don’t do what they are supposed to do, take note of this and knock even more off their resale price. Once you have everything more or less sorted out, you can start listing your items on eBay and craigslist. eBay is a great catch-all solution for selling just about anything, big or small, sentimental or highly technical. eBay is also ideal for extremely obscure offerings. If you can find the right name for it and make a listing for it, chances are someone will buy it from you.
What Should Go on Craigslist.com
Craigslist is better for larger items of general interest. For example, standard and decent looking pieces of furniture, coffee tables, lamps, small couches, paintings, wall hangings and the like. If it is too large to comfortably ship to an eBay buyer, just post it on craigslist for a reasonable price. If you are not sure if your asking price is reasonable, just put OBO in the post to signify ” or best offer”.
All the rest of it you can put out for a yard sale, should you have enough of it. If you have other things in your home you’ve been meaning to get rid of, now is a great time to lump everything together and try to make some cash extra cash!
Step Back and Reevaluate
If you finish this whole process with more money than you initially put into it, and you found that you didn’t hate the entire undertaking, and, better yet, even enjoyed it a little, then try buying up two storages next time you hit a local auction.