Guest Post: Storage Auction Types

Today we’re featuring a guest post by Matt Schexnayder, one of Sparefoot’s marketing team-members. SpareFoot is the largest online marketplace for self-storage. With more than 5,000 self-storage facilities listed nationwide, SpareFoot offers consumers the most complete comparison shopping experience in the storage industry.

It has been a big part of the national moving and storage industry for over 3 years. Matt also writes for the SpareFoot Blog as well as a blog for self-storage facility operators at SelfStorage.com.

Storage Auction Types

With the recent popularity of shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters, more and more people are attending storage auctions. Storage auctions typically occur when self-storage units have been abandoned or a tenant has over stayed their agreed upon time limit. After that, the facility manager will hold an auction to the public allowing for people to bid on its contents. If you have never been to one, you should consider attending, it really is a lot of fun.

What most people don’t know about storage auctions is that there are two different types that can occur. The first involves auctioning off the contents of the unit as an entire package. Those bidding in these types of auctions will view the content from the front where the door opens or rolls up. Meaning that they can only make a bid on what they see and guess what might also be hidden beyond that (much like what is done on Storage Wars).

Typically, these kinds of storage auctions involve a professional auctioneer, but some managers do choose to handle their own auctions.

The second of the two storage auction types involves auctions of single items. These kinds do rely on a professional paid auctioneer to manage the process but also allow for the person bidding to get a good view of the items, which may or may not include some sort of vehicle or some premium merchandise like valuable antiques.

This type may also be combined with the first, where those premium items are sold separately while the rest of the items are sold in bulk.
Either way, there is a considerable opportunity to pick up some great stuff at a cheap price.

In smaller cities, for example at Colorado Springs storage facilities, auctions may not be held quite as often as in larger cities, but you should think about making the trip; it really is quite an experience. Just think of it as the modern approach to garage or yard sales and who knows, maybe you will come across some forgotten treasure.

-Thanks Matt! Be sure to check out Sparefoot.com if you’re looking for the best deals on storage in your area.

Spotlight: MyStorage-Solutions.com

Today we’re putting the spotlight on a local storage company that’s making big waves – being filmed by Storage Wars big!

With 30 years of experience in the self-storage business, this company is doing a lot of things right when it comes to taking care of their tenants and running their facilities well enough to catch the attention of the Storage Wars crew.

Their Highland Self Storage Facility in San Bernardino, California was chosen for filming and you can currently see it featured in Episode 7 of Storage Wars’ Second Season. Let’s take a look at some of the design elements that makes their website an example of a well put together self storage portal.

Operating Cave Creek Self Storage Phoenix, AZStoney Creek Self Storage Highland, CA and Highland Self Storage San Bernardino, CA, these folks have a slick, helpful website that’s worth a look. MyStorage-Solutions.com is the web portal for the overall company and it has a couple of key design winners that storage owners and managers should take note of.

Easy on the eyes, fast to to load and simple to navigate, MyStorage-Solutions makes it simple for visitors to find their locations and get in touch with company representatives, two things every self storage website should do.

Visitors can read about the types of storage units for rent, read customer testimonials and learn about special offers, such as the free use of a moving truck. These elements are essential for converting curious visitors into paying customers – if your storage website doesn’t already feature these pages, it definitely should.

What truly speaks to modern convenience is MyStorage-Solutions’ integration with an online payment system that feeds directly into SiteLink, storage facility management software. This system allows current tenants to pay their rent from the comfort of their own home (or anywhere their travels might take them) and it totally eliminates the hassle of trying to get in touch with your property’s manager when you’re out of town or on the go.

Best of all, the payments feed automatically into SiteLink, meaning that the system will update the customer’s account to reflect payments made. This cuts out the risk of incurring late fees when you can’t reach the facility manager and makes payment a breeze for MyStorage-Solutions customers.

With more than 9500 companies using SiteLink worldwide, it’s the premium choice for reliability – and now MyStorage-Solutions customers can take advantage of easy online payments to make their storage experience even simpler. I’m seeing plenty of other companies that use SiteLink on their properties but haven’t yet made the effort to link up their systems for online payments.

My own customers raved about the new system when we finally began offering online storage payments because it just freed up so much time for them.

Combining visual appeal, ease of use and a full-fledged online payment system, MyStorage-Solutions is doing an exemplary job of using the web to make self storage a more fluid process for their customers.

Getting Washington Storage Auction Listings

Washington is a particularly exciting state for storage auctions for a few reasons. For one thing, Washington has a relatively high per capita income, meaning that the resident wealth of the state will often translate into excellent storage unit findings. Many well-to-do storage customers in this state will use their sheds to keep valuable furniture and household goods secured while they are away, or as a temporary safe haven for valuables when they are moving homes or renovating their current one.

The state boasts over 1400 active storage facilities, which means you can rely on fairly frequent storage listings for your region of Washington state. If you’re looking to leverage discounted goods found in storage shed sales into a retail or recycling business, you’ve got a great likelihood of success if you subscribe to premium storage auction listings.

To get a 10% discount on your storage unit auction list subscription, use this coupon code: Auctionkings1.

Visit Storage Unit Auction List and make sure to pop in your coupon code: Auctionkings1 during checkout to receive your discount! You can also call the friendly folks from Storage Unit Auction List at 1-800-353-8417 for personal assistance. To find out more about how this service works, just click here. Your Washington state auction list will cover all the auction hotspots including Spokane auctions and storage sales happening in Snohomish, Peirce, and Benton. You will get storage auction list coverage for Thurston, Vancouver, and Tacoma. You can keep yourself very well supplied via Washington state storage sales if you know when and where they’re happening!

Some of Washington State’s storage auction laws stipulate that at least 5 bidders must be present before a unit can be sold. Most of the self storage facilities you’ll find on your list are still going to request that you don’t enter the units at all and that you absolutely do not touch anything, even if you’re simply curious and trying to get a better sense of the unit and its contents.

Most times, the property inside still doesn’t belong to anyone new, the storage company is simply enforcing a lien on it in order to recoup their financial losses, so make sure you don’t pull any auction fouls by putting your mitts on something that isn’t yours yet!

Storage sales in Washington state can be fun, lucrative and frequent enough to keep fledgling retail businesses or eBay power sellers in plenty of usable stock and fresh inventory. Get in on the winnings today!

To get a 10% discount on your storage unit auction list subscription, use this coupon code: Auctionkings1.

Visit Storage Unit Auction List and make sure to pop in your coupon code: Auctionkings1 during checkout to receive your discount! You can also call the friendly folks from Storage Unit Auction List at 1-800-353-8417 for personal assistance. To find out more about how this service works, just click here.

The Most Secure Locks for Self Storage

If the facility you store with is even halfway decent, there should be many different lines of defense before a potential infiltrator could even get near your locker. However, having worked as a storage manager I’ve seen cases of theft and break-ins even in well-maintained facilities. The fact of the matter is that’s its simply impossible for a single manager to keep tabs on what everyone on property is doing at a given time. Security cameras are in place to act as a deterrent to would-be thieves, but they can only offer after-the-fact assistance in the case of someone determined to get into your valuables; once your stuff is already long gone.

Security gates should only allow access to current tenants, but it’s possible to follow someone onto the property and some old facilities have fencing and perimeter systems that anyone can easily scale to gain access to the property after hours. When it really comes down to it, putting a serious fat padlock on your locker is the best thing you can do to provide that extra layer of protection that might force a burglar to choose your neighbor’s less defended locker over your own. This post will rundown the best storage locker padlocks you can buy today. Some of these bad boys get my personal recommendation for all the times they were a total pain in my ass to remove for customers who had misplaced their keys.

The Chateau Disc Lock

This disc lock offers a solid combination of security and ease-of-use. In fact, its just as fast for you to take on and off as the owner as any other simple padlock. Just one twist of the key will get you in and out. However, it’s a much different story for anyone hoping to tamper with your lock. These disc locks are an official pain in my ass to remove, hence I strongly recommend them for the average self storage customer.

super secure disc lock for self storage customersSee that rounded latch that’s only partially exposed at the top of the lock? That piece right there is specially hardened and impossible to cut with regular bolt cutters. It just can’t be done. I’ve tried multiple times and I’m a big guy. Meanwhile, there’s no where on the lock body itself for industrial bolt cutters to find purchase, meaning this lock will reliably defeat any pair of bolt cutters your average thug would have on hand. This means that anyone serious about getting through a disc lock is going to need to have an angle grinder on hand.

There are two reasons it’s not easy to let fly with an angle grinder on these locks to break into someone’s storage unit. For one thing, angle grinders make an ungodly amount of noise and take some degree of knowledge to operate correctly against a stationary rounded lock without severing your own femoral artery when the tool slips and kicks back at 7200 rpm. The amount of noise they make means that a decent manager is likely to hear someone trying to cut a lock, know that no maintenance is scheduled, and go to check out the scene.

The second reason it’s not really nice and easy for angle grinder wielding thieves to get through your disc lock to access your storage stuff is that most facilities don’t offer free electrical outlets all over the place. Inside the storage wings it’s unusual to see open and accessible outlets because the designers of most storage properties don’t want tenants just linking up their satellite equipment from inside their unit and starting to run a small business on the storage company’s utility bill. This means a thief with a corded  angle grinder is going to need a gas powered generator and a lot of determination to break into your storage unit.

It is possible to “rake” these storage locks open with a combination of a professional pick and a homemade tool, but this takes an intermediate to advanced knowledge of lock-picking to do quickly and effectively. All in all, this chateau disc-lock is one of the most widely used locks on storage properties today.

Master Lock’s Brass Coupler Lock

Similar in theory to the disc lock is the Brass Coupler lock that also fits snugly over most storage locker doors, keeping the hardened bolt concealed beneath the shed door hardware itself. This coupler lock is also designed with anti-picking technology in mind to try to deter the crafty from simply popping it off. Its brass finish also allows it to better withstand the elements should you be using it to secure your externally facing storage shed.

secure brass coupler lock for self storage tenantsJust looking at it makes you want to take your bolt cutters and grinder on’ down the line…

Master Lock’s Titanium Shrouded Padlock

Check out this beasty boy with its Titanium shoulder’s hunched up over the bolt. Affordable and meaty, this stout little padlock is a good choice for storage tenants that have storage shed hasps that can accept the bolt going in and coming out.

stout titanium shrouded lock for storage shed haspsEven if you can only fit it through one of the slots on your shed’s hasp, it will do a good job of securing your valuables. Again, there’s no place for a traditional lock-cutter to bite on this padlock.

 

For Combo Lock Lovers

Check out this similar take on the classic shrouded lock that features combo access for tenants good at remembering numbers but bad at remembering keys. Notice the specially hardened bolt. Combo access is at the bottom via four wheels.

combo based shrouded lock with hardened bolt for self storage

 

How Storage Managers Are Simplifying Auction Day Listings – StorageTreasures.com Review

When it comes to getting ready for your first auction day as a property manager for a storage company, you’ll likely experience brief moments of panic, during which you become certain that you are forgetting something crucial.

“Here come the lawsuits” you begin to think, as you envision the legally required steps you’ve neglected to take and wonder how long you’ll keep your job after the last auction hunter drives away.

Although auction day doesn’t have to be scary and it gets much easier even the second time you run one, the last thing you need to worry about is advertising your sale through the proper channels in order to drum up a decent turn-out of buyers.

Why You Should List Your Facility’s Auctions Well In Advance

Let’s face it: without auction buyers you’ve got no revenue and no chance of clearing out the problematic accounts that have jammed up your space, occupied your time and drained your patience for several consecutive months. For these reasons, ensuring a good turn out of motivated buyers with cash-on-hand is much more important than most new storage managers realize.

In fact, many newbie managers seem to think that droves of auction hunters are just going to magically appear come auction time – and that they’re all going to know the drill.

You can’t control who shows up at your storage sales – but you can make a big difference in how many interested buyers know exactly when and where your next auction is being held. StorageTreasures.com is a new site that provides a necessary service for storage facility managers that handle their own auctions of delinquent lockers.

What Does Storage Treasures Do For Managers?

What StorageTreasures.com does is take the hassle out of posting and maintaining your auction day listings. You can cross one thing off your busy pre-auction to do list by handing over the process to the folks at StorageTreasures, who will streamline posting, advertising and maintaining your listings. Best of all, you can choose between a free account, or two different paid accounts, all of which provide different capabilities and advantages. Even if you or your company isn’t ready to take the plunge and use one of the paid account options yet, you can still get a lot of use out of the free storage treasures accounts.

Signing Up for Storage Treasures

I recently signed up to give the system a test run and found it intuitive and pretty quick to get going. When you first land on the homepage you just click register and the system will guide you through the process step-by-step. The most important thing to do is to specify whether you are an auction hunter or a storage facility – choosing either of these options will lead you to very different outcomes! Signing up as a facility gives you the option to specify whether you are an owner or manager and then brings you to your profile page where you can upload a photo and fill-in some basic information about your company like its name, address and the like.

 The Difference Between Free and Paid Accounts

Once you’re up and running, you’ll notice the option on the left sidebar to add facilities under the “My Facilities” tab. Clicking add facility will bring you to the “Account Types” page, where you can opt into either a free community account, a month by month paid corporate account, and a year to year corporate account. Note that both types of paid accounts will cost you on a per-facility basis.

If you want to stick with the free account, you’ll have access to the basic functions of the site, such as making your profile, submitting auction sales to the database and e-mail based tech support.

Opting into either of the paid accounts gives you a great deal of advanced features like the ability to attach coupons to your listing, as well as a link back to your website and information on your gate hours.You can even add general descriptions of the goods being sold to increase the likelihood of a motivated turn-out of auction buyers.

Paid accounts can also upload photos and videos of their facilities and units, increasing your brand awareness, generating pre-sale buzz over your goods, ensuring people will be able to recognize your site come auction day, and generally drumming up more excitement and therefore more buyers. All of these premium features make for an excellent pre-auction tool box that managers can use to streamline their auction preparations and increase revenue, especially when corporate is willing to foot the bill for the account upgrade!

All of these sale-day features are nice, but the real allure of the premium storage treasures account is the somewhat unbelievable level of support you’ll receive from storage auction experts and lawyers specializing in self storage cases. Everything from legally verified lien documents (tailored to your state) to special help forums and the ability to directly contact legal professionals with decades of expertise in storage auctions and related legal issues becomes immediately available to facilities that opt-into either the month-by-month or yearly subscription plans.

Paid accounts also get the ability to call in directly for live phone support, which is something I know many managers prefer because sometimes a decision needs to be made immediately and there’s no time to sit around waiting for an e-mail response.

All in all, I think $25 a month is something many storage companies will find to be a tremendous value given everything that comes with it – many companies already pay out the wazoo just to get legal counsel through the Self Storage Association’s legal network. For some companies, a paid account at storage treasures could be an excellent way to kill two birds with one stone.