Interview With a Storage Auction Guru: Walt Cade

Today I had the pleasure of chatting with Walt Cade, a veteran storage auctioneer who was kind enough to share his time and experiences with me. If you haven’t heard of Walt before, you can check him out at his auctioneer website. Walt has a tremendous amount of energy and professional showmanship that he brings to his auctions, and he’s a gentleman to boot. Read on to find out about Walt’s take on the health of the industry, the craziest thing he’s ever found in a unit, and his advice for newcomers to the storage auction scene!

S.A.K: I have to ask you about your famous chant – the incredibly rapid fire bid counting you do – is that a skill you were born with or did it take some time to master?

Walt Cade: People love something different, I have a Caribbean chant that I use when its necessary to move quickly and to create some fun in an auction that needs a bit more entertainment value. Its just somethign I picked up in the Caribbean on the islands and blended it with my Texas Chant.

S.A.K: What is the craziest experience you have ever had while running an auction?

Walt Cade: When we opened a storage unit and found a coffin!

S.A.K: Do you know people that have made steady money from storage auctions? Do you think it is possible to make a side income from auctions if you have the determination?

Walt Cade: Used to I would have said yes, but its becoming more difficult. People are showing up with big rolls of money, paying more money to buy a unit, then putting it on their Huge Square footed, store shelves for a premium price. This has put so many of the smaller hobbiest buyers out of the market for buying.

S.A.K: How do you feel about the recent spate of reality TV shows focusing on storage auctions? Have they negatively impacted the industry or do they provide important visibility for auctioneers and storage managers?

Walt Cade: I cannot comment on TV shows and storage Auctions at this time! Sorry

S.A.K: Talk to me about your mobile auction unit. How did this idea come about? How has it changed the way you do business?

Walt Cade: I have a Mobile Auction Center “MAC”, its primary purpose is good advertising. Its my mobile office, and cashier center on one side , and it also has the ability to serve light snacks and drinks all the way up to full concession if need be. It allows me to conduct an auction without having to included a concessionaire, I can handle it myself if need be. While a concessionaire is preferred, I often have an auction that I cannot get one to handle it.

S.A.K: As a veteran auctioneer, what words of advice do you have for newcomers to the storage auction scene? What things do you wish more storage auction buyers knew?

Walt Cade: Get serious, Don’t try to do it on such a small scale that you lose out. When looking at a unit, make sure you have an immediate market to move the merchandise you might be taking with you. If not, you may be stuck with a truck load of junk and no money. You must be able to move the merchandise. If you want to be an occassional buyer, you wont be taken very seriously and may find it hard to compete. Just buy what you know you can move quickly for a profit. If you are not sure dont buy. The biggest problem I see if folks want to take $100 and turn it into thousands, It can happen, but it doesnt happen everyday they dont understand that! There is a combination of skill and luck at every turn.

Thanks so much for your time Walt!

Be sure to check out Walt at his website, where you can see his upcoming auctions, more pictures and specs of his mobile auction center, and details of the Big Scores he’s seen over the years!