Storage War’s Dan Dotson has been steeped in auctions his entire life, starting out at the tender age of 11 when his grandfather, an auctioneer of cattle and farm equipment, began showing Dan the ropes. Since then, auctions have been a constant fascination for Dotson, who would spend summers working for his grandfather.
From then on, Dan has never strayed far from the auction scene, becoming known as a self storage auctioneer as well as an auctioneer of collectibles, antiques, furniture and estates. In 1983, he began American Auctioneers, which would first put him on the map as a top auctioneer.
Dan’s a prolific work-a-holic and is famous for usually running about 2 auctions per day for up to 6 days per week, and up to 1,500 in a good year. His American Auctioneers is responsible for handling everything from business close-out sales, to foreclosure auctions to sales for charity. His prodigious work ethic has certainly paid off for him now. It’s estimated that Dan Dotson is worth 3 and a half million dollars all told.
Laura was not only the apple of his eye but also a shrewd business woman, so the two collaborated on several auction based projects and their teamwork continues today, since they co-host Storage Wars and conduct their cadre of zany and eccentric storage pickers around the country looking for hot storage units and big scores.
Dan has the essential rapid fire patter you’d expect from a seasoned professional auctioneer. On Storage Wars, he calls out units very quickly and maintains order once the bickering starts following a tight bidding war. Check out this video to see Dan and his wife Laura in action on an estate sale, and to get an experience of Dan’s famous “heirloom chant” auctioneer calling.
Storage Auction Tips From Dan Dotson
Dan has built up a great deal of storage auction wisdom over his decades of selling units. One of the best storage auction tips Dan gave behind the scenes of Storage Wars regards “smelling out” units.
Of course, you can’t smell a storage unit when you’re watching it being sold on TV, but you can when you’re in person the scent, or stench, a unit gives off can be the greatest clue to its potential.
For example, musty newspapers have a very distinct odor, and the mustier they are, the older they likely are. Dave Hester took a big whiff of a unit on Storage Wars and it smelled like a winner, so he bought it and found collectible newspapers featuring Elvis on the front page.
Dotson also mentions that gasoline is another very distinct smell that can give you clues as to whether or not you’re likely to find valuable lawn care equipment in a given storage unit.