Well today I got one of those damn emails from one of my YouTube viewers about how I should get in contact with the guys on Storage Wars to learn how the business is really done! Perhaps they could give me a few pointers to enhance my game and help me out. I understand the composer of the email heart was in the right spot, and there was not even a lick of malice hanging out on the fonts. Nothing but love! I thanked him for his “recommendation” even told him I would check into that as soon as Rush Limbaugh attends a NAACP meeting.
After I pulled the wrinkle out my brow and spit out the disgust , I decided to tell the truth about storage auctions as I know it. I was doing my thing long before the shows cracked the light of your flat screen. In the beginning the “ reality shows” were more truth than fantasy a concept that has met its demise.One of my gifts to give you the skinny whilst maintaining a great deal of fat.
With the rabid popularity of Storage Wars ,Auction Hunters and that other show, ( Storage Hunters I think) storage auction attendance has never been higher.I have read many posts across the Internet ( and my inbox) of folks who have jumped into the storage auction business with no parachute nor research! Only a little hope and even less cash. Just like the Gold Rush of the 1800s, this dream started in California, you know that place with the concrete ponds and folks with stars in their eyes.
Expecting to strike it rich and retire to the island of their dreams in a few months or sooner, after coming up on one of those killer units like they show on TV in almost every episode. One problem with that business model, most Americans are not rich and most storage auction units contain regular , run of the mill stuff sometimes real trash( can you say soiled diaper?) . You can make money with “regular” stuff but you may have to put your plans on hold with the island purchase and your own person “Tattoo” .
I regularly read the twirling angst and hurt feelings about the business from the unfortunate people who lost their possessions to the sad saps that post their ire on one of the many storage auction forums to mushroom across the internet since 2010. One thing I noted earlier in the “boom” some of the folks who bought storage auction units whined, bitched and moaned more than the people who lost their possessions. I am still deeply puzzled on that one, perhaps shame kept them quiet.
Many of the disgruntled thought there were going to be gold doubloons in every storage auction unit. Some of those “chumps” I mean buyers are pretty hostile about not coming across so much as a speck of gold dust or even a lame leprechaun in their storage auction buys. The reality is everything you have read or heard about storage auctions is true!
Yes! It all is spot on!
Every word is the gospel as if Jesus Christ said it himself! Now before you get your britches twisted, know the context of those truths are more important than the actual truth. The fact is you can buy one unit and make a tremendous amount of money off that one unit, it happens, it happened to me. The converse is more frequent ,you can buy a storage auction unit and lose your ass and some weight if you are kinda hefty.
What we are speaking of here, is statistical probability, which in this case means you are going to come up short more often than you will win…..unless you know what you are doing, have an outlet for your purchases and are not afraid of back-breaking hard work and a dead rat or two.
Yes I typed dead rat-I have come across hundreds of dead rats and a few live ones in storage units but the roaches are the worst they sometimes follow you. More on rodents later.
What separates the storage auction winners from the losers is experience and scale and some luck usually masquerading as hard work.
Back in the early days of storage auctions ( before the TV shows) a guy and a pickup truck could make $35,000 to $50,000 a year or more, as a lone wolf, part time even. Store owners did far better income wise. Some guys can still do that well financially but most newbies can’t! It is not because you are not decent people and all, but you don’t know shit and some of you staunchly refuse to change that situation.
I know you deserve to win, because you are special, you mother told you that every day! Mom would never lie! Right? Hard work and proper preparation for new endeavors should not be part of the equation. Learning new things and paying dues are for suckers and you are not even close to be a sucker!
Brace yourself there is more to the storage auction business than pulling one really, really, really, really nice item out of a unit and running to an appraiser. You actually have to sell shit to make money! Meet customers, conduct constant marketing, move stuff , I know it is sooooooo fucking unfair! Speaking of appraisers none of the ones I worked with did their “ its worth x” thing for free! Maybe I was running in the wrong crowd.
Once the starry-eyed new storage auction buyer spends a few weeks or months out there on the storage auction trial. A brittle feeling of being bamboozled washes over their dry hopes. Already weary, irritated and ready to bitch slap someone. This is where the truck runs off the road, sans the seat belts. Call it the “ ah ha” moment, ah ha there is more to this shit than they told me about!
You must be skilled in social manners, ( know how to kiss ass) repairs, reconditioning, problem solving, procurement, human resources, marketing, logistics, inventory management, sales, customer service, pest control and an Internet savant to be really successful in the storage auction business, yes it is a business.
If you don’t treat it like one, chances of you being successful are about as good as a fat stripper with massive stretch marks having someone “ make it rain “ on her. Not saying it isn’t possible but highly unlikely in both cases. Unless you are one lucky bastard with a fetish for fat chicks with stretch marks. I have seen stranger haps in a storage unit, so anything is possible, you could win the lottery tomorrow.
Due to the magic that we call TV ,the shows make one of the hardest and time intensive businesses look far easier than it actually is. I would say they show you 8-10% of how the business really works.
I have yet to see one trip to the dump on TV, I know from personal experience that the dump can be fun and if you flirt with the girl in the office , she might even take a few pounds off your bill, but you did not hear that from me.
Let take a dive into the life of a “real” storage auction buyer. I will start with a 10 x 20 or a 10 x 30 ( very large storage units) which can contain the contents of a 4- 5 bedroom home, I mean everything from the relatives on the wall to the old football trophy in the basement from your letter-man days. Remember the last time you moved,?
You removed the stuff from the truck and put it in your home and took anywhere from a couple of weeks or months to pull everything out of the boxes? Well that is the feeling and pain you get when you clean out one well packed 10 x 20 or 10 x 30, now multiply that times 3- 10 storage auction units I would buy each week.
Does your back hurt yet?
That is the thing you don’t see on TV, the vast number of units you will need to buy to get those big scores and numerous trips to the dump! Roaches, rats and snakes like units so much they often move in and hang drapes. How would you feel if that couch you lived in and had over 300 of your children in was suddenly snatched away by some mean old storage auction buyer, how dare he!
I had about 36 really big hits( over $10,000 in value) ……..but I bought almost 1300 units at auction over 8+ years in the storage auction business, so that is not even 10% of the total of storage auction units I bought that yielded the juicy stuff you see coming out the units on TV every week.
A more reasonable expectation will be to double or triple your money on a routine basis. Spend $5000-$15,000 per month on product, have a truck, a warehouse , staff at least 4-6 people make sure you hire people who like strangers helps in the sales department. And you can be that six figure storage auction guy.
Did I leave anything out? Oh yeah expect to work 6-7 days a week as if you were a Irish potato farmer in the 1800s. If I have not scared you off, the rewards of the business are incalculable. my time going through the drawers , journals , computers and sometimes still full refrigerators changed my life. I learned more about my fellow-man that I thought was possible.
One of the mystical things I learned from the storage auction business was how husbands and wives hide shit from each other, shit like money, home-made porn ( produced with someone other than their spouse) and a few Snickers bars found in a hat box. Some people are so profoundly sentimental they saved recorded messages of departed loved ones. I did not understand saving a locks of hair not because they are disgusting, it is all they had left of dad. This family was tremendously happy to get those items back. In a nutshell the storage auction business is one of the last ways for a person of minimum skill sets to add some extra cheese to the budgetary whopper! Yes, it is hard work, yes there are huge crowds ( shrinking daily based on several reports I have gotten) yes you may/will lose on a storage auction unit here or there for me it was worth it, well worth. I guess you will just have ask the man in the mirror if it is worth it.