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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Storage Heroes Tips - A Compilation

 We've been posting these tips in each blog or every so often and we've decided to copy them here, mainly, well, because Rebecca can't keep the #s straight anymore!   Here's what we have so far and we'll add more here when we have new ones.  Check back often!   Here we go:

Storage Heroes Tip #1:   

When finding a box of "personal items" - don't just say "oh, this whole box is personal items, let's just bring the whole box to the office" --  that would be a big mistake.  You shouldn't ever be lazy, being thorough will be the difference between whether your unit brings you hundreds or thousands in profit. Go through that entire box with a fine-toothed comb, because you should know that it is easier to guard one city than two-- and for that reason, people do not scatter their valuables around-- they always put them in one place (this is why safes and jewelry boxes exist in the first place).  So, whether something is valuable on the market, or valuable to the person... there is a chance it will be someplace special surrounded by special items around it.   I can't tell you how many times we have found gold or silver inside boxes of photographs.

Storage Heroes Tip #2:  Although it's easy to say that "high dollar items come from high dollar neighborhoods"  (and that is sometimes true),  remember also that "high dollar"  individuals may also have the high dollar funds necessary to recover their items from storage!   We have found some of our best jewelry in some of the poorer neighborhoods.    Don't stereotype, just think outside the box! 

Storage Heroes Tip #3:  Set your bids at 50% of what your perceived value of the unit is, based only on items you can see, and only on items that you can see.  It's not worth it to do all of the work for a profit margin of less than 50%.

Storage Heroes Tip #4:    Breaking facility rules (leaving something in a unit, throwing your trash around, putting things in the on-site dumpster you shouldn't be putting in, coming and going after hours, etc)  -- is NOT a way to get ahead in this business.  You anger them, you ruin your chances of being able to come back to the same spot and buy again.  And they can and WILL ban you from auction.  

Storage Heroes Tip #5:   We're not suggesting that you bribe facility management by any means, and in fact, there are some things they can not and will not tell you under any circumstances-- BUT, it always goes a long way to ask them if they need a beverage, offer to make a coffee run, bring cookies, whatever, wherever you can.  At the very least, smile, and be polite & thoughtful.  These people are your allies, and if they like having you around, it can make all the difference in the world.   Not in winning bids (that's illegal) , but it helps to have someone who will give you a bottled water or lend you a broom or run you a bathroom key in a pinch. 

Storage Heroes Tip #7:  Make sure you arrive at auction prepared!  Not having a lock, the proper amount of money,  or your necessary and required paperwork (drivers license, tax resale information, etc) - is NOT cute or funny.  It's annoying and rude to everyone involved in the storage auction process. For suggestions of what you should bring, visit our What's in the Bag? post to find out what we bring to auction.

Storage Heroes Tip #8:   It's not always about finding treasure.  As long as you can make a profit (and have fun), that's what counts.  People who give up after the first locker where there isn't obvious treasure don't deserve to be in this business.

Storage Heroes Tip #9:  Don't be surprised by all the jerks, freaks, and total nutjobs you'll encounter at Garage Sales and via Craigslist.   Just keep an even head and remember that it's pretty funny when you think about it (later).  For some of our experiences, read:  The Dollars and Sense of Garage Sales,  Letters to Garage Sale Customers, and An Open Letter to People who Read Craigslist

Storage Heroes Tip #11:  Company or build up units generally are NOT going to be where you find cash, or gold, or treasure-- (after all, someone has gone through them, sometimes even multiple sets of people)--   BUT, if you can SEE value-- it might not be a bad unit to pick up to double or triple your money!    For questions on what a Company or Build up unit is, read our Company Unit post.

Storage Heroes Tip #12 (revisited):  Remember when we said that contacts are important? Contacts, contacts, contacts!  It's true.  If you don't treat others with respect you don't ever get opportunities to buy and sell from these people or their contacts later on.

Storage Heroes Tip #13:  Cellphones and laptops are NEVER in their boxes.  Unless they are broken or in need or repair.  Trust us on this one!  Do you keep YOUR working cellphone in a box?

Storage Heroes Tip #18 --  Do NOT take even ONE item out of a storage unit until you have paid for it in full and you have the receipt in your hand.  Otherwise, the tenant could show up and pay, or the auctioneer/facility management can still negate the deal for legal or other reasons and then it becomes a nightmare trying to figure everything out.  Not to mention, you open everyone up to a potential lawsuit or criminal charge.  You don't put something from the mall in your car before paying for it, the storage facility should be treated with the same respect.

Storage Heroes Tip #24:  Sometimes it's not what you have, but what you do, that counts.  See our post on Sweet Charity for more information about Charity Storage. 

Storage Heroes Tip #25:   Set your limits on a unit BEFORE bidding begins, and not after, and stick to it.  It's easy to get out of control when you don't like the person who is bidding against you or you have too much pride to back down, etc.  If you set your limits before-hand based on what YOU want to do (and not what anyone else wants to do or wants you to do), it's a lot easier to know when to stop.  

Storage Heroes  Tip #26:  (A Garage Sale Tip)  If you have to count out your pennies and dimes to shop, you probably shouldn't be shopping.  For a true story about this, read Penny Pickers: A Garage Sale Journal

Storage Heroes Tip #30:  

  Dealing with a prior tenant is never recommended, but if it's someone you have a  relationship with and/or there were extenuating circumstances and you feel sorry for the person, you always have the right as a buyer to decide your own course of actions for what is now your legal property.  It's an honorable thing to do, just prepare yourself for a burn--  if they couldn't honor their obligations or promises to the storage facility the chances that they will/can honor their obligations or promises to you are slim to none!

Storage Heroes Tip #31:  (Thanks to reader Tim)... if you're going in on a unit with a competitor, invest in a lockout hasp (we've linked you to some as cheap as $4). It's a great way to put everyone's locks on and make sure all parties are present to open the unit.

Storage Heroes Tip #43 --  (A Garage Sale Tip)  When having Garage Sales, don't forget to buy balloons.  You can get a nice group of about 7 helium balloons (including hi-float, which keeps them inflated long enough to allow you to buy them the night before your sale)  for roughly $10.  It makes about a $150-$300 difference in sales, so it's a huge advantage.

Storage Heroes Tip #44:  Be vigilant at your garage sales.  People will still try to rip you off, even if you're selling something for a dollar.   See Hell In A Sell  or Don't Ever Come Back Here Again!
Storage Heroes Tip #88:      If you're unsure of how long things have been in a unit, and are curious, check the newspaper that the items were wrapped in.  It's a surefire way to get an accurate date.  

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1 comment:

  1. Add your own tips here! The best ones will be added to our list!