Sunday, January 6, 2013

My Dad Wins Storage Unit & A Lesson Learned Hard Way

Well it is very late tonight, but as everyone knows the goal is at least one blog post a day. Tomorrow I plan to write about Storage unit auctions and the how to's and such since a lot of people ask us about it I figured it is time to share some info.

For tonight, before I head to bed I will leave you all with a story about how even with storage units, the old line "Never Judge A Book By It's Cover" stands true!


In November my father decided he wanted to spend his day off following an auction caravan with us. We all went to a few facilities and just was not anything that we really saw worth bidding too much on. We had to hold dad back practically he was a little over zelous and just wanted a unit so bad it was hard to talk him out of just blowing his money on just ANY unit.

Toward mid afternoon we wind up coming upon a unit that apparently most people were just not feeling like dealing with. It was kind of stuffed back in a short narrow hallway, very dark and it looked as if someone just shoveled everything in their home into the unit, literally with a shovel it seemed. Most everyone else walked on to the next unit to get an early look except my husband, myself and one other gentleman, who we figure out was a regular in the county we were in that day. The bidding started real low and I thought we were going to win it for just $20.00 but then the other gentleman decided he wanted it too. I think the fact that we were interested perked his interst - this happens a lot actually. We do it too, sometimes if someone seems real keen on a unit it sparks us to bidding too.

We wound up winning the unit for $100.00 at the end of the auctions at that facility we went to cash out (this particular facility didn't even collect the cleaning deposit) so we got our reciept and decided to lock it up and head to the next place. We were running out of time though as we were going to have to call it an early day since our scheduled babysitter could not stay too late. We decided to leave dad at the next facility and head back to ours to start loading the truck. We knew it was going to take two trips and was about almost an hour from home.

Well we are loading our truck and right away we notice certain things that we know for sure we can turn around quick and already have our hundred back and be into profit. This is always the best part - when you are part way through emptying the unit and already seeing profit. Next thing I know dad is ringing my cell like crazy. It was on the seat in the truck and I hadn't realized I missed about a dozen calls from him. He wanted to bid on a unit but wasn't sure if he should. He was trying to call us for an opinion. By the time I got back to him it was too late. Over zelous as he was this day he couldn't help himself. Luckily he only spent 120.00, it was late in the day and the crowd was hot and just wanted to go home for the most part.

He was very excited and explained to me how he got an even better unit. How it was completely loaded with neatly packed boxes and antique furniture, lots of tires with alluminum rims etc. Now if you recall from above we are all over an hour away from our homes, and we already have a 2 trip unit as it is. Now dad has won a unit that is 4 times as much stuff as ours AND has a bunch of furniture in it. My dad also has a pick up like us, but his is one of those small pick ups. He didn't even have his trailor and we were getting ready to head home and relieve the babysitter. Bad bad planning here on dads part.

The facility gives dad until Monday to get the stuff out, ours said the same to us. It was a Friday and I find it is pretty common with Friday auctions places will give you the whole weekend. So we go load up the rest of our unit on Saturday and then head over to meet dad at his to help him out. Oh my, now this was the first I had seen his "Gold Mine" as he called it. He was right there was TONS of stuff. It was easy to see he would make his money back just scrapping the alluminum rims alone. He had never considered though when bidding that he needed to factor in gas. With all the stuff he had and our truck practically full it was going to be yet another trip for BOTH of our trucks to finish his unit on Sunday as well.

To make a long story short and get to the point of this story.... We get everything back to our home (yes his unit came to our house too - thanks Dad). He was so excited and happy with things he saw I didn't have the heart to tell him what I had already discovered while the guys were unloading the unit and I was re-packing boxes to make more room. Most of dads items were boxes of holiday decorations, the glassware that said made in Italy that he thought was so wonderful actually was pretty recent and I had noticed the "Big Lots" price tags on them.

The bad planning and him not wanting to make yet another trip forced him to not pack his truck as well as normal and he lost a PS2 game system and games on the highway (totally destroyed), thankfully did not cause an accident or hit anyones car. Overall dads unit was a lot of work, a lot of gas money and A LOT of time & labor and most of the stuff is still at my house.I did manage to scrap the RIMS after he had me list them for over a month because they were Jag rims and he was convinced they would sell for way more than scrap. So to date I have managed to double his money and actually saved me a bunch of money since I now have enough gift wrap, party supplies, and every holiday decoration you can imagine to last for at least 10 years or more. I only recently told him what happened that day.

Dad got overly excited, and thought because we paid $100 on a real messy looking unit and had told him how we would make at least a grand back on it, that in turn if he got the neatly packed unit with the antique furniture (also still got that some of it on eBay now actually) he figured he would make double what we would. What he didn't notice were key signs that the unit was mainly Dollar General, Big Lots, knock off type items and a bunch of holiday decor (from same type stores). Now IF his unit had been closer to home then I would agree $120 was not bad at all for what was in it. However when you factor in distance, how many trips, labor, time.... Then in the end you learn that the untidy 2 trip unit that you could "see" certain things because they were not even in boxes was a much better bet than the neatly packed mystery items unit. Needless to say Dad hasn't bid since that day on any units.

Now the reason I have told you all this story. I wanted to share this with everyone who is thinking of going to storage auctions so they don't make the same mistakes my poor dad did. The most important lesson learned here is - It doesn't matter if the unit is ONE DOLLAR - if it is located 1/2 way around the world and your going to have to make 6 trips and need a team of people just to unload it - is the profit REALLY going to be worth it? Probably not, you might find a hidden GEM but in reality it is doubtful. So please everyone use common sense, and don't be too over zelous!


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