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  1. #1
    northsound is offline Junior Member
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    Default Small facility unit auction

    Doing my first auction next week. I have sent all the required paperwork according to my state laws (Washington). I am just looking for pointers on how to conduct the auction. Washington's law states there must be 5 bidders and "the sale shall be conducted in a commercially reasonable manner" Do I open the unit and start yelling out numbers? Is there a way do a silent auction? I really hate to waste too much time on this, most of the stuff in there is junk anyways (although hard to say if it would be valued at less than $300...our state's limit on reasonable disposal).
    How do you conduct your auction if you do them yourself?

  2. #2
    Storman's Avatar
    Storman is offline Moderator
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    I would hesitate to pronounce a starting bid, I've read of some issues with the facility setting a minimum bid. I just remind the bidders that they cannot enter the unit or touch any of the items, open the door and tell them the bidding is now open. They will find the highest value themselves, and at that point close the bidding, take your notes and lock the unit.

    This is, of course, after they've all signed in, given me their particulars, I've double checked the unit number and that the balance has not been paid unbeknownst to me.

  3. #3
    northsound is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the advice Storman
    Do you make them sign a disclosure or release of some sort? (I'm afraid they'll leave half the junk in the unit) or possibly take a deposit and how much of a deposit? How long do they have to clean out the unit after they buy it? What is the liability of letting someone into my facility (indoor with coded access) that hasn't signed a lease.
    Gosh now that I think about it, there's alot more I think to take care of before my auction!

  4. #4
    Storman's Avatar
    Storman is offline Moderator
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    Northsound- I haven't had any problems with winning bidders leaving anything, everybody that has "won" has cleaned up really well and have done what they said they'd do.

    There is usually a pretty tight knit core of bidders that come to every auction I have, and then there are the newbies that you can tell just got suckered into buying some get rich quick scheme that told them to go to storage auctions to make their millions. The old school bidders likely won't cause any problems, they know that you have a network of other managers you can complain to about them. They also want to come back and win other auctions you may have. It's the newbies I worry about just a little bit, and I make it perfectly clear that they are to remove all contents within 24 hours of winning the bid. (I can be flexible on that if necessary, but they know I mean business. After 3 days I will charge them a full month's rent) I then make sure that my presence is felt when they are on the property and emptying the unit.

    I don't take a deposit, I just sit on their lap until the unit is cleaned out.

    You might want to encourage a friend or relative to come to the auction too, in the case that there are no bids on a unit you want SOMEBODY to bid SOMETHING just so you can clear out the unit and re-rent it. I've sold a few units for $1 just to satisfy the process and move on. I'm not sure if no bids on a unit means you can just dispose of it or not, so I make sure there is a bid for something on every unit.


    (can other managers out there tell when a get rich quick guru is in town ripping people off?......out of the blue I get about 10 calls asking when my next auction is scheduled.....)

  5. #5
    Autodoc's Avatar
    Autodoc is offline Mod eMeritus
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    I have not had the same luck as Storman -- I do charge a cleaning deposit to encourage them to take everything.

    Deposit is usually $40.00 -- unless it is a large unit (10x25 or larger) then I charge $80 to $100. The deposit is fully refunded once the unit is swept clean and inspected by me.

    As for the auction process -- Like Storman I open the unit and let everyone have a good look -- they are never allowed to enter the unit or touch anything -- they can only look! Once everyone has had a chance to look I start the bidding -- depending upon what is in the unit I will just ask for someone to give me an opening bid -- and then go form there -- once the bidding stalls out the last (highest) bidder wins and is expected to pay before removing anything.

    All sales are CASH or CASHIERS CHECK -- no personal checks or credit cards!

    All units are sold as is and must be emptied by 4:00pm that day.

    Anyone entering the property for the auction must sign a release form -- no one under 18 permitted during the auction.


    Hope this helps -- the first one is always the scary one. It gets easier as you go on.

    Hard to believe I've been doing it for 4 years now -- seems like only yesterday I was asking the same questions - without this forum to help!


    good luck on your first!
    Wayne
    Jamestown, ND


    All arguments can be resolved ... with high explosives and Humor!!!

  6. #6
    EDGE is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    I have been doing delinquent storage auctions for over 30 years. I do EVERYTHING possible to make it easy on the bidders.
    1. Take cash or charge cards +5%. I'll even take checks from know bidders if necessary but that's rare.
    2. Give buyer a little time to go to a cash point for extra $$
    3. Allow bidders to go inside the shed and examine closer. But not opening lots of boxes
    4. Give extra time to clear the shed if necessary.
    5. If no bid, very rare, have the auctioneer record such.
    6. Assign buyer a gate code for access
    7. Thank the bidders for participating.
    8. Advertise on my web site and online locations.


    I get some of the highest bids in the area because the buyers are my most important element of the actual auction process. Today's auction had a top bid of $1700.00 and the 2nd top was $1250.00, lowest was $40. A little over $5,000 for the day with 13 units at 4 locations. Two hours total.

  7. #7
    ASAWeekly is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Small facility unit auction

    Good points


    Quote Originally Posted by EDGE View Post
    I have been doing delinquent storage auctions for over 30 years. I do EVERYTHING possible to make it easy on the bidders.
    1. Take cash or charge cards +5%. I'll even take checks from know bidders if necessary but that's rare.
    2. Give buyer a little time to go to a cash point for extra $$
    3. Allow bidders to go inside the shed and examine closer. But not opening lots of boxes
    4. Give extra time to clear the shed if necessary.
    5. If no bid, very rare, have the auctioneer record such.
    6. Assign buyer a gate code for access
    7. Thank the bidders for participating.
    8. Advertise on my web site and online locations.


    I get some of the highest bids in the area because the buyers are my most important element of the actual auction process. Today's auction had a top bid of $1700.00 and the 2nd top was $1250.00, lowest was $40. A little over $5,000 for the day with 13 units at 4 locations. Two hours total.

  8. #8
    cathysueru is offline Junior Member
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    Eureka, MO
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    Default Re: Small facility unit auction

    All good points here. Northsound, once you get your first auction under your belt, they will get much easier! And honestly, the units I've auctioned that seem full of trash seem to be much more appealing to bidders than the units with useable items like furniture. I guess its the thrill of the hunt or possibility of "hidden treasure" that makes them more appealing. We do charge a $50 cleaning deposit - treasure hunters are not going to be willing to lose that deposit because they didn't clean out the unit! One suggestion - keep an e-mail/phone list of the folks that attended this auction, as well as any other auction inquiries that you might get. Each time you have an auction, you can contact your list to let them know - the more bidders, the more money you get (usually!)

 

 
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