At first glance, self-storage auctions can feel like drudgery. Besides legal requirements that dictate when you can conduct an auction, there are a variety of laws about how to conduct it. Then, of course, there is the process of holding the event itself. Thanks to the popularity of Storage Wars, auction attendance is way up, enhancing unit sale revenues and increasing marketing exposure along the way.
Enterprising self-storage operators can incorporate auctions into their annual marketing program. Beyond the actual auction, the facility can offer “side shows” to encourage people to stay on the premises and take a tour for possible storage business later.
When the weather is warm and sunny, a barbecue or some form of outdoor musical entertainment may help build goodwill among the masses gathered for the main event. Keeping unit rental information in plain view (without being overbearing about it) can prove valuable as well. If your facility features such non-traditional options as wine storage, man-cave amenities, offices, or art showcasing, you may want to set up “model” displays of these uses for the auction crowds to check out. Or consider partnering with an organizing and efficiency specialist to offer free demonstrations about ways to best pack belongings into a storage unit.
When looking for an auction company to coordinate and conduct sales, here are some “due diligence” steps that will help ensure a professional, successful event:
- Ask for current proof of required auction company licensing, bonding and insurance.
- Confirm that the number of sales don’t exceed what can reasonably be done to stay on schedule.
- Confirm that the auction company will provide a complete listing of event details and update it as necessary. In addition, our auctions.selfstorage.com site can partner with the auction company to expand exposure, as well as send email alerts to prospective bidders requesting them.
- Ensure that the auction company will arrive before the sale to review auction files to make sure all units involved fully comply with both storage company policies and state lien statutes—and remove any that don’t from that day’s auction.
- Confirm the serial number on a seal prior to opening the unit door to ensure no disturbance of previously inventoried contents.
- Utilize qualified agents who are skilled at communicating the rules before the auction and making clear calls during the bidding so bidders know where they stand.
- Ensure that payments from buyer to auction representative to the self-storage company are handled professionally and smoothly.
Image courtesy of storageauctiongold.com