If you are looking at this page because you have seen the TV shows, you probably need to read the following. I will do my best to give you the reality of buying storage units.
First and foremost, these units are deliquent storage units. Not abandoned units as the tv shows say. Owners of units in auction do have until auction time to pay for their units. Auctions are part of storage companies lien process required by law for them to empty a unit. Storage companies do not make a profit by having the auction. In most cases, they do not even come close to recovering the money owed to them. Auctions are a headache to storage companies and a reason that we take our clean out and behavior rules very serious. If the auction clean out process also becomes a headache for them......well figure it out.
The reality is you buy a lot of normal household, every day time items. Sure, occasionally, you find "goodies" that are similar to what is shown in the TV shows. However, more often than not, it's normal stuff you already have plenty of in your own home. Such as mixed match dishes, clothes, pots and pans, old tv's, clothes, towels, sheets, clothes, knick knacks, old VCR tapes and clothes. All the general items that you find in any yard sale. Oh yeah, did I mention clothes? This overload of items can be difficult to get rid of and usually end up being a serious problem for some.
It is also amazing that people will store food in storage. We have actually found refrigerators with food still in them. You wanna talk nasty! That is actually more the norm. One out of five units will have food in them. Food in lockers mean mice, roaches, fleas, spiders and who knows what else. I highly recommend not using your home as a storage or sorting area. Storage companies spend a lot of money on pest control, but when you have people who store the food, it's impossible to be pest free.
So, if you are getting into buying lockers, consider the following.... You will need a way to haul, truck, trailer, etc. You will want a dolley or "two wheeler" and a broom. You will be amazed at the items that people do store. You will always wonder why people will store a dresser with drawers missing, a couch with missing cushions, why they don't wash dishes before boxing them..??
This is more the "norm" than what TV shows want you to believe. Remember this while watching the shows...if they wasn't making "a killing" on the show, you wouldn't be interested. Also, most of the actors never actually show you someone buying the item, only what they say they can sell it for. Know before you buy your local selling market. Spend some time going to local re-sale shops, fleamarkets, auctions. In my county, a washer is only worth about $125 - $150. In the neighboring county, they can get $200 for the same washer. Where does your neighborhood fit in?
A word about attitude/aggression.... Another concern about the tv shows. The shows are showing a lot of extra drama that is not necessary. A in your face, cuss outs, and shoving attitudes.
There will not be any of this at my auctions. I have a job to do and you are there to buy deliquent lockers. That's it. The next guy is there for the same reason. Grade school basics, if it would have gotten you in the principals office, don't do it. As a bidder, you will respect the auctioneer, the facility and manager, and other bidders. Leave the drama to the tv shows.
Other Popular Questions
WHERE DO I GO TO REGISTER?
Go to the main office of the storage company. Auctioneer always set up in the office. Manager may have a sign up sheet, but if you have never been to our auctions before, you will have to register when auctioneer gets there with a drivers license. Please do not confuse the "sign in attendance sheet" with being registered for the auction. You must do both.
DO I HAVE TO ATTEND THE FIRST AUCTION OF THE DAY TO GO TO ANY OTHERS DURING THE DAY?
NO. You do not have to come to first auction if you want to come to say just the last location. Doing multiple auctions in a day makes it more convienent and cost effective for long distance drivers. If you want to jump in in the middle of the day, or end, it is ok. But you will still have to sign in and register with a drivers license if you have not done so prior.
WHAT IS AN AVERAGE PRICE FOR A LOCKER UNIT?
There is no average. No two lockers are the same. Unit size does not mean anything. What is in the unit is the only deciding factor, such as particular board furniture verses real wood. Nice clean, labeled boxes verses opened, ripped boxes. Also, who is in attendence at the auction will mean the difference and how bad they need merchandise. If you are wondering how much money to bring, I always tell people to stay in your comfort zone. If you can afford to "gamble" $200, then that's what you bring. Auction temptation can break you if you let it, kinda like going to the gambling boat!
WHAT IF I FIND SOMETHING ILLEGAL?
It does happen. Whether it might be drugs or the paraphernalia, you will eventually find some. If still at facility, you can have manager call the police and they will remove it from the unit. If you get home with it, well, you can pitch it or you can talk to your local police and see what they recomend. I give a receipt with your purchase, so you will have proof that you bought it in a load. Always keep your receipt with you when hauling for proof items are not your personal belongings.
Another recent beware is the cooking of meth in storage units.
I wouldn't know until this picture what a meth lab looks like as I'm sure most of you wouldn't either. This isn't at good as I would like it to be to show you, but the bottle all have a white residue in them. Yes, this picture was taken and items found in the St. Louis area storage unit sold. Inside the bags, there is different cold medicines, Coleman fuels, etc. It is the powder after the drugs are mixed together that is what they sell from what I understand. Talking to the police, as these chemicals do their thing, boil, burn whatever it is, it puts off a vapor. This vapor contaminates everything in the unit. It can make people sick. It can make you sick loading the unit. I am told by the police that if anyone knowingly sells clothing, dishware, etc. from a storage unit that has been used for meth making, the seller can be held responsible for any injuries. Even though the person who found this was wearing gloves, he reported burning of the skin and a general unwell feeling. He is fine now. If you find this kind of stuff in a unit, you should contact the manager immediately and they will contact the police to have the items safely removed. Please remember, these bottles depending on the "cooking" stage could be explosive.
WHAT IF I FIND A FIREARM?
I recomend taking the weapon to your local police station with your receipt and have them run the numbers. If has been reported stolen, you will lose it. However, at least you know ahead of time and you don't get arrested for selling a stolen weapon.
WHAT IF THERE IS A CAR IN THE UNIT?
Missouri law requires any titled vehicle not to be sold with out a title. Yes, storage facilities can apply for the titles. Most storage companies do not find it worth their time to do the paperwork and hold out for the auction. Keys are never provided and very seldom is it known if a vehicle even runs, meaning the vehicle does not bring enough to even cover storage fees. There are some companies in the area that will tell you that you can get a copy of the title or file for the title yourself. This is not true. Only the original title owner can file for lost title. You, buying it an auction, do not have a "lien" to apply for a title. Some will tell you there are loop holes, don't believe them. There are a lot of people in the area who have "yard ornaments" of cars that they can't sell. A salvage yard will not even buy them without a title. Please visit Missouri Department of Revenue website and you will find the information you need.
CAN I RENT THE UNIT?
Depending on the company and circumstances, yes. However, sometimes, a certain size unit is on a waiting/reserve list. If that is the case, you can not rent the unit. No, you will not be eligible for their "special prices" such as rent first month for $1 or a "name your price" special. Most will not pro-rate either.
PARKING LOT ETIQUETTE...
Park on the lot, not in office's small parking lots. The managers like to leave them for their paying or new renting customers. Do not park on Corners... Trucks with trailers can not get thru. Do not block gates and driveways. If you see a red tag hanging from the locking mechanism, don't park in front of that door. It does not guarentee the unit is in auction but theres a good chance. You will be asked to move your vehicle.
DO MANAGERS GO THRU THE UNITS FOR AUCTION?
NO!! As I mentioned above, the units can be paid for by the owner before the auction. Our company cuts the locks in front of you at the auction. Occasionally, we open the door and the locker is empty. Sometimes people who are deliquent are actually smart enough to know that they will not pay their bill and will come get out items before being locked out. Specially if they have already been charged all the late fees and other fees that go with them being late. Not everyone rents a unit, puts stuff in and never comes back to it until the auction. Some people even use their units to hide Christmas gifts during holidays. So, stop and think before accusing a manager of doing something like that just because you can see a dirt ring of where something use to be. You are bidding on what is in the unit in front of you not what you THINK WAS in the unit.
DID I MISS YOUR QUESTION??? PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME BY PHONE OR EMAIL.
FYI, NOT A BIG COMPUTER PERSON...IF YOU NEED A FAST ANSWER, CALL WOULD BE BEST.
CALL SHERRIE BRUNK
UNWELCOME LIST PICTURES
ST. LOUIS, MO as of 5/14/2012