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Offline/Online Money Making Strategy - Storage Units

Discussion in 'Offline Marketing' started by MaestroDelWeb, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. MaestroDelWeb

    MaestroDelWeb Executive VIP

    Nov 5, 2007
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    Jack of all trades.
    It's not a big secret and I've even read it in ebooks but this does work and can make you decent money if you have the time.

    Storage units are everywhere (at least in the US) and they are big cash cows for the owners so new ones are popping up everywhere all the time. You pay them $50 per month (more or less depending on your area and size of your unit) and they give you a space where you can store all the shit you don't want or can't fit in your house.

    There are a million reasons why people use these storage units. Some people run businesses out of them and keep their supplies in them, some are downsizing or upgrading their home and put all the excess stuff or stuff they plan on bringing home sooner or later, some want more space at home and move stuff they don't use regularly in their, some businesses have little store or warehouse space and also put items they are overstocked on in them, some people put items they want in a climate controlled environment (some storage facilities offer climate controlled units), etc... I'm just trying to give you an idea of reasons why people use storage units so you can see the potential of what I'm going to explain.

    If you're late on paying your monthly rental fee for your storage unit, the company adds a late fee. The late fees are high compared to what you're paying. A lot of times when people fall behind and the total keeps accumulating they just can't/won't pay the debt. After a few months of non-payment the storage companies sell the units at a public auction.

    If you look in your local newspaper classifieds/announcements section you're very likely to see announcements for Storage Auctions. Due to the fact that they are basically repo'ing the units they have to give public notice which is why they place ads in the newspapers. When you find an auction close to you, you visit and they have bidding on unopened storage units (at least that's the way it works in my state). This is there way of getting their space back and making a few bucks to pay for the months of unpaid space.

    Now what you want to do is buy these units. This is like playing the lottery but with a much higher chance of getting your money back and a very high chance of making much more than your initial investment.

    The first thing is if it's a smaller unit have a max budget of say $50, go up to $100 for larger units. Quality of contents, pricing varies depending on where you live or where you go, so I'm just throwing out numbers that have worked for me in the past.

    Make sure to budget yourself. Also try to go to some of these auctions before you're an actual buyer. So if they have an auction this Saturday go, don't buy anything and just see what the customs are in your area, what's an average selling price for each sized unit, look and see what's inside of some units (even if it's from a distance). Then next month or whenever the next one happens you're ready to buy. Don't go over your budget because if you buy a shitty unit you'll be even more pissed.

    I know a guy that is an antique dealer and he uses this technique to make a large amount of cash offline. He doesn't even use any online marketing techniques to get rid of the shit he collects he sells everything in antique stores (on consignment), flea markets, and auctions.

    I do not do this often because of the amount of time it takes. Be prepared to spend several hours hauling shit around figuring out what's worth anything and what's not.

    If you have a pickup truck this is the time to bring it with you. Each place has different policies on how long you can take to get rid of the contents. I prefer to take everything immediately or later on the same day. I don't own a pickup truck so I had a friend let me borrow his every time I needed it. If I couldn't get the pickup truck and there was really good stuff inside I'd rent a cargo van or moving truck from UHaul.

    Here are some contents that I've gotten from these and seen others get:

    Big Screen TVs
    New Furniture
    Old Baseball Cards
    Motorcycles (I don't know the legality of actually being able to keep these)
    Gold and Silver Jewelry
    And tons of other good stuff.

    Here are some not so great contents that I've gotten from these and seen others get:

    Empty Units
    Bales of Hay
    Old Furniture
    Broken Electronics
    Dirty Pentium 1 Computers
    Bags of Kitty Litter
    Fake Jewelry
    And tons of other straight to the dumpster items.

    It's a risk you take on every unit you buy but the pay off can be big. Imagine you spend $50 on a unit and you find a 1955 Mickey Mantle baseball card worth thousands or a antique vase which you immediately sell for $2000.

    Also what I do is maintain my own storage unit right around the corner from me to keep the shit I don't want at home, that has value, stored. I've also used Ebay, Craigslist and similar sites to sell the stuff. Furniture for example first I try to sell it on Craigslist (and similar free ad sites), if know one wants to pay, I just post that it's free and people come to get it so I don't have to worry about disposing of it. Where I live I don't have any problems with disposal of stuff that no one wants (even furniture) so also keep in mind you'll probably be throwing away tons of shit. Smaller stuff that has value goes on Ebay with no reserve.

    If you like a low risk gamble go to a storage auction, bid on and win as many units as you can afford and start separating the good from the bad.

    Just remember this can be very time consuming so plan to spend at least a whole day purchasing, sorting, throwing out, and advertising your items.

    This is also a low cost way to start an Ebay business (and own the actual merchandise and not have to rely on suppliers and drop shippers). You can cookie stuff everyone that buys your limited edition GI Joe with Kung Fu Grip.
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  2. hotstox

    hotstox Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

    Nov 14, 2007
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    Hrm this is interesting - where I spend half my time there are a boatload of storage places to cater to military people. Most of the time they pretty much put everything they have into these units, doubt default rate is that high, but could see getting some very valuable shit through this method. Since it's actualy new shit not just shit they dont want to keep in their house.
  3. drunkseo

    drunkseo Junior Member

    Mar 24, 2008
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    KGB Agent
    I have a friend who does this for living. He makes pretty decent money and he isnt using any online auctions to sell the stuff, just flea markets, garage sales etc.
  4. grafxextreme

    grafxextreme Regular Member

    Nov 28, 2008
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    Tri-Dimensional Importation
    On a similar note I have a disabled friend who goes to yard sales in upper income areas. They practically give away things. She buys high quality clothes, furniture, drapes, etc... and then sells them on ebay.

    When you can purchase designer clothes for .50 cents and sell them for $5.00 starting price that's not too bad. It adds up to real money.
  5. beakman

    beakman Newbie

    Feb 21, 2009
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    currently freelance graphic designer and marketing
    Louisville, KY area
    Hell, don't forget, you can probably try selling some of the crap back to the original owner. There's probably one or two things at the minimum that they'd love to have back, and would pay more for the one item than you paid for the whole unit. They'd probably show up at the auction themselves if they had any idea how cheap these things go for.
  6. bigkhong

    bigkhong Junior Member

    Mar 13, 2009
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    That is quite a bit of work. How about selling your stuff at the swap meets?

    I know it's not much money but if you're in a bind, anything would help. You can make like $50 to $300 a day at the swap meet if your wares are of high quality. =)

    that reminds me that I should go to our local swapmeet one of these days. I've been hanging around ebay too often.
  7. BigBlue

    BigBlue Regular Member

    Sep 16, 2008
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    one twist is an item that many people think is an instant throw away is books.

    Books can be very valuable you just have to look for first edition books.

    One easy thing you can do is go around to all the people who win the auctions and then ask them if they want the books (if there is books in there). You will often times get them for free. Look through and find the first edition books. Sell em on ebay, half.com or amazon. They sell well.

    You can also look through garage sales for these. Books sell for pennies at these places, but first editions are worth good money online.
  8. kasher9

    kasher9 Regular Member

    May 12, 2009
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    I like the idea of storage units, because they are big money makers. If anyone can find space in somewhere like Japan, specifically Tokyo, to run a thing like this, they've hit a goldmine. People have to have extra storage space there since the majority of them have 1 room flats.
  9. mymomatemyhomework

    mymomatemyhomework Registered Member

    Jan 10, 2008
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    A lot of these storage auctions are pure junk. There are so many people going to these now who are bidding ridiculous prices for dead grandmas bedpan, huffy bikes and 17inch tvs.

    The time you have to invest driving to these things and emptying them out and then selling is too much.

    Why buy an entire room full of junk hoping for a lost treasure when you can be selective and bid or buy stuff you know is of value.

    I recommend Estate Auctions and Garage Sales.

    And trust me. The people that are running the storage auctions are digging thru the shit before they let it go. I don't care if they tell you they are not. They do!
  10. JustInCredible

    JustInCredible Newbie

    Feb 21, 2009
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    I like that idea. But no chance to do it in germany :-(