Now that there are so many buyers attending self-storage auctions as a result of the show, our normal loyal buyers—secondhand dealers, swap-meet businesses and others—are not participating to the extent they once were. They see the competition for these units as unrealistic to produce a profit. Yes, some facilities' profit is better, but it will be short-lived as buyers discover the vast majority of units contain items the average person would not even want to sift through—unlike the treasures the buyers on the show seem to find.
In its commercials, “Storage Wars” shows potential buyers waving around great sums of money. I submit that this can only lead to repercussions that should be considered dangerous. We now have lawsuits cropping up from newbie buyers who feel they’ve been defrauded if they don’t find the valuables they were hoping for when bidding. I’ve heard hundreds of comments from current and would-be customers about their concerns that all we do is sell personal belongings (not a good trend!), instead of the valuable service we provide to consumers.
It’s obvious the producers of the show are making large amounts of money at our expense. In my humble opinion, this show has set back the reputation of our industry 20 years. Facility owners and operators should say “no” to “Storage Wars.” One of the best things this show could do for our industry is to go off the air.
Wouldn’t it be great if the producers of this show had the confidence to debate a seasoned veteran of our industry in a public forum? Perhaps you'll all get a chance to witness this in the months ahead.
Joseph P. Niemczyk is the president of Executive Self Storage Associates Inc., which offers third-party management services to the self-storage industry. He is a frequent speaker at national and state tradeshows, and has trained more than 8,000 managers, owners and operators in self-storage operation, marketing, advertising and customer service. To reach him, call 303.703.1290; visit www.executiveselfstorage.com.