By Sam Edwards
With online self-storage auctions on the rise, live auctions may one day become obsolete. There are a number of salient benefits to holding your storage auctions online. Here are six reasons to consider making the switch.
No. 1: More Bidders
This is a simple fact. A prominent auctioneer might be able to draw 100 bidders to an onsite auctionmax. Less-seasoned auctioneers will draw substantially fewer people. A well-established storage-auction website will have thousands of registered bidders. Keep in mind, each one of these has registered with a credit card; they’re here to play. With access to more bidders, you have a better chance of selling your unit for a higher price.
No. 2: Less Hassle
Your business is renting storage space, not selling off customer contents. Handling a storage auction, particularly when you’re selling multiple units, is a colossal pain. You have to worry about attracting bidders, controlling crowds and dealing with upset tenants, among many other headaches.
A good storage-auction website removes the aggravation. It informs the bidders, handles the publicity, posts the auction and facilitates the purchase.
No. 3: Fewer Costs
The majority of auction websites are free to the storage operator. They make their money by charging bidders a processing fee. This way the facility receives 100 percent of the final bid, which is the way it should be. This isn’t to say that no storage-auction websites take a cut. Some take 10 percent off the final bid and 10 percent from the bidder. This isn’t much better than using an auctioneer.
Onsite auctioneers make their money one of two ways: They charge a flat fee for their services, or they take a percentage of unit sales. The second way is most common and very problematic. If you happen to be auctioning valuable units, this could result in a significant loss of revenue.
No. 4: Quick Resolution of Delinquent Accounts
Another advantage of online auctions is the option to sell individual units. Many facilities hold on to abandoned units for weeks, even months, until they can accumulate enough to generate interest in a large event. Keep in mind, these units could be rented to serious customers. You’re just accruing bad debt this way.
With an online platform, a delinquent unit can easily be sold as a one-off. You can get rid of it immediately—no additional outstanding rent and more money in your pocket.
No. 5: Safer and More Secure
Online auctions are very secure. All bidders are registered with a credit card. There’s a public record of the bidding process and a fully accountable, arms-length sale. Moreover, facility owners don’t have to worry about a large group of strangers wandering around their property.
It’s important to note that lien laws vary significantly by state or province. It’s the storage owner’s responsibility to know the law and comply with the lien process. Once the necessary steps have been taken, online auctions are no different legally than those conducted on site.
No. 6: Convenient for Bidders
There are thousands of people who are interested in storage auctions, particularly after the success of reality TV show “Storage Wars.” But many can’t take the time to travel to live events. This isn’t an issue if you put your abandoned units online. Users can bid from the comfort of their home, and they only have to show up to the site if they win.
There’s no denying it—the future is online. If you disagree, I recommend sharing your opinion with the clerk at your nearest Blockbuster.
Sam Edwards is a public-relations assistant for auction website Bid13.com. With thousands of registered bidders, Bid13 works on behalf of storage operators to produce the highest possible bids for abandoned storage units. There are no long-term contracts, and the service is free. For more information, e-mail [email protected].