Dan and Laura Dotson, best known as the featured auctioneers on the A&E reality television series “Storage Wars,” have launched Storageauctions.net, a database of online self-storage auctions. Facility operators can list their lien sales for free, while buyers can search for free and sign up for alerts. The website connects more than 300,000 subscribers with more than 58,000 U.S. storage facilities, according to a press release.
The site gives sellers access to dashboard tools, including an “Automatic Lien Generator,” which was built to “help decrease sellers’ risk, while moving toward a more streamlined selling process,” the release stated. It also offers a library of self-storage lien laws by state.
Buyers can view a complete list of available auctions, make an open search, or browse by city or state. Registered users can also sign up to be alerted by e-mail when an auction is posted by a storage facility that’s within 15 to 250 miles of their home city, state or ZIP code.
The couple set up the website as a “thank you” to the industry, the release stated. "I know how hard and difficult these live auctions are,” said Dan Dotson. “I know how much trouble the [facility] managers go through dealing with these unclaimed lockers and auctions; but when managers have to sell, they need an easy and legal way to do it."
Though he’s made a career from live auctioneering, Dotson believes onsite auctions have their drawbacks for storage operators, while online sales often draw more potential buyers. “Live auctions have their downfalls. People leave messes, leave cigarette butts, have caused fires,” he said. “Sometimes there's no parking, and crowds can often drive paying storage customers away."
The Dotsons expanded the website for their auction company, American Auctioneers, to include online auctions in 2015; but Storageauctions.net is a separate entity.
Dan Dotson founded American Auctioneers in 1983 as a Riverdale, Calif., auction house specializing in collectibles, dolls, furniture and pottery. He met Laura in 1996, and the couple later expanded the company to handle self-storage auctions, business liquidations, estate sales, foreclosures and other sales. Since 1996, the company has grown from handling 250 auctions per year to more than 2,500 appraisals and auctions, according to its website.