New auction mania
No one knows how long the storage-unit auction craze spurred by cable TV shows like “Storage Wars” will last, but as it spreads, it’s providing Auctioneers a lucrative business opportunity.
The Alexandria, Va.-based Self Storage Association estimates there are 47,000 self-storage facilities throughout the U.S. that need to auction renters’ belongings if they fail to pay up.
The auctions themselves are nothing new, but an explosion in attendance is.
“Auctions that used to bring 40 or 50 people are now usually bringing 200 or as many as 300, strictly because of those TV shows,” says Rich Schur, CAI, BAS, of Schur Success Auction & Appraisal Inc., Colorado Springs, Colo.
On average, the attendance boost has ranged from four to seven bidders not long ago to 15 to 25 today, says Tim Dietz, vice president of communications for the Self Storage Association.
The larger crowds have triggered spikes in prices.
“If it’s a good day, we can make a lot of money,” Schur says.
Schur has sold units for $5 to $8,000, with the average bringing in more than $200.
Storage-unit auctions are a bit different from regular auctions, says Montie Davis, partner with his wife, Tracie, in Montie Davis Auction Services, Keller, Texas.
Davis should know. He also is co-owner and managing partner with his father, Harold, in Keller Self-Storage, and he teaches a class on the topic for the Texas Auction Academy in Lewisville.