Profit from Storage Auctions
If you’ve read our other articles you should understand how storage auctions work, how to profile a storage unit for value, and how to handle the bidding process. If you are planning to acquire storage units and resell their contents, some thought should be given to the logistics of sales and shipping.
Processing a Storage Unit
Processing a storage unit you’ve acquired involves sifting through the contents, categorizing and separating the items, and assigning estimated sales values. Once a unit has been purchased, most buyers will pack and move everything to a dedicated space they use for this process.
Suitable space may be a commercial warehouses or your own garage. When you are processing the items you’ve acquired, you should categorize them as trash, charitable giving, or sellable inventory. Unless you have a dumpster, you will be making trips to your local landfill or other refuse facility. Items that are unsuitable for resale may still provide a tax benefit when they are donated to an organization such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
If you are unsure about the value of an item, research it thoroughly before writing it off for disposal or donation. Use the Internet to search for similar items and post pictures and descriptions on storage auction forums where other users perform free appraisals.
Your sellable inventory may be subcategorized into other areas such as electronics, clothes, and furniture . Devising a system for organization, inventory control, and efficient disposal of unsellable items is imperative for maintaining a level of efficiency and profitability.
eBay, Amazon, and Craig’s List Sales
Online sales through outlets like eBay, Amazon, and Craig’s List are a very efficient route for converting your items into cash. If you have not used these services as a seller in the past, you will need to create accounts on all of them and familiarize yourself with their features and capabilities.
Many veteran buyers will take photographs and populate a spreadsheet with notes about items as they are processing a unit. They will then have everything they need when sitting down at a computer to create their sale or auction listings.
Learn to use all the tools that are available to sellers on either site and work to create a system that allows for placing lots of ads / listings at one time with a minimal amount of time or effort spent. Create and maintain templates (these can be Microsoft Word documents or text files) that can be quickly modified for each item. Your template should include a brief and concise description of the item and a paragraph about your business.
Larger items like furniture, televisions, and vehicles can be sold quickly to local buyers on Craig’s List. Consignment stores can be a good sales outlet for your items if you deal with a lot of new or premium clothing.
Also, don’t overlook customer service needs. Be sure to respond to questions and complaints as quickly as possible.
Online sales and order fulfillment is a large topic with entire web sites devoted to discussion and the development of these processes.
Order Fulfillment and Shipping
You should setup accounts with UPS, FedEx, and the United States Postal Service (USPS.) All of these shipping firms have web sites that allow you to maintain your account information, print shipping labels, track pages, and schedule pickups from your home or office.
Often one carrier will provide a benefit over another. UPS is sometimes found to be a less-expensive option than FedEx; however, FedEx has great pricing for larger boxes and overnight deliveries. The USPS has an excellent flat-rate program that is especially useful for items that are smaller and heavier.
You should have an area configured for handling your shipping tasks that includes a postal scale (capable of weighing 75 pounds or more), boxes, envelopes, tape, bubble wrap, shipping labels, and other packing materials. All three of these carriers will provide you with free shipping labels. The USPS provides free boxes and envelopes for their flat-rate service.