I admit the idea of purchasing the contents of abandoned storage units to resell them never occurred to me until a few months ago, when I watched Storage Wars on tv. Storage Wars is a "reality" tv show that follows 5 individuals as they purchase, clean out and resell the contents of storage units in California. I knew there were storage unit businesses, after all you see them all over, but I'd never thought through what happens when someone doesn't pay their rent and the unit needs to be cleared out for a new paying customer.
When I watched the show, it seemed like a fun and potentially profitable enterprise. I knew the show was focusing on the most rewarding units, since the "finds" definitely made for the most interesting viewing. More interesting to show a find of valuable baseball cards then junk that needs to go straight to a dumpster somewhere. And, the tally of income and expenses for the units was completely out of whack, with no consideration made for costs other than the unit itself. How about the time of the folks buying the unit? Cost of traveling to and from the units? Cost of sales? And so on ....
But, I thought it would be a fun thing to do. And, I had the time since I'm unemployed. In a moment of complete serendipity, I mentioned to my brother that I was interested in buying storage units. He was too! And, by the way, he's unemployed, strong, and has a mini-van and trailer. Most importantly, though, it's always more fun to do this kind of thing in partnership with someone else. You have someone to share the experience with. And, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses; working together we can exploit our strengths and ideally mitigate those weaknesses.
Next up: pre-auction preparation