Tag Archives: Las Vegas

How Can I Improve Sales During the Recession?

Question from Jenn in Las Vegas:

Hi Scott, how’s Mexico? I don’t know if you remember me, I met you about a year ago at the Safeguard storage unit auction in Las Vegas. You gave me some great tips about selling on eBay. We recently had a garage sale and our sales weren’t nearly as good as they have been in the past. In fact, our sales from craigslist and ebay seem to be suffering. Do you have any ideas on how we can improve our sales?

Thanks,
Jenn

Answer:

Hi Jenn, Mexico is great, thanks. Of course I remember you, you bought that $50 mystery unit and I always wondered what you found in that container. It must have been good because I’m assuming from your question that you’re still buying storage auctions in Las Vegas. I called some friends in Las Vegas last night to get a sense of what their sales are like. They all expressed that their sales are more challenging than three months ago. I was also told that there has been some great merchandise recently purchased from storage unit auctions in Las Vegas. It’s still a brisk buying market with tons of opportunities. Here’s my thoughts on improving your sales.

First, set your buying sights higher and go for more quality merchandise. I’m not telling you to forget about the $50 mystery units. You can still pick those up and find some treasures but concentrate your buying on the higher end units. People are still buying but they want more of a bargain because the average consumer is in fear. They still have the urge to buy, they’re just unsure of whether they can afford it. You have to make the price attractive on quality items, list them in multiple venues and be patient. Second, resist the temptation to get every penny out of your junk. If your last garage sale was anything like what mine were like, you had a mixture of quality items and lots of junk. For your next sale, I’d reduce the amount of junk and increase the amount of quality items. When you’re sorting your storage auction purchases, be ruthless and get rid of junk immediately. Make donations, put free ads on craigslist, take junk to the dump. When you’re offering great deals on really good stuff, you’ll get the flock of customers back. You will all appreciate having less junk around. Third, don’t be afraid to buy big units. I often avoided units with lots of furniture because of the work involved and my limitation of storage space. The big units will often have a lot of mid level consumer goods like electronics, appliances, china and the like. You can take the furniture straight to an auction house or consignment store to eliminate the storage problem. Or sell the furniture you’re using right now and upgrade with the stuff you just bought. Finally, eBay is still the best venue for your collectible items. Collectors seem to be less affected by the recession. If they need a ’56 Corvette to complete their die cast car collection, they’re going to find the money from somewhere when you list it on eBay – happy days when you have two or more collectors craving the same item. Do your best to adapt and improvise in your selling and you’ll weather through the storm.
Much success,
Scott Asher

How to Start Selling at Broadacres Swap Meet

Question:

Hi Scott, I’ve been buying at Las Vegas storage unit auctions for awhile now.  I’m selling on eBay, craigslist and kind of tapped out garage sales in my neighborhood.  I’d like to start selling at Broadacres Swap Meet but don’t know how to get started.  Got any tips?

Kevin, Las Vegas

Answer:

Thanks for the question Kevin.  Selling at Broadacres Swap Meet is fairly simple.  Actually making money week after week is a different story.  Here’s how I’d go about it if I were you.

1.  Research

Take a couple field trips to Broadacres Swap Meet before you start selling.  Notice the demographic.  From your field trip, you’d assume that the majority of your customers will be Mexicans.  What you won’t see from your field trips is that the majority of your customers will likely be vendors.  See the vendors out there tend to specialize in certain types of product, ie. cell phones, clothing, toys, tools, etc.  As a storage auction buyer, you’ll have all kinds of stuff that you can sell in bulk to vendors.  But to maxamize your sales, you need to have merchandise that will appeal to the masses as well.  So go walk through the place and notice what seems to be selling, where people congregate and money changes hands.  Also familiarize yourself with the different sections of the place and where the office is.

2.  On a Friday morning, load your truck full of stuff to sell at Broadacres and get in line behind the line of trucks waiting to pull into the annex – it’s located on the first entrance off of N. Las Vegas Blvd.  Have $30 in cash to pay for your spot and you get to pick an open spot in the parking lot inside.  Set your stuff out and see what happens.  You can set it out on a tarp on the ground or bring a couple of folding tables whatever you have.  It doesn’t really matter – you’re hoping to meet the early buyers.  These are the folks that come to the swap meet early to see if you have what they’re looking for.  They are intense collectors, re-sellers in different venues, ebayers, store owners or other vendors at the swap meet.  For instance, I always bring a box of cords with me to Broadacres and there’s a guy who will give me $20 for the box.  He displays them at his cord booth and profits by selling them individually.  There’s plenty of tool vendors who will buy everything you have as well.

3.  Go to the office by noon and reserve the space you’re sitting in for the next two days.  Keep doing what you’re doing with your stuff.  You’re learning what might sell and for how much.

4.  On Sunday, have somebody watch your space while you walk around and look at the other areas of the meet and see if you’d rather have a different space for next week.  I personally prefer selling in the back by the McDonalds but this is just a personal preference.   Go to the office and see what’s available to reserve for the next week and buy the space you prefer – about $70 to reserve for the next week.

5.  Repeat this process and refine what you’re selling until you can consistently sell $1500 to $2000 a week.  We did this by finding merchandise we could sell cheaply that was appealing to many customers.  We found that dragging our junk from storage auctions out every week resulted in $300 to $600 per week in sales and was very depressing to handle.

6.  If you really like selling at Broadacres Swap Meet, you can permanently rent a space with a shed.  You’ll have to get a business license, a sales tax id, and keep some records but you can become a permanent vendor if that is your thing.  Personally, I don’t like accounting that much but hey, it’s a free country.

Kevin, best of luck and thanks for the question.  I hope this helps.

Scott Asher

Dirk McFergus Sighting in Post Falls, Id. Storage Auction

Dirk McFergus was spotted today at State Line Storage in Post Falls, ID. It was a brisk 19 degrees with a light dusting of snow. He had on a hoodie under his Columbia titanium jacket (picked up at a storage auction in Las Vegas) and snow boots (freebies from a friend). A guy with a 2 billion candlepower flashlight fell and most likely fractured his hip. Dirk was silent, apparently just observing the 12 bidders scooping up some junk for cheap. Knowing his style, there weren’t many collectibles but with storage auctions you never know. He was with Sugar and she looked stylish in all black. The couple left early as they apparently weren’t in any mood to be buying junk.

Who’ this Dirk? Read about Dirk

What’s up with Las Vegas Storage Unit Auctions?

Question:

Scotty Boy, I was at a storage unit auction in Las Vegas and I couldn’t believe what people were paying for the stuff.  What is going on with this craziness?

James B., Las Vegas

Answer:

James, I was in town for the storage unit auction last week you’re referring to and I agree that there is some craziness going on here.  What I saw were a bunch of laptards, desperate for merchandise, willing to pay anything to give themselves work.  That first storage unit auctioned off for $750 absolutely blew my mind.  There’s no way, in my opinion that unit full of junk could have been a profitable purchase at that amount.  In fact, everything sold at that particular auction was sold too high.  As a professional buyer, I just watch and walk away from such situations.  It appears, at least at the moment that the gig is up in the Las Vegas Storage Unit Auction game.   So it’s time to move to plan B.

Plan B:  There are still many buying opportunities out there that you can be looking at – it just takes more effort on your part to find them.  Try looking over the collectibles for sale on craigslist.  When you see something that strikes your fancy, check the completed listings on ebay.  What you’re looking for is a high percentage of listed items closing and an average amount per sale.  When you find something that looks like a winner on ebay, go back to craigslist and start making low-ball offers on the ads.  If you’re persistent enough with this, you will get merchandise and be able to make a profit on ebay.  Also, get back on a garage sale circuit.  Stay away from the pro garage sale and stick with the people who just want to clear out stuff so that they can go buy more stuff.  There are many fantastic bargains waiting for ebay sellers at garage sales.  In time, the las vegas storage unit auction circuit will thin out.  The laptards that are overpaying will go out of business and you can get sheds full of great stuff cheap perhaps.  But you can’t put all your eggs in one basket so being in an opportunistic business, you have to go where the opportunities are.

Thanks for the great question – I hope this answer helps.

Scott Asher