Category Archives: Storage Auction Questions

How do I become a buyer and reseller of Jewelry?

Hi Dirk, I read your post about selling jewelry and wonder how I go about becoming a buyer and seller of jewelry?  I’ve been to storage auctions as you suggest and there’s too much other junk involved.  Any suggestions?

Tamara, Kansas City, MO.

Dear Tamara, thank you for the question, I haven’t had one in such a while that I thought nobody was interested in buying and selling things anymore.  My faith is restored!

Ok, so you want to be a buyer and seller of jewelry; here’s how you do it.  First, recognize that you can be anything you want to be in this world.  If you want to be a jewelry buyer, imagine your self or pretend that you are and be prepared to take action on it.  You need to start with research.  I recommend you start with costume jewelry.  You need a price guide to train your eye to spot pieces that people are selling cheap because they do not know their true value.  Here’s a great book that we often use in our business:

Learn all that you can before you set out to buy. Your next step is to shop at garage sales, flea markets and on craigslist. There are sellers of jewelry all over the place and the three places I mentioned above are the most likely to be selling pieces under value. At every garage sale you should ask, are you selling any jewelry? Even if they are not displaying it, they might have some they hadn’t even considered selling. We find this all the time and when we do, we make an offer to buy everything. People have garage sales for a variety of reasons and if they’re not professionals, they WILL sell you their stuff for practically nothing. They just want to get rid of things, make the rent or whatever. You are most likely to get gold, silver and diamonds from this buying situation.

After you have bought some jewelry, you need to identify and grade what you have before you re-sell it. There are some tools you can acquire to help you with this task. You need a simple test to determine if it’s predious metal and what karat. Consider the following:

This is an inexpensive tester you can start with so that you are not ever underselling any piece. You can also take the tester with you when you’re re-selling at flea markets, craft shows or wherever you will be selling your merchandise and make a few extra bucks by testing pieces for $5 per test. You’d be surprised how many people need metals tested. You should also invest in a diamond tester. I once sold a piece of jewelry with diamonds for $40 and heard later that the buyer re-sold it for $1400. I wasn’t sure if they were real diamonds or not and he pulled out his tester on the spot and happily handed me the forty bucks I was asking for. You don’t want to have that happen to you so get a diamond tester.

We had a funny jewelry buying experience I’ll leave you with. My wife found a seller on craigslist – she was offering 50 pieces of costume jewelry for $40. It sounded promising just from the title; at a dollar a piece, we’re guaranteed profit. We showed up to their house with cash in hand and checked out the goods. This place was straight up ghetto and we walked into a crime scene in progress. I was overwhelmed by the smell of dog piss and the seller was sleeping on a mattress on the floor in their living room. Her toothless husband showed us the jewelry and we looked over just to make sure that the earrings had pairs and what-not. While we were looking over her costume jewelry, he sat on the mattress and she said, “get off of me, I’m sleeping.” ”Whatever, you f–king wh-re,” he said as if we weren’t even there. ”Do you have a grocery bag?” I asked and handed him the $40. We wondered if that was going to be enough for the pair to get their fix of whatever. Later we looked over the stuff, took our price guide out and found several vintage pieces, worth several hundred dollars. We found some sterling silver. Overall, we’ll probably make 5-6 hundred dollars from our $40 investment. It’s not without some risk but the risk is outweighed by the reward. We bagged and tagged the items and put it with our portable sales stash. When we get to Venice Beach next month, we’ll have quite a sale.
Much success!

Making money from the misfortune of others?

Question from Anne G. in Hawaii:

A friend gave me your book and I gave it a quick read. It sounds like you’re suggesting people to prey upon the misfortune of others to find stuff to sell? (Hateful rant omitted.)


Anne, thank you for your question. I get asked this one a lot. It is true that much of the merchandise I have sold came from people who were in financial distress. One way to look at this is you’re either predator or prey. You either eat or get eaten. Now, this is not such a pleasant way to look at things so I choose to look at it as follows:

There many, many reasons that a may become in a weak financial position; loss of a job, excessive debt, gambling, drinking/drugs, divorce, imprisonment and death. I have found evidence of these personal problems in some of the delinquent storage units I have purchased at auction. I didn’t have anything to do with the person failing to pay their rent on their stored goods. In fact, when I show up to an auction and the auctioneer tells us that several of the people paid their delinquent rent, I cheer them. I think people should pay the rent to save their stuff if it has value to them. Why would they have put it in storage otherwise? If everyone would just pay their rent there would never be a storage unit auction. But for whatever reason, some people don’t pay their rent and the auction goes forward. When I buy it, I move it out of the storage facility so the facility can rent the space – furthering commerce. I clean it and sell it, recycling if you will. So you could say that I’m performing a service which furthers economic growth. I think of it as a green business.

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Controversy over quitting job to buy storage units

Question from Robert in Washington

“You say that the third step to financial freedom is quitting your job. This seems like financial suicide right now. The last thing you should advise anyone to do in this crappy economy is quit their job. You’re just a third rate hack with bad advice.”


Robert, I’m deducting the bonus points I gave you for reading the book for the fact that you did not phrase your email in the form of a question. Still, your comment deserves a response so here it goes. You’ll recall that I gave you permission in the book to do what is best for you, it’s not a hard and fast rule. I hope you’d agree with me that if you had the opportunity to work for yourself, that would be better than making someone else’s financial dreams come true. However, if your life circumstances, ie. you are broke, keep you in your job until you can get out of debt, save some money or whatever you need to do to start living a sane, financial life within your means, then by all means, stay at your job. Robert, I respectfully suggest you re-read the chapter on activating the Observer. If you can do this one thing, you will be the person answering the questions instead of some guy you don’t know from Adam. Hey, thanks for buying my book though and I hope you come back for the next one!

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How do I start buying storage units with no money?

Question from Benjamin in Atlanta:

Dirk, I found you from your friend That picked up your book. I like the idea of buying a storage unit auction and I’ve seen that there are several around Atlanta. I lost my job, my house is being foreclosed and I can’t rub two nickels together right now. How can I get started in the storage auction business?
Thanks in advance,
Benjamin T., Atlanta


Benjamin, Jared’s a good kid and I’m glad you found his website. Maybe you should ask him how to make some money because he’s making it hand over fist with his internet project. But since you asked me, I’ll give you a straight answer. I don’t know how many times somebody has whined to me that they don’t have any money to buy a storage auction. Holy crap balls dude, how about selling your stuff? Have you had a garage sale lately? In my book, I recommend that someone starting this sell their personal possessions, a) to raise the CASH to buy at auction and b) to begin learning the value of second hand possessions. How do you think you’re going to know what to buy at auction if you don’t know what someone is willing to pay you for the stuff? I’m not trying to be hard on you but you’ve got to use some common sense. You can get paid to be in a medical experiment, you can sell your plasma, you can get cash for donating your sperm. Try cashing in all the coins you find laying around. Drive around your neighborhood on trash day and look for things people are throwing away that you can sell. Put an ad on craigslist that you’ll haul away people’s junk. There’s ten million ways you can make a few hundred dollars in cash that you can parlay into a storage auction. Oh, you will find more ideas in my book From Garage Sale to Financial Freedom in Five Steps and you can pick up some tips on auctions from an article I recently wrote. Thanks for your question. I hope this helped.
Much success,

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How to Start Selling at Broadacres Swap Meet


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


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

First Question from the bag – What do I do with all this stuff?

The first question comes from Mary F., Chicago, Ill.

Dear Dirk,

I’m quite upset with you.  My husband bought your book and purchased two storage unit auctions, against my better judgment.  Now, we have a house full of stuff and although he’s sold some of it, I can’t stand my house looking like a junk yard.  My husband acts like he has gold fever and is ready to buy more.  What should I do?


Mary, I’m glad your husband read my book, did you read it?  I explained several ways to move the merchandise once you bring it home.  I assume you held a garage sale since that’s the best way to move a house full of merchandise.  Here’s a couple of more suggestions to unload large quantities of merchandise if you’re not willing to sell individual pieces.  Look in the phone book for auction houses in Chicago, there should be several.  Go see a couple of these auctions and you’ll see that you can create box lots with many items.  Box lots are a great way to make some money and get rid of the stuff around your house.  Another suggestion would be to load a truck full of items and take to your local swap meet.  If you really just want to get rid of the stuff, load it up and take it to your favorite charity and get the receipt – you can deduct at least $500 from your taxes.  If you don’t want to be bothered loading it up, put an ad on craigslist under the free section and watch people back up their trucks and haul everything away.

I’m sorry you’re upset with your husband but you should consider reading the book and working with him as a team.  Two heads are always better than one when it comes to selling your house full of merchandise.  It takes constant energy to list and sell.  If you don’t want to do it, you should just tell him you don’t like that.  If he doesn’t understand your desires maybe you guys should seek marriage counseling.

Good luck!

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