I recently had the opportunity to tag along with Schneider’s Auction Services to a real life “Storage Wars” auction. Mr. David Schneider and Mr. Bob Schneider were contracted to serve as the auctioneers to sell the abandoned storage units to the highest bidder.
I spoke to David and his son, Bob Schneider, to find out how they get the word out that there are units in the area that are up for auction. They explained, “We use a great website, auctionzip.com that lets us reach a large number of people that have a genuine interest in auctions and specifically in bidding on storage units.” Bob added, “We got around 3,000 hits to our advertisement regarding this auction. Obviously not all of those people will come today, but it goes to show the popularity of modern day treasure hunting.”
Bob Schneider (left) and David Schneider of Schneider Auction Services
At this specific auction we had around 25 “treasure hunters” show up. There were only six storage units on the block and the Schneiders told me, “For this number of units the turnout was about what we expected.” The participants registered and were assigned a number. David read them the rules to the auction and we were off.
The first step of gaining access to the storage units; you guessed it, breaking out the grinder and cutting the lock off of the door. The sparks flew as the kids covered their ears.
The bidders are not aloud to actually enter the unit; they are able to stand in the door for a moment and examine the contents in plain sight. The seasoned veterans brought a flashlight in hopes to spot something sparkly. Once everyone has had a chance to look at the unit the bidding begins.
I asked David and Bob what were some of the more notable items that have been claimed in previous storage unit auctions? Their eyes lit up and I knew an impressive list was about to follow. “We have had people find diamond rings in their locker.” They said. “A person has also found safes in their unit that contained $10,000 and $2,000!”
When I heard that these units have been known to contain thousands of dollars in cash it struck me this really is a modern day treasure hunt. Some units will be a locker full of useless garbage, and others will be a lucrative investment.
There are multiple reasons to have a “storage war”. All of the units are delinquent in their rent, so the manager of the facility is losing money on each one. The auction gets each unit cleaned out as the winning bidder takes on responsibility for the contents and has 24 hours to clear out the unit. It also allows the manager of the property to rent the unit to a new tenant. Everyone wins: the property manager, the winning bidder, and the auction service.
All the storage units were auctioned off that afternoon. I did not stick around to see what each had inside, but I am sure the treasures were boundless.
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Thank you to Schneider Auction Services for letting me take part in this exciting event, and for being a loyal part of the FTM family!