A new online platform for self-storage auctions is open for business.
Unlike other online storage auction websites, StorageStuff.bid says it’s the first in the industry to be fully licensed and bonded.
Rick Yonis, managing partner of StorageStuff, said he felt it was important to have licenses in states that require auctioneers to have one.
“We believe that it is going to be important in the future. There is already legislation being proposed in some states that will regulate the online auction industry, regardless of what sector it is involved in,” Yonis said.
Yonis is also president of Sentry Self Storage, which operates 29 facilities in Texas, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina
Changing with the Times
StorageStuff is an evolution of Legacy Auction Services, which was founded in 2009 as a traditional self-storage auction company. Yonis said that as online auctions sites started to take hold in early 2014, he started to look at the possibility of extending Legacy’s services into the virtual realm.
Legacy has multiple auctioneers on its payroll, and Yonis said it frequently flew them around the country to conduct auctions.
“When you look at the economics of holding an auction on-site versus online, it makes a lot of sense to migrate over to an online platform,” Yonis said.
The cost to the facility is also less to hold a unit auction online versus on site. According to its website, StorageStuff collects 10 percent of the final sale from both the buyer and the storage facility that is auctioning the unit. Still, Yonis said many operators prefer to do things the old fashioned way.
“Just like some operators out there don’t want to sell to REITs, there are owners and operators that still want to have auctions face to face,” Yonis said.
Features for All
Yonis hopes to attract as many operators to the site as possible, and has included many unique features to bring them on board. One such feature is the ability for facilities to create a draft of their proposed unit auction, which can be reviewed and approved at a later time. That appeals to larger chains with multiple facilities, Yonis said. For example, property managers from each facility can create auction drafts, and the district manager can review them all before they are published.
The auction site is also optimized for mobile devices, allowing facility managers to upload photos and unit information directly from their phones or tablets.
StorageStuff also has incorporated features aimed at attracting bidders, such as the ability to make proxy bids. That means bidders can input the maximum bid they are willing to pay for a unit. The system will automatically increase their bid up to that number when other users input bids.
Because StorageStuff is a licensed auction company, it is able to list its auction on AuctionZip.com, a leading directory of auctions across the country that only accepts listings from licensed auctioneers. Yonis said the ability to cross-list its auctions on AuctionZip gives the company more exposure and a competitive edge over other sites.