Below is the list of Answers to the Questions asked during the July 18, 2018 Industry Webinar by Tony Johnson from SelfStorageAuction.com. If you missed the webinar you may watch it on-demand
from the SiteLink website.Q. Once an auction has closed, what is the process?A.
Once an auction closes, an email is sent to the winning bidder. A copy of that email is also sent to the facility. The email includes the winning bidder’s contact information, how much they won the unit for, etc. The winner will then bring the invoice to the facility where you can confirm identification. The winner will then pay the facility the appropriate amount, plus any clean-out deposit set by the facility. Then the site manager takes the winning bidder to the unit and opens it up. Once they clean out the unit, you check that it is broom swept and return the clean-out deposit if everything looks good.
Q. What happens if someone doesn’t pay when they win an auction?A.
If someone doesn’t pay in the allotted amount of time (48 or 72 hours from the time the auction closed), there are 2 options: Go to a backup bidder, or re-post the unit.
The bidder who did not pay will be banned from SelfStorageAuction.com.
Q. What is a tamper tag?A.
A tamper tag is a security tag that protects the facility and assures the winning bidder of contents. It is a one-time-use tag with a unique series of numbers. SelfStorageAuction.com provides tamper tags as a courtesy.
When posting an auction online, the facility takes pictures of the unit (usually 5-10) and uploads them. The last picture should show the unit with the door closed, with overlock on, with the tamper tag. When the winning bidder comes in to get the contents, this assures the winner that everything they have seen in the pictures is behind the door.
Q. Is SelfStorageAuction.com available in Canada?A.
Yes, our company is global and we are partners with the biggest online auction company in Canada, iBid4Storage.com.
Q. Does the storage facility need to be involved in the social media aspect of the auction?A.
No. SelfStorageAuction handles all the advertising, marketing, social media, etc. for the auction as a courtesy. Our job is to hold auctions, and we understand that a facility’s job is to rent space and collect rent.
Q. What is the fee structure for your solution? Is there a flat rate?A.
SelfStorageAuction provides 2 different memberships for facilities. The standard membership is 10% of the winning auction. The facility will never be billed for this 10%– it is taken off the winning bidder’s credit card at the close of the auction along with the bidder premium where applicable. This would mean that the winning bidder would bring 90% to the facility as the final payment instead of 100%. This membership is geared towards facilities that have a low number of auctions per month.
The VIP membership is a flat $40 per month that is billed to the facility or accounts payable on an anniversary-style cycle each month. This can be paid by check or credit card on file. This membership is geared towards facilities that have multiple locations or lots of auctions per month.
Q. Is there a cleanup fee if someone doesn’t clean up the unit?A.
The clean out deposit is set by the facility, typically about $100. The deposit will be returned to the bidder once they have cleaned out the unit. Our company recommends getting the cleanup fee in cash and holding it until the winning bidder has finished. Bidders are under contract to clean out the unit as well.
Q. What makes an auction a good one that people want to bid on?A.
Great pictures! The pictures will sell a unit. A facility needs to take a full set of pictures from the unit threshold. The set should contain one picture down the center of the unit, then several angles including upper and lower right and left angles. Zoom in on anything that may be of interest. Our site also provides the ability to crop pictures to highlight an item. In addition, a great description is always helpful.
Q. In some states, the auction process starts after 45 days. What is the typical amount of time before a facility can go to auction?A.
Many states require a facility to place an ad in the newspaper for 2 consecutive weeks to announce an auction. The facility should upload the auction at the time of the first ad and close the auction on the date listed on the lien notice. Most facilities close it the day after the second ad.
Q. How do you schedule an auction?A.
The facility controls the scheduling. With SiteLink API integration, you simply enter all information in the Post Online Auction screen. SiteLink management software pulls info every hour on the hour, and once it pulls those dates the auction is scheduled.
Q. Can a facility upload videos in addition to photos?A.
SelfStorageAuction.com no longer uses video. We discovered over the years that bidders did not like video because they could not focus in easily on an item of interest. Bidders prefer still pictures. Also, SelfStorageAuction.com automatically enlarges a picture when it is uploaded, so a bidder can look more closely at any item they see in a photo.
Q. Does the storage facility need to be able to collect fees online?A.
Online auctioning requires people to pay at the facility. Per online auction laws, the term “sale” means the exchange of money for exchange of goods, and it has to be at the same location. Therefore, people can bid online, but they need to pay at the facility.
Q. How would a Canadian company get set up with SelfStorageAuction.com?A.
Contact SelfStorageAuction.com directly, and a member of the sales staff from the Canadian location will reach out to you.
Q. What percentage of online auctions have zero bids, and does SelfStorageAuction charge a facility if no one ends up bidding?A.
About 3% of auctions on SelfStorageAuction.com get no bids. This is very low since we have about 2500-3000 per month. If no one ends up bidding on a unit, our company does not charge you.
Q. Is there a setup fee?A.
No. Setup and registration on SelfStorageAuction.com are totally free, and we also provide the tamper tags for free. There is no contract, even for the VIP program. Simply call if you need to change your fee structure at any time.
Q. What is the cost to the storage company if there is only one bidder, and that bidder does not pay?A.
There is no cost to the facility because the facility did not receive any money. Once a facility has fulfilled the lien obligation, they can now choose if they want to run an auction on the unit again or even post it as a “Manager Special.” The facility can post the items online for sale instead of paying to have someone clean out the unit.
Q. Have you noticed any trends in the same people buying online? Is there a certain company that tends to always buy up stuff?A.
SelfStorageAuction.com has the largest bidder base in the industry. The majority of our bidders are resellers looking for specific items. Each unit is different, and we market to specifics. For example, if there is a unit that contains a bunch of compressors, we will market to businesses such as construction companies that may use these or similar items. If the unit looks like it may contain antiques, we will then market to that crowd. There is also a place to enter keywords so bidders searching for specific items can find them easily.
Q. What happens if a tenant pays for the unit prior to the auction ending?A.
A tenant can cure their account with a facility up until the moment that the winning bidder pays for the unit in full. If the tenant arrives at the facility before the winning bidder, you must accept payment from the tenant and cancel the auction immediately. We ask that the facility notify SelfStorageAuction.com via phone or email so we can refund the winning bidder and save them a trip to the storage facility.
Q. What sets SelfStorageAuction apart from other companies like BID13 or Storage Treasures?A.
We pride ourselves on being the front-runners and leading innovators in the self-storage auction world. We take the utmost care and provide the best attention to detail for facilities and bidders with 24-hour access to our top-notch Customer Service Department. We provide real-time text message notifications to both facility managers and bidders, giving everyone a more hands-free user-friendly experience. With the largest bidder base in the industry and multiple marketing outlets, we provide a larger reach to bidders across the United States and Canada that results in optimal views per auction to help get the best debt recovery possible. Currently SelfStorageAuction is the only platform that has API capabilities working with SiteLink, Center Shift, Doorswap and SSM. Our primary focus is assisting facilities in their lien recovery and providing access to real-time reporting from any level of facility dashboards to customize each facility’s needs. On top of all of these amazing benefits, we no longer charge cancellation fees!
Q. How does your integration work with SiteLink in regards to printing an auction receipt to the winner instead of the tenant?A.
At the close of the auction, both the facility and the bidder will receive the same invoice accessible through dashboards and email. These invoices can be printed if needed. Nothing is ever sent to the tenant from the platform.
Q. How do you prevent a tenant from bidding on their own unit?A.
The platform cannot prevent someone from registering an account or bidding and winning a unit due to the auction being a public sale; however, if a facility has a clause in their lease agreement that the tenants are not permitted to bid on their own units, that can be added to a custom auction notice that is listed on each individual auction the facility posts. The facilities do have the right to refuse sale with the clause stated in the lease agreement and posted on the auction in the custom notice. This allows for customer service to assist if a tenant should win their own unit and move to a backup bidder for the auction or repost the auction.