I am considering renting warehouse space. I think that 1,000-1,500 feet of space with heavy warehouse racks and ability to use someonae's forklift (which I would pay for) would be great. As I can be content with only storing low dollar per pound stuff there, I think that I would not have great concern with possible theft. So, I would consider sharing warehouse space with someone etc. One thing I will need is internet connection in the warehouse, as that would let me list stuff from there on eBay.
Has anyone tried anything similar, do you have any experiences to share.
I have a small warehouse next to my shop that I rent out. It's 2400 sq. feet. I wouldn't let the guy I'm renting to run my forklift. There's too much liability to worry about. I wouldn't have a problem letting him use my wireless internet connection though.
We had a customer rent a *huge* amount of space from one of these U-haul type storage places--he kluged up an office, and everything. 30-foot ceilings, at least. Well, more like a cage, w/ 30 ft chicken wire.... Might the be able to use U-haul's (or whomever) in-house equipment, as well. He was doin the 99c thing, AND contracting us to make cheap tooling, which actually is in MSC! Unfortunately, he would all too often pay us in *pallets* of 99c trinkets, cheap condoms, toothbrushes, and toxic mouthwash....
I don't know bout where you are Ig, but in these-here parts, storage places sprout up like weeds, in any place that cain't get zoned residential for super-priced housing for the NY yupster assholes. Which sez that housing here is so expensive, and so cramped, that muhfugguhs cain't even afford enough living space to fit all their shit in. 9x12 master bedrooms. Some people are even living in their storage units.
Also, commercial buildings often have "odd" spaces that can be rented cheaply. Another one of our customers had one of these odd spaces, w/ very high ceilings, and effectively doubled the area by building a mezzanine, which was only slightly rickety. :) Also, a lot of existing businesses can easily chop off an area for you to use.
Then a storage place that also rents trucks might be a good bet. Also, as much as calling around, *drive* around, explore, keep yer eyes peeled. Amazing what's not formally listed. For example, fruit/vegetable/meat distributors have huge amounts of sq ft, often not all used. W/ forklifts, f'sure. Ditto furniture warehouses. If you was here in Yonkers, you'd proly be able to move right in to my tool supplier's warehouse--also 30 ft ceilings. He could literally mezzanine up one of his warehouses, and let the other one go! It's sumpn ahm thinkin about, if my shit ever gets off the ground.
Thanks Ig for bringing up a subject dear to the hearts of HSMers.....how does one get more space?
In your situation I am assuming that you are looking for this for storage to support an Ebay selling effort. If so, you should know what $$$ you are turning for profit which can be translated into what you can afford for monthly rent for space.
Rule #1...if the Significant Other is not happy, NO ONE will be happy.
Make sure the spouse is happy with the final solution. Off site storage means that you will not be around which can lead to unhappy times at home.
Rule#2..if the rental fees cost more than the profit from Ebay sales, you really have to ask yourself...should you be renting the space at all?
Sometimes it is better business to simply walk away from that great deal of stuff if in the end it means that you will lose money.
Rule#3.....store only what will turn a profit...and turn that inventory over within thirty days.
This is where reducing large things into the small valuable stuff comes in....and getting the stuff listed, sold and shipped within thirty days. I suggest thirty days simply as a convenient milestone that one can monitor without taking alot of hassle. Realistically I have started storing on one side of a storage area and ideally by the time I am needing that space again the space is available.
Rule#4...don't rent what you don't need. When I buy stuff I make sure that it sits at the seller's locations as long as possbile...which means I am using their storage space free or at a minimum charge. It may mean having two enclosed trailers....one for immediate use while the other is the "holding pen" for work in progress. It should mean never parking vehicles in the home garage unless it violates Rule#1. If you have a backyard deck, enclose it for cheap storage. If you have a fence around the backyard, building a leanto type shed around the perimeter of the yard. Use every SQUARE INCH of your storage space...one of the easiest is to have shelves floor to ceiling....and set the ceiling up so you can hang appropriate stuff from it to utilize that area. Never store packing material....find a source from a company discarding it so once again you use their storage space.
Rule#5...time is as important as money...if the storage solution takes too much time to build, use, find the stuff you are storing...it is no bargain. This can mean having the sutitable shelving, pallets, cabinets, storage on wheels, etc. Stop and consider how commercial warehouses do it...standardized pallets, shelving, labeled contents, traffic areas always clear....again time is money.
For a lift I would recommend that you find a small walkie stackie type of hydralic lift...they are cheap, relatively light, easily transportable and convenient to use.
How about guys...what other "rules" would you suggest?
Rule #1 - Never buy a house next door to some packrat who stores eBay crap on his porch, in his backyard, and in a lean-to built in his yard. You're better off buying a house next door to a clinic for recovering pedophile drug addicts with Tourette's Syndrome property-value-wise.
Let me talk a little about the economics of storage, using the simple example of emptying a basement.
We finally decided to finish most of our basement. In order to do this, we had to remove literally 40 years of accumulation of stuff. Obviously we found a lot of things that we did not need. We donated some, sold a few, and trashed others. Even took a small load of aluminum to the recycler. But what we think that we wanted to keep filled up a 10 by 30 storage unit, which we are renting for about $260/month. Round numbers,
300 sq ft divided by $260/month is about $1 per month per square foot.
We recently also bought a high quality 10 by 10 storage shed, which cost us $2000. That cost us $20 per square foot.
If you compare renting to building, the payback for building is pretty good, less than two years. Of course that assumes that you already have the land to build on.
I heard some pretty funny stories at the U-store-it place, about people who clean out their dad's storage unit, only to find that it is full of empty boxes; he probably paid thousands of dollars over many years to store empty boxes. The lady across the street from us just emptied out a storage unit in the town where she used to live, 12 years ago! How much did she pay over 12 years to store things that she is now mostly giving away? And the old people who die and leave their houses stuffed with things that have no value?
To me, the real question is whether you should keep a given thing or not. Let's pretend for a moment that you have a large widget. If you don't need this widget, or perhaps if it has been collecting dust for some time, then it should be an easy decision; sell it if it has value, or get rid of it if it has no economic value. In today's world, with ebay and craiglist, it is easier than ever to sell anything. If no one is willing to offer you a few dollars for it, what makes you think that it has any value at all?
If you think that this widget is going to become more valuable with time, you are probably kidding yourself. This is especially true if you factor in the time value of money, that is, the fact that a dollar in your hand today is worth more than a dollar that you receive years later.
Some people will tell you that if you have not used something in six months you should get rid of it. That is probably a shorter time than most people would be comfortable with. So pick another number, say 3 years. If you have not used something in 3 years, what are the chances that you will use it in the next 12 months? Probably pretty low, if we are honest.
I think that it is human nature to want to keep "stuff". But that does not make it rational or wise.
If every american got rid of everything that they have not used in three years, the U-store it places would go broke, and the people paying X dollars a month to store things would have more money in their pocket.
Getting back to Ignoramus's question, certainly he could rent storage, but is it smart to do so? Wouldn't he be better off selling anything of value rapidly, and then disposing of the junk? He would probably get the same amount of money by selling it today rather than next year. One of the great things about ebay is that you can sell it in seven days; if no one makes you an offer, haul it to the landfill.
I would bet that from an economic basis, 99% of the people storing anything for more than 6 months would be better off selling it. Of course there are exceptions; if you are leaving the country for a year, it probably makes sense to store most of your things for that year, rather than buy furniture again a year later. But I would bet that is not the case for 99% of the people with storage units, they would be better off getting rid of all that extra stuff.
Sorry about the long note, I have been thinking a lot lately about how we all have too much stuff, and how many people are paying real money to store things that have no real value to anyone.
Oh, and about the things in our 10 by 30 storage unit? When the contractors are done, we plan to fit as many of them as we can in our basement, attic, and shed. We know that we will not be able to fit everything back in, so we plan to go through our stuff again, and sell, scrap, or donate whatever we have not used lately. No way would I rent long term storage space for most of the stuff that I pulled out of the basement.
The reason why I want a warehouse is not to store the stuff I might need but have no space to store.
The reasons are related to the fact that I buy stuff and resell it (mostly on ebay) for fun and profit.
A warehouse can address three problems:
1) Give me space to store inventory. Generally speaking, the turnaround on what I buy and resell is 1-2 months. So I need to store about 2-3 months worth of goods, conservatively speaking.
2) Improve my material handling abilities beyond a shop crane.
3) Make me able to buy and sell heavier machinery that would not fit my existing storage arrangements.
The issue, raised by Don Lancaster and others, of having to accept forward rent obligation, is quite important. I have to accept to pay for a nebulous hope of future profit.
The other cost of having a warehouse is being away from family -- right now I can stop doing stuff and go back to the house to do some family duties in a minute -- that would not be the case if the warehouse is 5 minutes away from home. Plus, I could use "spare time" to do stuff in the garage a few minutes at a time.
All in all, I think, I should first to ty become more efficient at shortening the sell cycle and at becoming more consistent. Example, the huge drills that I have (25 lbs each) sell well, and yet I failed to maintain constant selling pace and have about a dozen left (mostly same sizes that I sold already).
Transaction costs. It is very expensive to sell single items, including things like eBay, when you count all the time and effort involved, the discount from buyer uncertainty over used items sold casually, etc. It is somewhat expensive to buy them or ones like them back. If you have to make the round trip, it gets quite expensive. It costs a lot to sort stuff out and sell it or throw it out. It costs a lot to have imperfect information about what something is really worth; this is potentially catastrophic.
Selling has unexpected costs; we had a twice-yearly all-neighborhood yard sale for many years that everybody thought was great, until it dawned on us that we had a twice-yearly rash of burglaries curiously correlated to the days following.
Uncertainty. You don't really know whether you'll not need something, in many cases. While this is the basis of the packrat's obsession, it is still a fact, to be dealt with rationally and not obsessively. Multiply this uncertainty times the transaction costs, and you have a different rational value to some item than you might think.
You can also look at the problem as having committed to a certain fixed amount of storage space (you own the house and can't change it), so the problem is one of maximizing the utility of what you can store in that much space, not trying to keep it empty.
I don't expect I'll use all 115 drill bits in my 1-60/A-Z/fractional set, but then I don't know which I'll never need, and the cost of not having one is rather high compared to the cost of having them all.
Four cases to consider based on selling/keeping and eventually-need or not. If you sell and eventually need it, bad. If you don't sell and never need, then bad. Don't sell and need, good. Sell and never need, good. Each case has different contingencies and costs/benefits. Not so easy to conclude that packratting is bad in general.
"Time value of money" is overrated. Bankers and brokers lie about expected rate of returns, because they always omit the extinction risk in their ERRs. What would the Dow stand at today, based on the original Dow components (Pacific Mail Steamship, etc.).
If money has time value, then so does procrastination, the time value of time itself. I could spend the next year cleaning out stuff I'll never use and catching up on my filing. I'd rather play with my kids.
Is my summary of this correct? "Rent/overhead is a bitch" :)
Hey Ig, mebbe erect some temporary storage around the house--car port-type deals, tents, plastic sheds, etc. Zoning can be an issue, but if it's easy to take down, pay the $100 fine and do sumpn else. Might get a rise out of a Lawn Nazi neighbor or two. Then put a (fake) tombstone on yer lawn with their name on it. :)
Also, since you apparently have the ebay skills, mebbe you could work out a deal w/ an enterprising warehouse owner, and handle his ebay stuff for him, if he has such an inclination. Or some other deal, where maybe you can procure some of what he needs, etc. To ease the overhead.
Only one rule: Ask yourself honestly "Will I EVER sell this stuff?!"
Here, a seller of electronic surplus had "warehouse sales" several times a year. He owned an old building stuffed full of great deals he had picked up and never sold. Some of the big stuff like generators, old OLD computers and relay racks were so surrounded by other junk he could never have sold them because he couldnt get to them. Other shelves held hopelessly obsolete (yet non-collectable) medical stuff, odds and ends of sound equipment boxes of unrecongnisible stuff, lifetime supplies of little used hardware, etc etc.
When ebay was good, I would pick up occasional items that could be cleaned up and sold profitably. I wondered why he didnt do this himself. As the years went by fewer and fewer people came to his sales. Nothing sellable presented itself to me. Eventually he gave up on the the sales.. The last one I went to I noted just how much of the stuff had been there, unmoved, since the first sale I'd attended. I actually knew where most of the stuff was since it never moved, was never added to and none of it ever sold. Then I stumbled on an old reel to reel video machine. I'd tried to buy this thing DECADES ago. I was SHORTER then. Videotape was just coming in. The guy almost made a deal but backed out at the last moment, fearful he was not getting enough for the thing. There there it was, 35, maybe 40 years later, still sitting on the floor, dusty and broken and UNSOLD.
Today, this poor guy hasn't a prayer of selling any of this stuff. No other salvage guy will buy this junk. He might make a few cents just SCRAPPING the stuff for copper and aluminum but there is so much work in disassembling things like this. All the antique stuff was sold long ago. Now he has a huge building full of rubbish he will someday pay to have hauled away.
Let this guy be the last fool to do this. Don't follow his example and store a load of crap that will never be worth anymore than it is right now. If you can buy tons of stuff, can you REALLY sell it off one piece at a time? Why only you? Are there countless other people with the same stuff?
My sales philosophy is that I never was and likely never be able to get top prices for the things that I sell. What I am good is finding stuff at advantageous prices. I am, consequently, not looking to get a top price for anything by means other than describing my items in an attractive manner. For instance, right now I am selling top quality, unused 10" computer style fans CLE2T2, with grilles and 8" household power cords, for just $15 apiece. That sells them briskly. I could have taken my time and thus got a higher price for them, which I do not care for.