Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I Think It's a Staged Unit!

I heard someone say this today. "I think it's a staged unit". Really? I don't think so. I've heard it before, and I sometimes just cringe. First, let's define what a "staged unit" is. A staged unit is one in which the items are displayed in such a way that the bidder thinks there are high quality items in a unit when there are not. A staged unit is an attempt by some jerk to deceive the bidders. A staged unit likely has a big, new box that says "I'm a $1000 flat screen TV, buy me", when in reality, the box is empty. A staged unit is designed to dupe you. Next, let's talk about the people who would do this. The first group of these morons are out to make a profit by renting a storage unit, not paying the bill, letting the unit go into lien status, hoping that there will be an auction, and counting on greedy bidders to pay way more for the unit than what they owe. After all, storage facilities can not keep the profits and must turn over excess funds to the renter. Let's examine this. Someone has to set up a unit to make it look like it's worth thousands, on a unit that they likely owe hundreds on. So after the auction, and the auctioneers commission, and the lien and late charges, they hope to make a profit. If they owe $300, and the unit sells for $3,000, they will make a profit (less of course all the fees). When's the last time you paid $3000 for a unit based on the boxes being marked "TV", or "Buy me - there's something valuable in this box"? Never. In order to make money at this, it takes months and months before a unit goes to auction, and bidders have to be duped enough to fall for it. Frankly, I think this is a lousy way to scam people. Although I've heard rumors of this happening, I've never seen it. At the Storage Auction Kings, we sell thousands of units each year and have never seen it. It's an urban myth folks. It doesn't happen. The odds of it actually happening, and you not seeing it, are less than the odds of the IRS giving you a free bonus on your tax return. The other group of people that might want to "stage" a unit would be the facility manager, hoping to make a little extra on the storage auction. Let's think about this too. For the manager to pull of this scam, they need to ignore every precautionary procedure in place to keep them from getting sued. Like the biggest no-no of all, going into the unit. Assuming that a manager would risk getting fired, they would have to have the time and energy to do this. Most of these managers have much better things to do. Would you risk your job for a few extra bucks? They would likely have to cook the books to get away with it, and that's a great way to land in jail. So why bother? Many of our facilities are corporate-owned or part of a chain. Nobody involved in the auction process here would have anything to gain by staging a unit, and there are many checks and balances in place to make this very difficult. Again, why bother. No one is going to stage a unit, and if someone does, it's a one in a million fluke. SO, why do people think there are staged units? One of two reasons... either the unit is actually organized and neat (which is not uncommon), or you may be looking at a "Manager's Unit". A manager's unit is nothing more than a collection of things surrendered or left behind by multiple tenants. Rather than throwing these things out, the'll be collected and sold at auction along with the regular lien units. This is fairly common. These units are filled gradually over time and are usually fairly neat. The problem is they sometimes don't tell you, or tell us for that matter. Manager's units, or sometimes called morgue units, are perfectly legal and you're no better or worse for buying one. We just wish management would tell us so we can tell you. We do our best to educate, but sometimes it happens. You haven't been duped, cheated, or lied to. You're just buying stuff that's been left behind. End of story. Staged units? Not likely. Questions? Ask your auctioneer. Ask me, I'll clear it up for you. Rich Schur. Champion Auctioneer. Storage Auction Guy.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Benefit & Fundraising Auctions... An Art Form

Non-profit organizations have always struggled with raising money for their causes. When the economy turns, it gets even harder. They often try a variety of methods to reach their goals. Many organizations choose the Auction as an event to raise money. Many of these same organizations find that it didn't raise nearly as much money as they hoped, and their guests were not very happy when they left. When I hear these stories, my first question is "who was your auctioneer?"

Before I even get the answer, I can pretty much bet on one of the following answers...

  • We had a volunteer do it.
  • The director (coach, priest, chairman) conducted the auction. 
  • We had a "cattle auctioneer" come do it for free. Here's the problem.... although well-meaning, they don't have the training to make the event a success. 

The National Auctioneers Association (NAA), has a training program specifically for Benefit Auctioneers, called surpassingly, the Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS). Shannon and I were among the first in the world to attend this class and earn this designation. 

As a matter of fact, Rich is at a conference today (September 17th), in Chicago, learning with 75 of the other best benefit Auctioneers in the world. This simply means we have been trained. It means we know some of the pitfalls and the errors that occur when trying to raise funds. It means that we have seen what works, and what doesn't work, and we can bring that experience to our clients. But to get started, there are 7 Keys to success that all organizers must know. We're sharing it here because it's so important.

  • Right People There are KEY people that MUST be invited to every event to increase your revenues 
  • Right Stuff Auctions are about BUYING. The right number, variety, and quality of things to sell is essential 
  • Right Venue Having the right location and the right amenities available will make your event seamless, fun, and profitable! 
  • Right Agenda The timeline for your event, including when your event is held, can make or break your success 
  • Right Volunteers Your people make the difference, Having the right volunteers and staff, doing the right things, is essential.
  • Right Marketing What you say, how you say it, who you say it to, and when you say it, dramatically impacts your bottom line 
  • Right Professional Benefit Auction Team We, of course, hope you'll choose us as your auctioneers. But this includes your sound and AV folks, clerking and registering team, item supplier, and so much more.   

There is SO MUCH that goes into a fundraising event, often the ONLY fundraising event for the year, that you can't afford to miss any opportunity to be successful. Auctioneers are the ONLY vendor that brings money back to the organization. They are an investment. The better the Auction Professional, the better your return and profit. It's that simple.

If you know someone who needs to raise funds for their non-profit, have them contact a Professional, Benefit Auctioneer Specialist. We'd like that to be us, but if not, we'll be happy to steer them to a fellow professional. For more information, see our website at BenefitAuctioneers.com.

Monday, August 19, 2013

We're a Featured Contributor!

Benefit Auctions are a speciality in the business. Fundraising is very different from liquidating surplus assets, or running self-storage auctions. At Schur Success Auction & Appraisal, we have a division dedicated solely to benefit auctions. It's called Schur Success Benefit Auctions!

Benefit auctions require a whole new level of training, and an entirely different approach on how to help your clients achieve financial success. The National Auctioneer's Association (NAA) offers a special designation known as the Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS). Shannon and I were in the original class and among the first in the country to earn this coveted designation.

Being a BAS Auctioneer means we have the skills and expertise to help our clients truly understand the many facets of fundraising and fundraising auctions. We serve as consultants, coaches, mentors, and sometimes therapists.

There are dozens and dozens of variables that effect an organization's ability to raise awareness for their cause, and to generate both physical support and financial support. We can help guide them through these factors, and make good decisions that will help them with their bottom line. Ultimately, we strive to make a difference not only for their short-term financial goals, but for the long term of their base of support.

Recently, we were honored to be asked to contribute to a new book for Benefit and Fundraising organizers. The book, "Boost Your Benefit Auction, Ton's of Fundraising Tips From Pro Auctioneers" was published last week. The Editor and lead Author, Jenelle Taylor, is not only a Benefit Auction Guru, but a great friend and fellow auctioneer.

The book features tips and ideas from more than 40 Benefit Auction Professionals.

We received high billing, as we have the second chapter in the book, "Making it Personal". We're even mentioned in the acknowledgments!

Our chapter talks about the power of the personal ask, something that many organizations have relegated to email and social media. There's a technique, and a need to the personal ask, and we go over the details.

If you work with or for a non-profit, or have a non-profit that you support, at some point they will conduct fundraising efforts. This book is a MUST HAVE! If you'd like to donate a copy to your favorite organization, or have one for yourself, let us know.

The cost is $29.95 and the shipping is free. We even offer discounts for purchases of 3 or more books. You can call us at (866) 290-2243, or you can email us at BOOK INFO

We're very proud to be part of this great book. We hope you'll give it a read, and learn from the best in the business.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

An Ethical Auctioneer?

An Ethical Auctioneer?

A strange question. You would think that all auctioneers are ethical. We'd like to think they are, but, like any industry, there are always a few bad apples that ruin it for the rest of us.

When it comes to Self Storage Auctions, there are some things that we believe are necessary to be ethical. In many states, these ethics are spelled out by regulation. In other states that have no license requirement (such as Colorado), there is likely an association of auction professionals that require their members to adhere to a code of ethics.

Unfortunately, some auctioneers will intentionally engage in unethical behavior until they are caught. Some times, the auctioneer simply doesn't realize they are doing something wrong.

As far as we're concerned at the Storage Auction Kings, there are some basic rules that we require all of our auctioneers to follow:

Auctioneers bidding on the units they are selling

There is typically nothing illegal or unethical about this practice, as long as the bidders are told the auctioneer is bidding. But even though this is legal and ethical, we don't believe it is good business. It's our opinion that competing with the people we are selling to will always leave a little doubt in their minds, and it's not something we are willing to do. If one of our auctioneers really, really wants something from a unit, they are free to make an offer to the buyer once the unit is sold. But not before.

Getting bids from the Rafter Brothers

This is also known as "ghost bids". A ghost bid is one in which the auctioneer acts like he received a bid, but no one actually was bidding. There are many bidders who are convinced the auctioneer is "catching ghost bids" simply because they didn't see someone else bidding. If this were true, then catching their "ghost bid" would be unethical.

Usually, even though a bidder may think something funny is going on, they simply didn't see or hear the other bidders. Auctioneers work in a fast-paced environment, and are trained to see all and hear all. The "ghost bid" may actually be another bidder who is using very subtle or slight motions to indicate a bid. Sometimes it's just a wink or even a slight nod. Some bidders just don't want others to know they're bidding. Even though you didn't hear a loud "yuuuup", there could still be someone bidding against you.

Getting every penny from you...

That's the auctioneers job. The auctioneer works for the seller. Period. If she sells out too quickly, leaving money on the table, she's failing in her fiduciary responsibility to the seller, her client. But don't confuse this responsibility with strategy. There are times when it seems like we're not accepting bids to sell to someone cheaper. "You were at $800, and I offered $805"...."You should have taken my bid because it was more money!"
No. If we're at $800, our next increment will likely be $825, $850, or even $900. By taking your bid advance of only $5, we're telling all the bidders it's time to "nickel and dime" us. The better strategy is to wait for the higher increment, or sell the unit at $800 and keep the pace of the auction moving. Slowing down, taking such small increments (even though it's more money than the last bid), might cause the auction to drag, ultimately driving some bidders away or stopping them from bidding. At the end of the day, the smaller increment, although a higher bid, could actually lead to lower overall sales. It's strategy, not personal.

But it's an absolute auction, and you HAVE to take my bid!

No I don't, unless the auction was specifically and clearly advertised as "absolute". By law, in almost all cases, all auctions are "with reserve" unless otherwise advertised. A reserve auction means that the seller can have a minimum bid they are willing to accept, and has the right to accept or reject ANY bid. It's their choice. This is what gives the auctioneer the right to say "I'm not selling because we're not high enough" or to refuse to take your advance of a smaller increment than what he's asking for.

Why can't we go in the unit? Why can't we look at the stuff?

Simple. It's not yours, and in fact, it still belongs to the renter until it has been paid for (even though the facility has a lien on the contents). Simply put, once it's sold and paid for, then you can go through it all you want. But not until then.

But it looks like the Manager has been through the unit!

There's nothing in the law that says they can't. But the industry frowns on the practice, and so do we. By entering the unit in any way, management opens themselves to liability and claims of theft or damage if they touched anything.

I can't speak for other companies, but if we find out that a manager has been in the unit, and we were not told in advance that they did (and they had better have a darn good reason), then we won't sell the unit.

If we think for a moment that the manager was "cherry picking", or taking things from the unit, we'll close the door, cancel the auction, and void our contract. We just won't play that game. For many of our clients, we are the ones who actually cut off the tenant's lock and witness the inventory process to make sure no one went into the unit.

There are rare occasions when a manager should enter the unit... to verify that it's not just trash; to see if there is anything illegal or dangerous (think meth lab); or to see if there is something of such extreme value that a storage auction might not be the best way to sell the contents. But for our company, they need to tell us in advance of their plans to enter a unit.

There are many other things that could be considered ethical or unethical practices, and we will likely address them in future posts. For now, this should give you something to chew on.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Schur Success Auction & Appraisal is the home of the Storage Auction Kings, an industry leader in self storage auctions.

Join our conversations and fun on our Facebook page, or simply call us if you have any questions... (866) 290-2243.

Rich Schur, Champion Auctioneer

Chief Operating Officer, Schur Success Auction & Appraisal
Chairman of the Board, Colorado Auctioneer's Association
Director, National Auctioneers Association

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Absolute or Reserve? What's the difference?

There's a BIG difference... but let's start with the laws. The UCC, or Uniform Commercial Code specifies what an auction is, what auctioneers can do, and in some cases, what they can't. It clearly defines how auctions work. In 2-328(3), the law spells out that all auctions are "with reserve", unless specifically advertised as "absolute". Simply put, that means all auctions have a minimum price, even if not published or announced. That also means that the auctioneer can accept or reject any bid at his or the seller's discretion. This also means the auctioneer can determine what bid increments he or she is using or willing to accept. For example, if the auctioneer is calling for $1,000 and then $1,100, it's perfectly acceptable to reject a bid at $1,025. However, an absolute auction means the auctioneer MUST sell the item once the bids are opened. There can be no restrictions, no minimums, and no option to reject bids. (There is some question as to the bid increments, and if auctioneers have the right to choose the increment at all). An auctioneer can cancel an absolute auction before it starts, but once the bids open it must sell, regardless of price. That means if the auction brings a really poor crowd, and the bidding is really low, it will have to sell anyway. There is an advantage to using absolute auctions: The guaranty that the asset will sell. This means buyers know they won't be wasting their time. They know their efforts to bid will be worthwhile if they have the high bid. In general, absolute auctions seem to bring higher prices. This also represents a risk to the seller... not getting their expected price. There is a consumer caution we'd like you to know about. Some auctioneers try to get around the rules by saying that the auction is "Absolute, IF...." If we reach a certain bid, if the seller agrees, if, if, if. There are no "if's" in an absolute auction. It MUST sell. Some auctioneers try to be creative and say "ABSOLUTELY will sell if the minimum is met. In our opinion, this is unethical and deceiving. An absolute auction is just that, absolute. At Schur Success, we'll never try to deceive. Almost all of our auctions are reserve, including storage auctions. When we do run absolute auctions, we're very clear. We won't deceive. There won't be any fine print. We'll simply tell you up front. Questions? Give us a call ay (866) 290-2243. We want you to be informed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Auctioneers, the Original Recyclers

Earth Day is coming in April.

When you think Earth Day, you think Recycle. When you think Recycle, think Auctions!

Auctioneers have been recycling goods for centuries. During the Roman Empire, soldiers would auction the spoils of war to help fund the war effort. More modern auction houses have been around since the late 1600’s. Word famous Southerby’s was established in 1744, and Christie’s in 1766.

At the close of the American Civil War, auctions were used extensively to dispose of surplus assets as well as war spoils. Only officers ranked Colonel and above could serve as an auctioneer.

Most Colonels, having better things to do, would often give spot promotions to subordinates to the rank of Colonel, so they could conduct the auction, and then immediately demoted them when the auction ended. The title of Colonel has been used by Auctioneers ever since.

Over the centuries, auctioneers have been called on to sell just about everything. Buyers and sellers alike enjoy the rapid nature of auctions that gets assets sold quickly through competitive bidding.

In today’s economy, auctioneers tend to specialize in either markets or assets. For example, you’ll find auctioneers specializing in fine art, livestock, collectibles, coins, guns, household property, heavy equipment, and so much more. Even junk and scrap cars are sold at auction, with prices based on the current scrap metal market.

Real estate has become one of the fastest growing sectors of the auction industry. Rather than waiting for someone to present an offer, many sellers like knowing their property will sell on a specific auction date, and that they are likely to benefit from having multiple bidders fighting for the property.

What better way to recycle, than to have an auctioneer sell your unwanted goods, to someone who readily wants them and is willing to pay top dollar! And by some strange coincidence, we can help you do that!

Schur Success Auction & Appraisal. Recyclers!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why can't we go in the units, or see inside the boxes?

Why can’t we see what’s in the boxes? That’s a question we hear at storage auctions. At Schur Success Auction & Appraisal, we want you to understand WHY we do what we do.

There’s a fairly simple answer to that question. Self Storage facilities would really rather not go to auction. They would much prefer that people pay their bills. Unfortunately not everyone can or will pay their bill. When that happens, the management exercises their rights to place a lien on the contents of the unit until the bill is paid. When that fails, the management must go to auction to recover their losses.

In Colorado, and in many states, the management company must conduct a limited inventory of each unit that has been seized under the lien laws. The inventory is a good idea, and it’s a great way to protect the manager from any claims by the renter that things were stolen or damaged. To further protect themselves from these claims, the managers will conduct their inventory from the threshold without ever entering the unit. They record only what they see from outside the unit. There are exceptions of course, but they are very rare and must be documented properly.

The bottom line is simple… If management never entered the unit at all, the renter will have a difficult time claiming that something was stolen or damaged. It’s that simple. We follow that principle. If managers are entering the unit for any reason, they had better have a pretty good reason or they’re facing serious trouble. If we suspect that managers are going into units, we won’t conduct their auctions.

For many of our clients, we supply a team member to help conduct the inventory. We witness the unit being opened, inventoried, and then locked up again. We will then add an orange lock-out tag to reassure you that the inventory was conducted properly.

For the customers who don’t use our inventory services, we are familiar with their processes and are confident that they follow protocol and do not enter the units. This is the same reason we don’t open boxes or allow anyone into the units until they have been paid for. If no one ever entered the unit, there can be no legitimate claim that something was stolen or damaged. Once the unit is sold and paid for, that concern goes away.

 Questions? Give us a call. (866) 290-2243.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Reality Auction Shows. Yes, they are real... Here's how I know.

Auction Hunters. Allen Haff and Ton Jones. You’ve seen the show. So have I. And, I had the unique experience of being part of the show. Last week, the Auction Hunters came to Colorado to film some storage auctions. Even though I knew they were coming, it was still a bit of a surprise.

 When I arrived, there was a cameraman in the parking lot filming me as I pulled up. Not sure why they would want to capture that on film, but I guess that’s why they are in the film business and I’m in the auction business. First things first, I was wired with a microphone, and it was well hidden under my shirt. The sound tech gave me some good advice – the mic is ALWAYS on. Careful of what I say.

Next, it was time to give the pre-auction announcements. Before I could get going, all of the cameras had to be in place. They were filming me, they were filming Allen and Ton, and they were filming the bidders. I had to wait until they had all of their “B-Roll” shots done before I could get started. The announcements and the sale were pretty much normal – no different than any other sale, except that I had to wait until I was standing in the right spot, and until the cameras were all in place – all four (that I saw).

The terms and conditions were no different. Allen and Ton signed in just like everyone else, and followed the rules just like everyone else. When we opened the units, they were in line behind other bidders, and followed them to the unit. Now here’s where there is a bit of a difference. They had a little more time to view the units than most of the bidders. Not because of anything sinister, but because it took a little time to set up the camera angles and get good shots of them viewing the contents. We allowed a cameraman in the unit, but only with me watching every move to ensure he didn’t touch anything.

 After they finished viewing the unit, and the rest of the people in line viewed the unit, we started the auction. Here’s where things were exactly the same. They bid on some, they didn’t bid on others, and they won a few. The other bidders, most who are regulars, bid against them as if they were just anyone else in the crowd. It was a normal, regular, every day storage auction. After we sold the units, the winning bidders handed us their ID’s to hold until the end of the auction when they paid for their purchases. Allen and Ton were no different. They had to hand me their ID’s too.

When we were done, they paid their bills just like everyone else. Here’s where things are a little different. After we finished the auction, we went back in front of some the units they bought, and filmed another round of auctions. The doors were still closed and locked, but the director wanted a variety of angles, and wanted to be able to get close-up shots of bidders.

 In speaking with the director, I learned that during the actual auction, they have a hard time identifying the bidders. I guess as an auctioneer it is second-nature, but for a cameraman trying to move quickly and zoom in, it’s almost impossible. So the director recreated some of the bids and bidders, just to make it more personal. Pretty time consuming.

All in all, the auction from my perspective was no different. It just took way longer than normal. To those who had to endure the long auctions, thank you. What normally takes us four or five minutes to sell, took nearly 30 with the cameras. Imagine multiple units and you’ll see the issue. But during it all I had the chance to chat with Allen and Ton. Two down to earth, friendly guys, who seem to love what they do. They were gracious with the fans, and certainly put on a show. I have no idea what they did after I left, but have every confidence that whatever they show on TV is legitimate. I have no reason to believe otherwise.

They filmed the live auctions over two days. I know they had many more days of post production. They typically only feature two or three units per episode. If we see any of it on TV it won’t be until summer. My guess is that if I even make it on the show, you’ll get a glimpse of me from behind for a brief moment. But I’ll take it, and I’ll brag to everyone “Hey, that’s me on TV”.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Changes in CO Storage Lien Laws

On August 10th, a new Self Storage Lien statute took effect in Colorado. The old statute, which was passed in the 70's, had become obsolete and needed updating.

The Colorado Self Storage Association (COSSA), in conjunction with the National Self Storage Association (SSA), proposed an update to the statute. Schur Success Auction & Appraisal appeared before both the Colorado House and Senate to testify on behalf of COSSA. After a little tweaking, the bill received full support from both houses. The bill was passed, and became effective last week.

The changes are significant for owners/operators, but have little impact on storage buyers. Nonetheless, you need to know about them. There are 4 key changes.

1) Sheriff notification

2) Legal Notice - publication

3) Default notification / email & verified mail

4) Vehicles and Personal watercraft.

The first has little impact on anyone.

1) Sheriff Notification:
The old law required that a duplicate copy of the lien notices be sent to the Sheriff for the county where the facility is located. The Sheriff's have been asking operators for years to stop sending the notices, but the statute required this notice. No longer!

2) Legal Notice / Publication:
The most significant change is the posting of legal notices in the local newspaper. When the law was passed, there was no such thing as the internet,, Facebook, or Google. Newspaper legal notices were necessary to both a) notify the renter of a default) and b) notify the public of a pending auction. Clearly, technology has surpassed the statute.

Although some bidders use the legal notices to learn about the auctions, the vast majority of bidders use the internet to locate sales. Of those bidders that still use legal notices, most do so to see the inventory, not the details of the sale. Legal notices can cost hundreds of dollars for each posting and did little to resolve the problem.

The new statute changes the legal notice from a requirement to an option in most cases. The law now requires that the operators must advertise in a "commercially viable manner" that draws at least 3 independent bidders. If they can bring three bidders, they do NOT need to publish. In rural areas, that may be difficult, but clearly it's not an issue in metro areas. So, no more legal notices in the City.

3) Default Notification:
The next significant change is in HOW owners notify renters that they are in default and that they are risking an auction. The revised statute allows for e-mail notifications and no longer requires "certified" mail. There are some contractual requirements between the renter and the owner to meet this new standard.

4) Vehicles and Personal Watercraft:
The last significant change has to do with vehicles, motorcycles, boats, personal watercraft, and other such things that have titles. Previously, owner/operators had to go through a very lengthy process to conduct vin verifications, tile searches, post bonds, etc., just to sell a vehicle.

The new provisions allow an operator to simply have the vehicle removed by a licensed tow company after 60 days. This means storage auctioneers are not likely to be selling these vehicles. If found inside a unit, we'll sell everything EXCEPT the vehicle.

These changes have little impact on buyers, but really streamline the process for the operators. None are designed to make any more money for the operators, but rather are designed to make it easier to recover their losses and to bring the statute current with technology:


The information above serves only to highlight some of the significant changes in the statute, and are not intended to be relied upon as legal advice. You are encouraged to study the statute yourself, and contact competent legal counsel prior to acting on this information.

REFERENCE: Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) 38-21.5-101 to 38-21.5-105. The statute specifically states that operators who fail to follow the statute may be subject to liability.

For additional information, contact Rich at Success Auction & Appraisal, Inc.

Check out our article on "How to buy at auction without losing your shirt!" Click here

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Some thoughts on Independence Day

Tomorrow is Independence Day... Not just the 4th of July, not just a day of parades and hot dogs, but a day to remember our will, strength, and courage to defy a government that was not of, by, and for the people. It was a day we said that we would no longer submit to a tyrannical government. It was a day that forever changed history and set us on a path to be the greatest nation in the world.

It was not an easy day I assure you. The men who made the decision to defy a king knew the road ahead would be dangerous. They knew there would be risks and substantial costs. But they felt the cause of freedom was both just and necessary.

Since that day, our nation has worked hard to continuously advance the cause of freedom and individual liberty. To work hard to prevent governments from controlling the lives of people. To make sure oppression disappears from the planet. There are great lengths yet to go.

This weekend of celebration should be enjoyed, no, relished. Your right to BBQ, have parades, and take a leave from work has been hard fought by patriots, in and out of uniform, for more 235 years.

As you reflect on the joy of the weekend, reflect also on the reason and the cause which forms the basis for this holiday.

I personally want to thank all of the men and women who have fought for our cause of freedom. Fought on our soil and in foreign lands. Fought and served in the halls of our senate and congress, regardless of which party. Those who fought and will continue to fight to make sure our goal of Freedom is achieved.

I wish you all a safe, happy, and reflective Independence Day. May you think of those who have served, are serving, and will continue to serve us in the future.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dax Gillium: Auctioneer, Appraiser, Pole-sitter

We think it's important to know who we are, and sometimes the "about us" button on our web page just doesn't give you as much information as you would like. Today, we're going to talk about our good friend Dax Gillium, the man with the golden voice.

Rich and Dax were classmates at the Worldwide College of Auctioneering, and Dax has been working with us since they graduated. Dax is a successful auctioneer and appraiser in his own right, and we're happy to have him affiliated with us.

I asked Dax for a brief bio so that we could feature him. My intent was to use his information and create my own story about Dax, but after reading what he sent me, I've decided to leave it just as he wrote it. Here's Dax's story about his favorite subject, Dax:

"Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, auctioneer and appraiser Dax Gillium is a former professional pianist and broadcaster. After studying for a degree in journalism, Mr. Gillium promptly forgot all about it and, in 1975, turned his attention toward a career in music. He has performed internationally with a host of well known pop and country artists including Charlie Pride, Loretta Lynn, Gary Puckett (and the Union Gap), John Davidson and Jack Green. In 1988, Dax went on-the-air in western North Dakota. He began as a broadcaster on both radio and TV, but it soon became evident that Dax was a lot taller and better looking on radio, and became well known as a newscaster, morning-drive DJ and talk-show host. It was during this time that Dax took part in a publicity stunt for an auto dealership, sitting on an eight-by-eight-foot platform perched atop a 55-foot telephone pole for 13 days.

Arriving in Denver in 2001, Dax found that nobody was looking for a telephone pole sitter, and focused his sights on the auction profession. He is a graduate of the World Wide College of Auctioneering, and holds an appraiser’s certification from the Certified Appraiser’s Guild of America (CAGA). He has achieved the prestigious Certified Estate Specialist (CES) and Benefit Auction Specialist (BAS) designations from the National Auctioneers Association, and currently serves on the Colorado Auctioneers Association board of directors as a vice president. Dax also placed as a top-five finalist in the 2007 Colorado Auctioneers Association bid-calling contest. Along with raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for various non-profit and charitable organizations, Dax serves an associate auctioneer, appraiser and highest-ranking telephone pole sitter with the firm of Schur Success Auction and Appraisal."

Keep reading our blogs and checking our website for information and stories about the rest of our team. You can always reach us at www.SuccessAuctions.com, or check us our on Facebook Page.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Don't lose your Shirt! Avoiding disaster when buying storage units.

Don't get me wrong, we WANT you to spend money. We WANT you to bid big. We get paid on a commission. The more you spend the happier we are.

However, we want you to come back, and to become a regular buyer. You won't do that if you lose your shirt buying poorly. This short little blog is about making some good buying decisions. Hopefully you'll make some good purchases and decide you want to come again and again.

First rule... Set a limit! It's so very easy to get caught up in the bidding. It's exciting. It's competitive, and its very fast. It doesn't take much to be bidding well beyond what you want to spend. Look at the unit, decide what you are willing to spend, and stick to it. If you surpass your limit by one bid, no big deal. If you zoom past your limit by 50%, you'll likely be sorry.

When the bidding passes your limit, let it go. We'll have another 1600 units to sell you in the next year. Don't worry, there are others.

Next... look carefully, but look quickly. Look for the things that WON'T make you any money. Things like old mattresses that you will have to pay to dump. Look for food and trash that YOU will have to clean up. Remember that not everything will make you money. Some things will cost you money. Factor that information into your "bid limit".

Then, look at what you SEE not at what you DON'T see. If there's a tool box, don't assume it's filled with tools. In fact, assume it is empty. That way, you'll be sure to get a return on your investment. If it IS filled with tools, then you get a bonus. It's poor practice to bid on what you don't see.

Once you are an experienced buyer, you'll start to see certain clues and indicators of what MAY be in the unit, even if you don't see it. But even very experienced bidders get burned doing this. Guessing can make it more exciting and more rewarding, but it is risky.

Last tip for today: Don't bid on emotion. You may have loved that toy when you were a kid, or may think that headboard is a beautiful piece, but that doesn't matter. Bid on what you can SELL IT FOR! This is a business. Period. Make money or go home. Of course, we want you to make money. If you make money, you will buy more. If you buy more, we sell more, and that's how we pay the bills.

That's all for now, more to follow in future blogs. We're sorry it's been a while, and we have finally worked out some of the bugs that slowed us down.

As always, we're here to answer questions. We love to talk auctions and would be happy to spend a few minutes on the phone with you. You can check out our webpage or you can check out our Facebook page.

Our phone number is (866) 290-2243.

Happy Bidding!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Being a Champion - Why it Matters

Being a Champion - Why it Matters

This past Friday night, the Colorado Auctioneer Association named the 2011 Colorado State Champion Auctioneer, Mr. Adam Kevil. Adam is a phenomenal auctioneer and a true gentlemen. We have the honor of Adam working for us at the Denver Impound Auction. I also have the personal privilege of Adam being one of my mentors. He must be good, as I won the Championship last year.

So, now, we’re both champions, so what. Well for one, it shows the world that we are at the top of our game. But it’s what makes us champions that is important. To be a champion means hard work, practice, determination, perseverance, and the willingness to accept that sometimes, we’re just not champion material.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a champion skier, pilot, race car driver, or auctioneer. They all have the same roots.

First, you have to be doing something you love. Your passion for your trade is essential, and no matter how good you are, you can’t ever be a champion without it. Passion is the driving force behind everything you do.

Second, you had better learn, and keep learning. Being a champion means being a master, knowing as much as possible about your skills, your competition, your environment, and yourself. You have to study, evaluate, change, modify, and try again. And then do that again, and again. Because your competition is doing that, and you need to be one step ahead.

Third, you have to be willing to make mistakes. Try something new. Change something. Then practice that, and try again, because you know it will be a while before you get it right. And once you have practiced, you need to keep practicing because you have to be great, not just good.

Fourth, you have to be willing to accept defeat. It will happen. Sometimes, others have worked just a little harder, or learned just a little more, or got just a little bit luckier. Regardless, you won’t always win. And there are few champions in any field that haven’t experienced defeat - some of them many, many times.

Lastly, you need strength - strength to keep trying, strength to push just a little more, strength when you have been defeated and still need to hold your head up high. You need the strength to fight your self-doubts, and your inner demons. You need strength to try, and try again. You need strength to practice and push.

Then, if the stars are aligned, you’ll be a champion.

So what? So, that means when you practice your trade, in our case being Auctioneers, you’ll have the confidence that you are doing your best and that you’re a winner. Your clients, customers, friends, colleagues and everyone else will know you’re a champion. You’ll do better, and will continue to do better.

That’s what it’s all about - constant improvement. Being a champion means that you keep raising the bar and challenging yourself to continue to be a champion. There doesn’t have to be a title or a trophy involved, just the desire to be a winner.

I’d like to think that the championships and awards we have won at Schur Success Auction & Appraisal are just the beginning of us being champions. We’ll continue to love what we’re doing, learn more about our profession, try new things, accept that we will sometimes lose, and find the strength to keep moving forward. That’s what makes us champions.

Come see us in action... Adam is the main auctioneer for our Denver Sheriff's Impound Auction. You don't need to buy a car to enjoy his work (but we sure would appreciate if you did).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yes Virginia, There IS a Santa Claus. The original letter.

8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Sun & the response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. Veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church’s response has become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial. We thought we'd share it here with you. Have a Happy Holiday from your friends at Schur Success Auction & Appraisal.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in THE SUN it's so. Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

Dear Virginia,

Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Unethical Auctioneers?

A recent article on artinfo.com talks of auctioneers selling Bernie Madoff's assets in Vail, and discusses the poor reputation the auctioneers have earned. Our advice is to be wary of any auctioneers that you've never done business with in the past. While not every auctioneer is going to make every customer happy, most ethical and professional auctioneers do a fine job and are proud of their track record.
At Schur Success Auction & Appraisal (as well as many other fine Colorado Auctioneers), we're members of both the National Auctioneer's Association and the Colorado Auctioneers Association. Both of these organizations require their members to follow a code of ethics, which we proudly subscribe to. In addition, we are proud members of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado.

Whether you are buying or selling, its good to know who you are dealing with. Don't be afraid to check references and ask questions. In fact, here are some questions you should ask:

How long have you been doing business in this area?

What professional associations do you belong to?

What advance industry certifications have you earned?

Do you have a business license?

Do you have an Auctioneer license? (Note: Colorado does NOT require an Auctioneer's License, but many local governments do, including the City of Denver. (BTW... We have licenses where ever we are require to)

Who are your references?

Don't be afraid to ask... if your gut tells you there is something wrong, then move on to another auction or auctioneer.

PS... Here's our answers...

We have been in the Denver/Colorado Springs area for nearly 30 years.

We belong to both the National and Colorado Auctioneers Association. In fact we hold board or committee positions with both organizations. We belong to the NEBB Institute (National Equipment & Business Builders Institute). we belong to the Better Business Bureau. We belong to several other non-auction organizations as well as working with some non-profits.

We hold many certifications, including the highest certification available in the auction industry, the CAI Certified Auctioneers Institute.

We have a State of Colorado business license, a Denver license, and many sales/business licenses throughout the metro region. If a license of any type is required where we are selling, we obtain that license.

Our references? Ask ANY of the customers you see listed on our web site. Ask the City of Denver - we've been their auctioneers for more than 20 years.

We're proud of our service and commitment tyo Colorado and to this wonderful auction business. We are proud of the service we give you. We encourage you do refrain from doing auction business with anyone who doesn't meet YOUR standards.

Here's the link to the article....Click HERE.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Drop Side Cribs & Storage Buyers

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has ruled today that drop-side cribs can no longer be manufactured or SOLD in the United States. This law will take effect in 6 months, but the initial review indicates the sales ban will include private party sales such as those on E-Bay, Craig's List, or through flea markets and second hand stores.

As you look at storage units, remember that cribs (much like mattresses) could represent a liability. If you have drop-side cribs in your inventory, you'll have a short period of time in which to get them sold before you are stuck with them. For further information, look at their website: http://www.cpsc.gov/.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Storage Auctions Part 2 - Kissing Frogs

Yes, you read that right. Kissing frogs. That's what it's like. You've all heard the fairy tale about the princess who had to kiss a frog before he turned into her Prince Charming.

Of course, in all likelihood she had to kiss more than one frog to find him. Probably several frogs. Ok, lets get real.... she had to kiss a zillion frogs to find her prince. Let's not forget her sister, who was looking for that same prince. She kissed a bunch of frogs too. But only one of them found her prince. The other one just found frogs.

I bring this up because I was watching Storage Wars last night. It's a fun show, and exciting too. But there were lots of Princes, and not many frogs. It was amazing to me that they didn't show any frogs. What I'm concerned with is the term "Reality TV".

I don't think it is really reality. In reality, there are frogs in the storage auction business. Lots of frogs. There are many, many units that have nothing but frogs - no princes. But you won't see that on TV - not very exciting, is it? The truth is that you're not very likely to buy a unit for $125, and find a million dollar comic book collection hidden by the $25,000 Harley that's sitting on top of that rare coin collection. 

You're likely to spend $125 and find $300 worth of things to sell. And you'll have to sort out the good stuff from the frogs. And then you'll have to get rid of the frogs. And the EPA likely has a "frog disposal tax". In other words, have realistic expectations of what you will find.

You're there to make money. Buy things at a good price, and sell them at a better price. But you are not going to get "lucky" with every unit. Most buyers will never get that "hidden treasure" that they can retire from. You will likely buy some units that will bring you hundreds in profits, and occasionally thousands. You will sometimes break even, and some times, yes sometimes, you will lose money.

But if you stick with it, and learn a little from each unit you buy (or don't buy), you'll get better. Over time, and once you have spent lots of money on units, you'll get better at making money. If your profit expectations are realistic, you won't often be disappointed.  At Schur Success Auctions & Appraisal, we find that our most successful storage auction buyers here in Colorado have very realistic expectations.

If you are new to this business, keep your hands in your pockets until you learn the ropes. (Look at our previous blog discussing the rules). And, maybe, just maybe, you'll kiss a frog that turns into a prince. But if it were me, I'd rather not kiss a bunch of frogs. I'll pass, and if I choose to kiss a frog, I'll be prepared for it to stay a frog.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Fascination with Storage Auctions

There have been some new TV shows that feature storage auctions and auction buyers. As an auctioneer, I sure appreciate the attention. We get lots of new faces at our Colorado auctions these days, and hopefully for us and our clients, it means more revenue.

But new faces means new problems. Lots of folks who are curious come out to see what's happening, and that's a good thing. Some will even bid, and that's a good thing too. However, many don't quite understand how it all works, and that's a problem.

A large crowd is a nice, but only if everyone is dancing to the same music. So, here's some things to know before you go...

Bring cash. There's no credit cards, no IOU's, and no time to run to a bank or an ATM. You have to have the cash in your pocket.

You'll need deposit money. If you win the bid, expect to pay a refundable CASH deposit of at least $50 - $100 PER LOCATION!.... as long as you clean out completely and on time, you'll get your deposit back.

Move QUICKLY! All auctions run on tight schedules, and time is money. Look quickly. There are people behind you who need to see as well/ If you're not interested in bidding on the unit, then PLEASE, move past and out of the way so that we can take care of the folks who do wish to bid.

Bring a flashlight so you can see in the back. Remember, you CAN NOT enter the unit in any way.

Don't bring your kids. They will slow you down, slow us down, and we really don't want to see them get hurt. If you absolutely have to bring them, please keep a close eye on them.

Prepare to haul it ALL. There are no dumpsters for you to use. EVERYTHING must go with you.. the trash, the treasure, and everything in between. If you leave anything behind, you will lose your deposit and will no longer be allowed at our sales. We enforce this rule with absolute certainty.

Please don't bring 20 helpers.... at least not to bid. But, you sure will find them handy when it's time to load out.

Think BEFORE you bid. Once we say sold, it's yours. Period. Experienced bidders will tell that they bid on what they actually see, not what they THINK may be hiding. The treasure hunt comes when you get more than you expected, as opposed to expecting more than you see.

Check the locations and routes before you go, since we won't wait for you.

Did I mention CASH? Bring what you are willing to part with.

Know where you will sell what you find. If you don't already have an outlet for your purchases, you'll end up scrambling to figure out what to do with it.

This is Colorado.... dress in layers. Some locations have both inside and outside units.

ASK QUESTIONS, BUT.... do it before you bid. A bid is a legally binding offer to make a purchase, and we have every intention of holding you to your bid.

Say "hi" to the Auctioneer... over time, we'll get to know your name and your face, and we'll have even more fun.

Over the last 30 days, we have seen a 100% increase in web traffic, so we know there is curiosity about these auctions. Still have questions? call us. We'd rather talk to you and answer your questions before hand than try to take care of you while 75 other people are talking to us.

Mostly, have fun. You know we're sure having a blast!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Power of "Please". A fundraising necessity

Organizations across the globe have a common dilemma.... "How do we reach the right people to encourage them to be donors and supporters?"

There is no easy answer, but there is one, time consuming technique that has proven very successful. It's called "Please".

It's a simple sales technique. Ask. People are reluctant to say "no" when you ask for help. As a non-profit, it's even harder. But on the other hand, how easy is it to delete an email or throw away a letter or card.

It's a no-brainer. Asking people to help, to support, to donate, is an effective way to raise both awareness and money. You just have to make it personal.

Get in front of your most ardent supporters. Not by email, not by letter, and not by phone. In person. Face to face. Thank them for their tremendous support. Show them the success you have had because of their support. Praise them for making a difference.

Then say "please".

Please help us grow our family of supporters to include more wonderful people just like you. Would you please call (2,5,10...) friends and share with them how important our mission is. Would you introduce me to them so I can share with them how wonderful you have been in helping us meet our mission?

Please help me get in front of them so they can be wonderful supporters like you.
Please help me invite them to our next fundraising event.
Please help us continue to meet our mission by bringing awareness to other great people like you.

If you follow the 80-20 rule, 80% of your support comes from 20% of your patrons, then spend 80% of your time farming that 20%. They are the ones who are influential enough to bring you more people who not only share their passion and their philanthropy, but likely their income bracket as well.

Please. This is your mission. Get in front of them. Ask them to help. Who do you think you will start with?

(Next time we will talk about open vs. closed questions...)

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We've made some changes...

First, we have changed our name. We are now officially "Schur Success Auction & Appraisal, Inc.". We changed our name to reflect the appraisal side of our business.

We have appraisers on staff who have earned their GPPA designation, or Graduate Personal Property Appraiser, and have one of the very few CMEA's - (Certified Machinery & Equipment Appraiser) in the state.

Appraisals are useful, if not required, in many instances such as divorce, partnership dissolution, business loans, insurance policies and claims, and so much more.

We have the experienced and certified staff to help meet you needs.

Another change you'll see is our Facebook page. We'll continue to post blogs and send emails about specific topics and upcoming events, but we felt that the Facebook page would give you more current and fun information, in an instant format. You can follow us on Facebook by going to http://www.facebook.com/ColoradoAuctionsAppraisals.

And, we're looking to make some updates and changes to our website as well. Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated, and hopefully you will find it easy to communicate with us by having a Blog, a Facebook page, and of course, our email addresses.

Thanks so much for being part of our auction family.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our 1st Preferred Vendor: Cole Promo!

As many of you know,
Schur Success Auction Services
has won many awards, among them are awards for our uniforms and signage.

We are pleased to list
Cole Promo
as our 1st Preferred vendor, not only because of the awards they have helped us win, but because of the way they treat us as customers.

Cole Promo is a family-owned and run business... Mom (Cindy), Dad (Tom), sons C.J. and Jason, and daughter-in-law Charis. (BTW, Charis and Jason welcomed baby daughter Zoe into the world this past Friday).

Being a family owned business we get incredible attention to detail and service, and their prices are competitive.

If you need screen printing, give-aways, embroidery, banners, hats, water bottles, keychains, pens, etc, call Cole Promo. You won't be disappointed. Tell them that Rich sent you and you'll get extra-special treatment. You can call C.J. or Cindy at (719) 260-1774. Located on N. Academy in Colorado Springs, they deliver personal service with world-class results. Click here
to go straight to their website.

As always, check our website before attending auctions to see if there are any last-minute changes.

Thanks again for your support.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Poll Shows Schur Success Auction Services to be Best in Industry

 Colorado Springs, CO
April 5, 2010

That's right, in a recent poll, Schur Success Auction Services was named the Best Auction Company in the Industry!  OK, the poll wasn't the most scientific, and probably fails every statistical test imaginable. The poll was conducted asking the entire office staff of our company. And they all agreed!  We like survey results like this!

Seriously, we truly want to be the best in the business, and we need your help to reach that goal. Please let us know your thoughts on our service. If you like how we conduct business, let us know. If you don't, let us know that too. We're never above some constructive criticism. We can only improve and get better when we know what people think of us.

Feel free to call me at (719) 667-1000 if you have any comments or criticisms. Or, you can email me at rich@success-auctions.com. Either way, we'd love to hear from you.


Rich Schur

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Inn at the Palmer Divide, and the Mozaic support St. Jude’s

As most of you know, the National Auctioneers Association selected St. Jude's Children's Hospital as its designated charity. Most auctioneers do what they can to support the cause.

In March of 2010, I attended the final session of my CAI (Certified Auctioneers Institute) designation at the U of I in Bloomington, Indiana. As is the custom of the Institute, we had a fund-raising auction to support St. Jude's. The event raised thousands of dollars, and the bidders were all auctioneers.

Our good friends at The Inn at Palmer Divide, and the Moziac restaurant not only donated a gift certificate for an overnight stay at their beautiful resort, but a delicious dinner for 2. If you ever want a little get away without having to travel far, I highly recommend our friends at the Inn. Over the top service, delicious foods, and all tucked away in nearby Palmer Lake, south of Denver and north of Colorado Springs, on the gorgeous Palmer Divide.

I really appreciate their support, and encourage you to check out the wonderful things St. Jude's does for our community. Click here to learn how you can help too.

Thanks again. Rich

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Our Process is Personal. It’s not a tagline.

Colorado Springs, CO

March, 2010

That's right, it's not a tag line. It's a way of doing business. It means that we get to know you before we ever sign a contract with you.

As a seller, you come to an auctioneer to help you solve a problem. If you're calling us, it's because you think we can help solve that problem.

There's a good chance we can. There's a possibility that we can't.

Either way, we'll get to know you, get to understand your problem, and we'll determine if we can help you.

If we can solve your problem, we'll lay out our plan and show you how. 
If you like what you see, you'll hire us.

If we can't solve your problem, we'll tell you. We'll point you in the right direction. That means we won't likely get your business. And that's ok.

We'd rather you said "no thanks" than to do a job that fails to meet your expectations. We'd rather say it ourselves than take a job that will end poorly.

On the other hand, once we sit down and decide collectively that we are the right fit, then we know we'll do a good job for you. And you'll know it too.

So, before you sign a contract with us, or any other auctioneer, ask yourself this question: "Will this auctioneer help me SOLVE MY PROBLEM?". If the answer is yes, then sign. If not, then call someone else.

We're hoping that there's a good fit between your needs and our skills. If so, we're thrilled. If not, then thanks for talking to us. We sure do appreciate your time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Clearly, Sex Sells… Now it sells at Auction!

Lender putting www.sex.com domain on auction block

This article is from Reuters and was forwarded to us by a friend.



Mon Mar 8, 2010 7:20pm EST

(Reuters) - Sex.com, often touted as one of the most valuable Internet domain names, is due to head to the auction block next week.


DOM Partners LLC, a New Jersey lender that backed a 2006 purchase of the domain name for a reported $14 million, is foreclosing on the Internet property, and is due to auction it on March 18 at New York law firm Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf LLP, according to legal notices.

Bidding for the Internet property, the tumultuous past of which includes several lawsuits and two books, is due to start at $1 million.

The auctions of simple domain names are seen as rare opportunities for Internet entrepreneurs.

An auction for the www.pizza.com domain name in 2008 attracted bids above $2.5 million.

But if it is true that sex sells, sex.com may be the most valuable domain name in the world. At one point, the website was making at least $15,000 per day, according to a 2008 book, The Sex.com Chronicles, by attorney Charles Carreon who has represented a former owner of the site.

In January 2006, Escom LLC acquired the domain name from Gary Kremen, founder of dating website Match.com and chief executive of Grant Media. Kremen registered the sex.com domain name in 1994.

A press statement announcing the 2006 sale said it was "believed to be among the most significant domain sale transactions in history." Terms of that deal were not disclosed, but it has since been reported that the deal was worth about $14 million.

DOM Partners' loan to Escom for the deal has been in default for over a year.

"The loan was in default and DOM partners is foreclosing pursuant to its right under the security agreement," DOM's attorney Scott Matthews said.

Attempts to reach Escom and sex.com for comment were not immediately successful.

But Richard Maltz, an auctioneer at Maltz Auctions who is running the sale, said on Monday there was considerable interest in it.

"We don't know who's serious and who's not, but prospective bidders need a $1 million certified check. It should be interesting."

Maltz said his firm was arranging for potential buyers to also be able to bid online.

(Reporting by Emily Chasan)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Schur Named 2010 Colorado State Champion Auctioneer

January 10, 2010

Denver, CO

During the annual Colorado Auctioneers Association (CAA) Conference held in Denver, Colorado on Friday, January 8, 2010, Schur Success Auction Services Chief Operating Officer, Rich Schur, was named the 2010 Colorado State Champion Auctioneer.

In a competition that started with 12 experienced auctioneers, the five judges whittled their selection to the top five contestants. Each of the five then participated in a public interview process, and then each sold three similar items to the crowd.

The judges scored the auctioneers on their chant, their sales ability, their ability to interact with and engage the audience, and a variety of other essential skills. After the scores were tabulated, Schur was named the new 2010 State Champion. The CAA does not allow Champions to compete again once they have earned the title.

Schur, a resident of Monument, Colorado, started in the auction industry in 2005 while dating his now wife Shannon, a second generation auctioneer. Rich graduated the Worldwide College of Auctioneering in the fall of 2005, and earned the Colorado Rookie title in January of 2006. Since that time he has earned the designation as a Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS) and will be obtaining his advanced Certified Auctioneers Institute (CAI) designation in the spring.

On Sunday morning, Schur was elected to serve as the organization's 2nd VP, starting his third term on the Board of Directors.

The 2010 CAA Conference was held in memory of long-time Colorado Hall of Fame Auctioneer Chuck Cumberland, a past champion, who passed in 2009. Rich is the first auctioneer to be awarded the Cumberland Championship Award, a travelling trophy dedicated to the honor and memory of Chuck, who's trademark comment was "Go Your Best".

Schur will represent the CAA in public appearances, and will also represent the association in the national championship competition to be held in North Carolina this Spring.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Colorado Auctioneers Compete for the Title of “State Champion”

A Fun-Filled Weekend with the Best Auctioneers in Colorado

This weekend, starting Friday January 8, 2010, the Colorado Auctioneers Association (CAA) will hold its annual conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, at I-70 and Chambers in Denver. The conference includes two auctions that are open to the public, including the Friday night sale featuring the State Auctioneer Championship Co

As many as 30 auctioneers from across the state will compete for the State Champion title, which not only provides bragging rights, but allows the winning auctioneer to represent the CAA in the National Auctioneer Association championship. Each auctioneer will sell a few items in an auction that is open to the public. Several auctioneers from Schur Success Auction Services are scheduled to compete. The top five finalists will participate in an interview process as well as having additional items to sell. A panel of auction professionals will rank the contestants, and ultimately crown the Champion.

This is a fun time, and there's no fee to participate. It's free and open to the public. Proceeds from the sale are used to offset convention costs, support a scholarship fund, and usually a charity designated by the Board of Directors.

On Saturday night, there is a "fun" auction, in which almost all the auctioneers will participate to sell and item or two. New auctioneers will compete for the title of 1st Time Bid Calling Champion (which by the way, Rich won in 2006). The fun auction is just that, a fun-filled night with great auctioneers. Again, the public is welcome.

This is truly an opportunity to see the best in the business and have a great time in the process. Need more information? Go to www.coauctioneers.org

See you there!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

On this day on Thanks, our thanks to You

November 26, 2009

Colorado Springs, CO

Dear Friends,

We hope this day finds you safe and sound, and that you are surrounded by those you care about. We know for many, those loved ones may be far away in body, but side-by-side with you in Spirit. As Auctioneers, we have much to be thankful for this year. Our business has stayed strong during difficult times, and we owe our continued success to both the wonderful customers and clients that support us, and the terrific team we have making each sale and event possible. We are truly blessed on many fronts. Thank You for making this day possible for us.

We are thankful for those who stand guard over us, so we may have this day of thanks with our family. To Michael serving overseas in the military; to our good friend Scott manning his firehouse; to all those in public service who put others before themselves… Thank You.

We are grateful that this day our own family will gather here in our home from across the country. We are thankful for the bounty we will have before us as we enjoy the love and laughter that our family brings.

To all of you who made this day possible for us, our deepest thanks. We are only here today because of others.

From Rich and Shannon Schur, and the entire Schur Success Team, Happy Thanksgiving, and God Bless.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A word about our Vets… in addition to “Thanks”


Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by looking.

What is a vet?

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She or he—is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another—or didn't come back


He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat—but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

He is the parade—riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket—palsied now and aggravatingly slow—who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being—a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You.

That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU."

Remember November 11th is Veterans Day.

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It
is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the
soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose
coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."

Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC

What will tomorrow bring?

No, this is not another political commentary. I was FB IM'ing my brother-in-law, who will soon be a grandfather for the first time. We were chatting about the world that his granddaughter will grow up in. A world that will be very different from the one we grew up in. Here are some of the things we were thinking… what do YOU think tomorrow will bring?

She will miss a world where…

  • Cars had gasoline engines
  • Doors were locked and unlocked with actual keys
  • Computers had big boxes and cables hooked to them
  • Telephones sat on desks
  • Microwave ovens took a full minute to cook food (how awful that wait must have been)
  • People actually went to stores to buy things
  • Money was printed on ugly paper and had to be counted by a person
  • Consumer electronics were mass-produced and not made just for you
  • Some people actually didn't have cell phones
  • You sometimes got to put your luggage on a plane without paying extra
  • People used full words and sentences to communicate
  • Some people didn't text message each other
  • Refrigerators didn't have TV screens (the horror)
  • We only had 3,500 cable channels (what to watch???)
  • Speeding tickets were actually written by a live police officer
  • Postage costs less than $1


What else do you think she will miss?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Reserve or Absolute? What’s the Difference

An excellent question, and one we hear often. In reality, there are several other names that auctions go by (reserve, subject to confirmation, minimum, right to refuse, etc…), but these are your only two categories. According to the UCC (Uniform Commercial Code), all auctions are considered "reserve" unless marketed or publicized as "absolute".

Reserve auction means that the seller has "reserved the right" to establish a minimum price that he will accept before completing the sale. In other words, if the bids don't reach the reserve price, the seller won't sell the item. The reason behind this is simple – it protects the seller. Let's say we're selling a huge excavator for a client, and the client still owes some money on the loan. He needs to make at least a certain amount of money on the item or he won't be able to pay his debt. Rather than let it go for less than he wants, he simply won't sell. Normally, it's not an issue. Auctioneers are pretty good about bringing the buyers to the sale, and pretty good at bringing a price that's fair and reasonable. However, there are some things beyond the control of the seller or the auctioneer.

For example – and I know this is rare in Colorado – a blizzard hits. The sale is set for 2:00, and no one can get there because roads are closed. 2 bidders show up instead of the expected 200. The odds of getting the best price for the seller have now been significantly reduced. If the bids don't reach the minimum amount, the seller is protected and can avoid letting the items go at a loss. The plus side of the "reserve" option is that it protects the seller.

There is another advantage too, in that by not disclosing the reserve to the bidders, the seller can change his mind. He might let the item go for a lesser amount that he thought, if the bidding stalls or falls short. Again, the seller "reserves" the right to sell where he wants to.

There's a downside as well.

Some bidders may be reluctant to attend if there's a chance the items won't sell. It's a risk we take, and a calculated risk. It's right for some sellers and some situations, and not right for others. As a buyer, you may or may not know what the reserve price is. It might be published, or it might not. The theory is that by disclosing the reserve, the seller may end up placing a cap on the bids. If you say the reserve is $7,500, someone who was willing to bid $9,000 may think twice. The flip side is some bidders may not even be thinking their top bid is anywhere close to the reserve, so by publishing it, you may prevent them from bidding. This is not a bad thing in some cases, because you won't be wasting your time or theirs with bids that are beyond their reach or their desire.

In some cases, the opening bid is the reserve price. If the opening bid is met, there's a pretty good probability the item will sell. Again, the seller has the right to accept or reject the top bid.

The other auction type is an "absolute" auction. This means that if there's a bid, the item will "absolutely" sell. No matter the bid. There are pros and cons to this too. An absolute auction is likely to bring a much larger audience to bid, and bidders know that someone (hopefully them) will go home with the item. The seller may actually realize a greater price that what they had hoped for, or what they may have been considering as a reserve. For a motivated seller, this is an excellent option. However, there's one big risk to an absolute. The item will sell, and MUST sell, if it's advertised as absolute. That means if the bids are well below what was anticipated, the item must sell regardless. It's a risk, and one that many sellers are willing to take.

The next question is: "Which one is right for me as a seller?". The answer is: "It depends". It depends on a lot of factors, and these are things we can discuss with you when you are getting ready to sell. Reserve works great in some cases and absolute in others. There's no magic formula, just good old fashioned pros and cons that you need to consider as a seller. Don't worry. We'll help guide you through the questions. Just ask us.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How does a person become an auctioneer?

September 13, 2009

Denver, Colorado

This is a question that we hear quite frequently. It's a good question with a variety of answers. Some people grow up in the business and learn it as a family tradition. Some people simply heard an auctioneer somewhere and decided they could do just as well – and then they do. Others, myself included, learned some by being around auctions, and learned more by going to auction school.

Yes Virginia, there really is an auction school. There are several in the US, and they are all very good. I happened to graduate from the Worldwide College of Auctioneering, based in Mason City, Iowa. The natural follow-up question to that is "what's it like to go to auction school?" I have my opinions and answers, but I have a much better way of showing you.

A good friend of ours, Chris Longley, is going to auction school. Although he works for the National Auctioneer Association (NAA), he's not an auctioneer. But he wanted to learn what it was like, He wanted to experience auction school. This week, Worldwide is hosting a class in Denver, and Chris is attending. And he's blogging. He's added some personal insights, some video, some interviews, and I'm sure a lot more as the week progresses.

Here's your chance to see what it's like, as it happens. You can view Chris' blog at: http://nationalauctioneersassociation.blogspot.com/?spref=fb. I encourage you to watch. It's a glimpse into something very interesting.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

In Response to the Article Published in the Boulder (CO) Daily Camera on July 6, 2009.

On July 6th, Elizabeth Miller of the Boulder Daily Camera published what I thought was a well-written and informative article about storage auctions; including specific information about an auction we had conducted a few days earlier. The article was great – no worries. But the Camera allows people to post comments. Some of the comments showed me that people didn't understand the whole process. Some were downright nasty comments from what I can only consider ignorant, judgmental, and weak people.

To the folks who simply need more information, I have written the following explanation for you. If you need more information, please call me. I'd be happy to answer your questions. For you ignorant, hate-filled people; you can just skip to the last few lines, since knowing the truth and the facts clearly has no bearing on your opinions.

Storage Auctions 101
By Rich Schur, Auctioneer
Schur Success Auction Services

Let's get the rest of the story out in the open. Storage Auctions are a necessary evil. We know, and our clients know, that when we show up to an auction, that EVERY possible effort has been made to settle the renter's debt and that those efforts FAILED. We don't randomly select units and say "gee, let's sell this one". Units that ultimately end up at auction are there for one reason and one reason only: The renter has failed to comply with the terms of an agreement that THEY CHOSE TO SIGN, and that all reasonable collection & settlement efforts have failed.

Let's start at the beginning. Colorado law (38-21.5-101), is very specific when it comes to storage liens. Our clients follow the law and follow standard industry practices, or we will NOT work for them.

  1. When a renter enters a storage facility and asks to rent a space, he does so willingly and by choice. No one from my company or the storage center forced the transaction.
  2. When they enter the facility, they will see a large sign that says "All articles stored by a rental agreement, and charges not having been paid for thirty days, will be sold or otherwise disposed of to pay charges."
  3. They then sign an agreement in which they promise to pay a monthly fee in exchange for the privilege of storing their possessions on the property. This agreement says very clearly that there are penalties for late payments, and that should late payments exceed 30 days, the center has the right to sell the contents at auction.

Considering the above, there's no reason why a renter should be "surprised" that their unit might be up for auction. Having said that, lot's more activity takes place before a unit is sold.

I can't speak for all storage centers. I can only speak from the experience I have with my clients. Most facilities send monthly reminders that payments are due. Once payments are late, additional emails are sent or personal phone calls are made. If those efforts are unsuccessful, management may "overlock" or lock-out the renter so they must come to the office before they can enter the unit.

If these efforts fail, then letters are sent to the renter's address (the address that they provided on the rental agreement). If these letters fail to solicit a response, then Certified letters are sent to the renter. These letters warn that if the renter fails to take care of their obligations, the storage center has little recourse but to proceed to auction.

But wait, we still don't go to auction yet. Despite emails, letters, phone calls, and certified letters, more collection efforts are made. Additional phone calls. Additional emails. If these attempts fail, then the storage center sends notice to the local Sheriff of the pending auction, and publishes warnings in the legal notice section of the local paper. This legal notice has to be published for two consecutive weeks before the auction takes place.

So, at minimum, it takes 30 days of being late before a unit goes to auction. That's assuming we have room on our schedule for the sale. Usually, we book auctions more than 60 days out. During this 60 day period from the renter being late to the auction, management continues to make collection efforts.

Let's understand a very basic principle. Auctions rarely generate as much money as the renter owes. Therefore, it makes much more sense to collect than to sell. In most cases, management delays going to auction for much longer than 60 days. Some of our clients will wait months and months before they resort to an auction. It's not uncommon for units to sit for 6 months to a year before we go to sale.

Remember this too. Storage facilities are a business. Like hotels, like apartments, like retail space. Facilities are built so that others could rent the space. No one goes into ANY business to work for nothing. People who don't pay their bills are a) defaulting on a contract that they chose to enter, and b) depriving the property owner of their rightful rents. Spaces that are in default cost the facility money. Why shouldn't they be permitted to empty the unit and get a PAYING renter in the space? If you rent an apartment and don't pay your rent, you get evicted. Liens are placed against your property. This is no different.

But wait, there's more. Most facilities would rather negotiate with a renter and reach a settlement, than go to auction. There's less liability, and more debt recovery. If renters simply make this effort, they could very likely avoid auction, and also avoid going to collections. When a unit goes to auction, the difference between what's owed (a lot) and what's recovered (much less) is sent to collections.

Do I feel bad? No. I don't like seeing people lose their personal keepsakes, and many of our locations will collect them from the auction buyers so they can be returned to the renter – even when the renter has failed to pay their bills. Most storage auction buyers are good, understanding folks, who will do what they can to return important papers, photos, and personal keepsakes.

The problem is, most renters who let their units go to auction can't be found. They don't answer calls. They ignore emails. They fail to respond to letters and publication. They make no effort to contact storage management or make arrangements to settle their debts. What choice does management have? Usually – none.

Remember this too: Since the auction is designed to recover debt, the greater the unit sells for, the less money the renter will still owe. That's where we come in. We're experts. We run a clean operation. We bring in more bidders and more revenue than any other auctioneers. If anyone can help these renters come close to settlement, we can.

No one in an auction crowd caused the situation. It is an unfortunate circumstance, but a circumstance in which the renter has tremendous control. This is ultimately a result of choice, not mine, not the facility, but a choice by a renter to not honor their obligations.

As to your comments about me and Twinkies… I like Twinkies. I'm 6'0" and 250+. I'd like to see you say that to my face. You know how to find me. My schedule is posted on my web site.

As to your ignorant comments equating what I do as a professional auctioneer to the Nazi SS: I spent years putting my life on the line protecting my community. I have relatives that survived the Holocaust. I DARE you to make those comments to my face. That's what I thought. It's easy to insult people anonymously with a hidden identity. You don't have the courage to own up to your hatred. I guess I'll never see you at my auctions. What a relief.


Rich Schur

Professional, licensed Auctioneer