Today I had a nice chat with one of our subscribers, a woman named Fran Kass—also known as Ladylocks58. I discovered Fran after she left us a great comment on Storage Unit Auction List’s Facebook. With a name as cool as LadyLocks58, I knew I had to find out more about her. I’m glad I did!
Fran is part blogger, part storage hunter, and all kinds of awesome. She’s bold, quick witted, and has a great sense of humor—three things that are pretty important if you want to be successful in this industry. I caught up with Fran just after she got back from a storage auction. “It was commercial units,” she tells me, “I don’t like commercial units just filled with office furniture. But I’m going out again tomorrow! Yeah, I’m an addict.”
But that’s what we love to hear, Fran, because so are we! It was a pleasure talking with her. Take a look at what she had to say.
How long have you been doing this for, and what got you started?
(laughs) I knew you were gonna ask me that. About a year, and from watching the shows. I’ll give you some background info on me. I’m one of those people that if I say ‘wow that looks cool, that looks like something I wanna do’, I’ll do it. You’ll never hear me say ‘gee, bungee jumping looks really cool!’ Jumping out of a plane? No, someone else can do that. But when I watched the shows, I thought ‘that really does look cool, I could do that.’
It might seem like Fran was acting on a whim, but you’d be wrong. Months and months of research and careful consideration went into her final decision.
I didn’t just say I’m gonna do that tomorrow. I’m not rich and I’m not looking to throw away my money, either—unless I’m in a casino. (laughs) But I started looking at the shows from a different perspective. I listened to every word they said and saw what they bought and why. I looked at about 40 lockers before I felt comfortable enough that I knew what I was doing. And I gotta tell you, I haven’t lost my money yet.
Scrolling through her Facebook page, there are so many great stories it’s hard to pick just one. But I decided to ask Fran about the most colorful locker she’s won so far: a 10×30 unit she refers to as simply “The Rat Unit”. You can probably infer what she found inside.
Oh my God, the Rat Unit. Yeah, that was interesting. I spent hours, and I mean hours, cleaning everything off, it was disgusting. It wasn’t even the rat poop that got to me, it was the urine! (laughs) I don’t blog about all of my units, but that one was horrible. But I made a lot of money, so I don’t care! I write on my blog for entertainment. I’ll write my losses, and what things cost me, but I don’t usually write my profits, obviously.
How did you come up with the name LadyLocks58?
Hmm, I was just playing around with a lot of names; I didn’t want to come close to any names of the shows or anyone else in the industry. Again, I did a lot of research. I didn’t want to steal anyone’s name because I don’t like when people plagiarize my work. I just tried to do something different.
Are there more men or more women at the storage auctions you attend? Do you feel like you get treated differently for being a woman?
Way, way more men. I think I intimidate them a little, or they’re surprised. I usually go with my husband, and I mean, he’s into it to support me, but he’s not really into it. I think that when it comes to the bidding, they’re surprised it’s me—not anymore, but in the beginning they were expecting it to be him— so they were blindsided by me.
But I have a really good rapport with the regulars that I show up with. I get along really well with the typical group, they’re fun people. And we don’t bid each other up, we’ll bid against each other of course, but we won’t bid just to bid and waste each other’s money. “
I’ve heard about your worst locker…but the best locker you’ve bought?
I call it ‘The Vintage Vault”. You have no idea. I’m still selling stuff, still making money off of it. I am so far into the profit zone on this. It only cost me $450, I didn’t need to rent a truck because we have two SUVs, took us three trips, done deal. And every box I opened had vintage Waterford crystal, vintage china—patterns I never even heard of—expensive clothing from Bloomingdale’s, I mean, really beautiful stuff I’m having trouble parting with. (laughs) But I won’t keep anything I find in a locker.
What prompted me to get this locker was when you opened it up, all you could see were two canes (one had a beautiful handle) and a walker. I knew it was owned by an elderly woman. I remember Alan [from Auction Hunters] said elderly means antique, and I knew I had to have this locker. I wrote him a letter telling him how I used his advice, he was so thrilled!
Fran goes on to tell me that she donates anything she doesn’t use to charity.
I had decided a while ago with all medical equipment I find—there’s a hospice right by my house, so the canes and the walker went over there. There’s also a place called “Whispering Hope” that supports young pregnant women who don’t have support from their families. All the money they make in their boutique gets donated to these girls. I supported my daughter the whole way, but there’s an awful lot of young mothers out there who don’t have support from their families.
I found you through Facebook because you said that you really liked the services Storage Unit Auction List provides. How does our list help you?
I love it. I signed up in March or April, I think, for a couple of reasons. You definitely have exclusives. In my area I’ve definitely found auctions that no one else has had. You verify the auctions, which I like—although you should still call the morning of! (spoken like a true pro, Fran!) I like that you list the amount of units; other companies typically don’t. When I’m going back and forth trying to make my decision, I’ll use that.
To finish the interview, do you have any tips for aspiring hunters?
I tell people all the time, do your research. At the same time, go to auctions without bidding, just go and observe. Register like you’re going to bid, bring money just in case (I always had money with me just in case), and just observe. Don’t jump into buying a locker just to say you bought one, because you’ll never come back. You’ll lose.
And that’s advice right from the mouth of a pro! Couldn’t have said it better myself.
If you’d like to keep up with LadyLocks58 (which I highly suggest you do), you can find her on Facebook for more fun stories, pictures of her awesome finds, and much more.