Every show must have a villain, and in the case of “Storage Wars”, Dave Hester was more than eager to step up to the plate. Dave has wracked up possibly the most bad-press and ill feelings than any other star in any iteration of the show. Nicknamed ‘The Mogul’, Dave is known to do practically anything to make a buck or cut into the profits of other buyers. While some view his attitude as a business strategy, others have criticized him for being needlessly vindictive and savage. Dave also played a key role in bringing the entire show to its knees, with a series of violent outbursts and a slew of lawsuits.
Early Life and Family
Although people are apt to dislike the businessman, a look at his early life can give us insight into what created the character we know today. Dave Hester was born on 23 July 1964, on the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base in California. On the show, Dave has mentioned that he was one of five children – a large financial burden on a family subsisting on a military pay check. It is likely this experience that gave him his do-or-die, cutthroat attitude. Dave first experienced the auctioning scene when he was five years old. To supplement his income, Hester’s father would travel to yard sales, auctions, and swap meets, trying to score anything to ease the financial burden.
Dave would accompany his father to these events, and thus acquired his taste for auctioning.
Dave was an enterprising child, and by the age of fourteen had started somewhat of a business of his own. Hester would bid at auctions, purchasing power tools that he would then pass on to local military-base shops. However, Hester’s life was not all business and military impressions – he has fond memories of his father’s vast train set collection, which clued him in to the fact that auctioning could be eclectic as well as profitable.
There is not much readily available information about Hester’s formal schooling. It seems clear however, that Hester has been chasing success in the auctioning industry for years, becoming a licensed and bonded auctioneer in 1992.
While he often attends auctions on the buyers’ side, in more recent years, Hester has been utilizing this license to run auctions of his own.
Dave Hester started out working for an auction house in the 1990s – he was a bid catcher, and it was in this position that he fine-tuned his iconic ‘Yuuup!’ – a sound at which his competition groans and auctioneers grin. Dave became a licensed auctioneer in 1992, and began to strike out on auctions of is own. Hester also sold off his father’s valuable train set over a period of five years, turning it into a veritable fortune upon which to build his own empire.
An Empire of His Own
It is unknown exactly when Dave Hester opened his stores, but they were located in Orange County, California, named Newport Consignment Gallery, and Rags to Riches Thrift Store. While these stores initially focused on more high-end items, Dave soon became acquainted with the lower end of the business. In 2005, Hester was convicted of DUI and sentenced to 30 days of community service at the local Goodwill Store, where he grew to recognize that the work they did there, processing second-hand clothing and household utensils, was not all that different from what he was doing.
SOLANO MOVING AND STORAGE AUCTION!Dave Hester Auctioneer!Date: Saturday February 4th, 2017 at 11AMAddress: 1340…
This opened the idea of storage facility searching. In an episode of the show, Hester even admitted that it was this exposure to the lower end of the market that saw him through some difficult financial patches.
Dave Hester’s two stores thrived, pushed solely by his determination and grit. It was this proficiency that got him recognized as a potential candidate for the A&E Network’s show, “Storage Wars”, that premiered in 2010. The series followed the lives of people just like Hester – albeit without quite the same attitude and ferocity. The auction buyers capitalize on storage lockers the renters of which have fallen three months behind in their rent – in California, the law allows for these units to be auctioned off.
The rules of these auctions require a little faith and a lot of luck, the bidders only being allowed a brief and limited view into the unit. Every single item in the unit must be purchased together, hopefully yielding an overall profit, which could even be a single item of immense worth.
Dave Hester has an eye for this kind of work, but was fired from the show in 2012, which proved the catalyst for the first of many lawsuits – for being wrongfully fired – and launched a series of allegations regarding the show’s legitimacy. Hester claimed that the show was rigged, valuable items pre-placed, and units pre-assigned. While some of these claims may have been true (who leaves a live moose in a storage unit?), Hester came off worst in the lawsuit.
He was hit with a fine of $122,000 that he refused to pay, but somehow this was all put behind him, and he returned to the show for the fifth season.
Dave’s dedication to his craft is absolute. He even closed both of his stores so he could dedicate all his energy and resources to the show. There was even an episode in which Hester stormed off set, furious that co-star Barry Weiss was treating the industry with levity, having bought two psychics to assist him at an auction.
Hester’s dedication was not always well mixed with his volatile nature. In 2015, Hester got into an all-out fistfight with Dan Dotson and may have even hit Laura, when he felt he was being side-lined and ignored in the auction. This did not seem to stop his career, as he continued to appear on the show until 2017.
Dave Hester opened his own auctioneering company – Dave Hester Auctions – in 2011, where he currently works. He uses his vast amount of experience in the industry to accurately assess, at least as far as he is concerned, the values of items across a vast spectrum, which he then auctions off.
In contrast to the flamboyance with which he conducts himself in the auction space, Dave remains reserved concerning his personal life. Aside from an estranged brother, there is not much known about his relationship with his siblings and parents, and whether they are even still alive. Dave is married to Donna and they have a son, Dave Jr, and two pugs.
Hester loves to travel, but his focus remains on his work and building a future for his son. Dave’s own future looked bleak when he suffered a stroke in November of 2019, determined to be the culmination of both high blood pressure and chronic sleep apnoea. He is, however, back up and working, as only a man of his determination would be. He has not let the lawsuits rest, however, and is in a copyright battle with Songz over his trademark ‘Yuuup!’.
Dave Hester is easily recognizable for his stout, yet solid figure and close-shaven hair, possibly a legacy from his military-oriented father. His features are a conglomeration of his mixed heritage – his mother a native Mexican and his father of German and Irish descent.
— Dave Hester (@davethemogul) February 29, 2020
This, along with his reputation, makes him immediately noticeable amongst a crowd of bidders. Dave Hester is 5ft 8ins (1.75m) tall and weighs 176lbs (80kgs).
Net Worth and Salary
Dave Hester has amassed a net worth of $6 million, a notable mark considering his humble beginnings of selling power tools to military-base stores. Hester received a monthly income of $25,000 for his appearance on “Storage Wars”, and that does not even factor in the things he finds in the units. Hester has walked away with complete restaurant sets and dining room suites, and one of his most impressive finds was a painting by Jack Wilkinson Smith, a California based impressionist, which sold for $155,000.