5 Tips for a Successful Storage Auction Experience
Television shows like Storage Wars introduced the general public to the concept of storage auctions. When a person rents a storage locker, they agree to pay a monthly rental fee. If the renter misses several payments, the storage facility has the right to auction off the renter’s items. These storage auctions are a source of resellable items.
Here are 5 tips to help you succeed with storage auction bidding.
1. Know Where the Auction will Take Place
Most storage auctions take place at the storage facility. But sometimes an off-site location is used instead. If you hear about a storage facility auction, you can’t automatically assume it will occur at the facility.
Watch for public notices of upcoming storage auctions. In most cases, the storage facility will announce the auction on its website. You can also find public notices in your local newspaper.
2. Understand Storage Auction Rules
A big rule of storage auctions is that you can’t enter the unit unless you bid and win. That means you can’t go in beforehand to see what’s actually stored in the unit. Besides, half the excitement is not knowing what you’ll get if you win.
3. Watch for Warning Signs of Bad Units
You can’t inspect the unit before bidding. But you can use detective skills to make it less likely to get a bad unit. Things to watch for include strong odors, such as mold or decay.
Another warning sign is seeing roaches or rats when the unit is opened. That doesn’t necessarily mean the unit isn’t valuable. But remember, if you win the auction, you’re responsible for removing items stored in the unit. Do you want to deal with items possibly infested with roaches? Or do you want to spend the day getting rid of rat droppings?
And finally, beware of storage units that have storage drums. A storage drum could contain hazardous waste or something even worse. Some storage facilities won’t auction a unit if they suspect it presents a danger. But you can’t depend on that, so play it safe and use common sense when bidding.
4. Bid Smart
Auctions are exciting, and it’s easy to get swept away. But remaining calm helps avoid careless bidding. Go to the auction with an idea about how much you want to spend. Stop bidding when you’ve reached your limit. Otherwise, you might end up paying more than what the storage unit is actually worth.
It’s not necessary to win or even bid on every single unit. The goal is to get affordable items that you can resell for a profit. That means you must avoid spending more than you’ll recoup later.
5. Prepare to Work Hard
Winning a unit is only half the battle. The hardest part is sifting through items in the unit. Unless the unit is practically empty, you’ll probably have quite a bit to examine. And this process takes more time than most people realize.
You’ll have to determine what’s worth keeping and what to toss.Valuable items are often found in storage units, so make sure to carefully examine everything. And then you have to load your vehicle with everything you plan to keep. That’s a lot of work. If possible, take one or two people to help with the job.
Turning a Profit after the Auction
You might find a few items you want to keep. But in most cases, your goal is to turn a profit from your storage unit win. You’ll likely have to consider several selling platforms that will allow you to sell your items.
Local sources such as pawnshops and collectors are often an option. But there are also online sources to consider. You might want to try websites such as eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, or Etsy.
Storage auction bidding is competitive, but it's often a very rewarding experience.