Many people have wondered about storage unit auctions and if there is really any money to be made with them due to the popularity of the cable television shows such as “Storage Wars”. These programs feature regular auction bidders around the country buying certain units up for sale and then finding hidden treasures in them after the auction. You never know what kind of unique and one of a kind items were stored and left in rental units.
The storage unit auction is what takes place if a renter cannot pay his bill due the management company. After a certain time frame, the company has the right to place the renters possessions up for auction to the highest bidder to try and recoup some of the costs that were lost involved in that unit being lost for paying customers. However, the management company is required to try and locate the renter in order to inform them of the impending auction before it takes place. If the renter is able to come up with the past due amount of rent before the auction actually begins, then that unit must be taken out of the auction for that day.
Many times the auction is cancelled because of last minute payments from the renter in order to save their possessions from being liquidated. There is actually an involved legal process that the storage unit management company has to go through before being allowed to schedule the auction, and they must do their due diligence to contact the customer first.
There is good profit to be had from a storage unit auction if you are the successful bidder, but you really should know what the resale value is of certain items beforehand instead of just attending and starting to bid on a unit. You don’t want to get caught up in the bidding process and eventually win the bid but paying much more than the actual unit is worth.
What happens at a storage unit auction is the management cuts off the lock right in front of everyone and then all the potential bidders file by in front of the opening to get a good look at the contents. They only get a minute or two in front of the unit looking in before having to continue on, due to the large number of people at some of these auctions. So a successful auction attendee needs to assess quickly whether a unit is worth bidding on, and also the highest amount they can spend without paying more than what it is worth.
There are some regulars who attend all the time in order to restock items at their thrift store or online store. They sell used items every day and they can tell rather quickly what something is worth and if they should try to buy it. The newbie to the business should try and take some training in advance, and there are several good products on the internet where they can learn the ropes and auction process. If you don’t learn it in advance, then you may just end up overpaying later where it counts. Like the famous commercial always says, “You can pay me now, or pay me later”… Good training will stay with you and help further your career in this industry if that is your goal.
Before I began “qualifying” my storage auctions, I wasted my time and made no money. After a while I started to realize that there was more to finding good units that just blind luck, and that is when my business really took off. This edition of the Storage Auction System Podcast discusses how you can find good (read: profitable) storage auctions and stop wasting your time on junk.