7 tips for storage auction bidding

You’ve all seen the shows about storage auction wars. It’s competitive, it’s rough, it’s disappointing and yet rewarding at times. Before getting into the game, here are a few tips.

Know the rules

Storage facilities have general rules that need to be applied. For liability reasons, they don’t usually enter the units they’re selling. However, when that door rolls up for bidding, back off if you see a couple of things:

  • odors, such as mold which can come from old food in appliances,
  • critters or insects like rats and cockroaches,
  • storage drums, which could contain anything, even hazardous waste.

Most storage facility owners can’t sell units like these, so know the rules and make sure you don’t get caught with an unsafe unit.

Keep quiet

The last thing you want to do is announce to the world that you’ve found a signed letter from George Washington or an unopened collection of original Star Wars figures. Keep your findings to yourself, identify buyers quickly and liquidate your haul… quietly.

Get in shape

Most professionals look to turn around units quickly, but it’s not as easy as it looks. Sifting through unit upon unit is physically demanding, so make sure you can handle the job.

Don’t get caught up in the excitement

There’s no need to buy a unit every time you attend a storage auction. Take your time and weigh your options. Have a goal in mind and bid on the units that make sense for you. Set a limit for yourself to ensure you can make a profit later. If you’re just getting into the business, don’t bring any money with you. Instead, have a look at what it’s all about.

Identify buyers

As mentioned, most professionals try to go through units quickly. You may need to bring items home or keep them in your own self storage unit for some time. To streamline the process, find buyers ahead of time like pawn shops, specialty buyers and online classified advertising services like Kijiji or Craigslist.

Go through everything

Some units may seem like they include a pile of junk, but you may find some hidden gems. Be meticulous and sort through all items. You never know what you’ll find!

Be safe

Not from the bidders, but from the hazards of an old storage unit. It’s a dirty business so invest in a mask and heavy duty gloves.

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