Have you ever wanted to try your hand at storage unit auctions as a way to make some extra money?
Do you like the idea of not knowing what you might find inside the storage units you purchase?
If you do then you already know that money is made in the storage unit auction business through reselling the items inside the units you win at auction.
How you resell these items will have a huge impact on whether your storage units will be profitable or not but its not the most important aspect of the storage unit auction process.
Yes selling the items in the unit is huge but your profits will be made or broken on the actual auction price you pay.
This article will help you increase your chances of making money from storage unit auctions if you avoid the common storage unit auction mistakes below.
Storage Unit Auction Mistakes
Traveling too far outside your local area for an auction.
While it is true that the more storage unit auctions you attend, the better your chances will be to find a good unit and increase your profit but that should not mean traveling 2 or more hours from home.
Sometime I like to travel to nearby cities to attend different auctions and possibly see a different mix of items but 30 minutes to an hour travel time is typically my max for regular storage auctions.
Of course you are free to travel as far as you are comfortable with but just understand that each mile extra you travel is a more costs that will have to be added to the cost of the units you win at auction.
Every now and then there is a PODS auction which is about an hour and a half from my house, I will make an exception and attend these as I have found the items in these units to be much better than a typical storage unit auction.
With the high cost of gas, traveling a few hours to attend an auction which may not even have any units worth bidding on can get expensive and can really eat into your profits if you are doing this often.
If you live in or near a large city, you should be able to find several storage unit auctions each week with very little travel needed.
Call around to your local storage unit businesses and ask if they do auctions and when their next auction will be as they do not all advertise online or in the paper.
Arriving as the auction is starting or arriving late
If you are serious about making money in the storage unit auction business, arrive at least 15 minutes early to each auction.
This will give you time to network with others attending the auction and be sure to meet the auctioneer.
Networking with others is a great way to find out about upcoming auctions and scout out your competition at the same time.
I always ask the auctioneer if they have a website where they list auctions they will be hosting in the area, this is a great way to find out about auctions which may not be listed anywhere else online.
Most auctioneers will not let you bid in the auctions if you arrive late, you must check in prior to the auction and sign the terms of sale agreement, without doing this you will not be allowed to bid unless the auctioneer allows you to.
Not Asking Questions
Make sure that you know all of the terms of sale before bidding on any units when you attend a storage unit auction, not asking questions is something that can hurt.
A few questions I like to ask before the auction begins are:
- Has the auction been canceled?
- How many units are in the auction? (sometime they will tell you what the sizes are of the units to be auctioned over the phone)
- What payment methods are accepted?
- Is there a cleaning deposit required?
- How long do they give you to have the unit cleaned out?
- Are you able to preview the unit prior to bidding or is it a bling or sealed bid?
Once you have all of the information you need you will be able to make a more informed decision before placing a bid.
I remember when I was just getting started in storage unit auctions, I attended a facility that had 15 units for auction and it was just me and 3 other guys attending then auction, after the 6th units they all had won 2 apiece and I hadn’t seen anything worth bidding on.
When I arrived at the 7th unit I noticed that the other 3 bidders had dropped out and were tending to the units they had won which left me and the auctioneer for the the next 9 units.
I ended up buying all 9 for less that $100 which was great because I found some really nice items and made a ton of profit but I had failed to ask what the cleaning deposit was and how long I had to get the units cleaned out.
It was $100 apiece for a cleaning deposit and I only had 24 hours to get all 9 units cleaned out, YIKES!!
Had I known that I may not have bought all those units but I got lucky and they have me a couple extra days since I bought so many units.
Not bringing a flashlight and pad locks
There really is not much equipment that you will need to attend and bid on storage units at auction but 2 things that are crucial for you to have with you when you attend an auction are a good led flashlight and pad locks to secure the units you win.
Most storage units you attend will allow you a couple minutes to preview the unit up for auction before the bidding begins but you will not be allowed to enter the unit or touch anything inside so having a good flashlight will help reveal items that are tucked in corners and under other items.
If you happen to win a storage unit at auction, it is your responsibility to secure your storage unit until you have paid for the unit and can return to search through your potential treasure, this is where bringing several padlocks to each auction comes in handy.
Not knowing what to look for in the unit
It is very important that you know what you are looking for when previewing a storage unit up for auction.
Things like furniture and large appliances will normally stand out but your profit will be found in what you cannot see.
Look for boxes that are labeled with their contents, like kitchen, bedroom, clothing, living room etc.
I good tell tell sign for how good the unit will be is how well the previous owner packed the unit and the quality of the items that you can see.
If it looks like the previous owner just opened the door and threw everything in, its a good sign that you will have a hard time finding anything of value inside the unit.
However sometimes you will run across a neat and tidy storage unit where the furniture is shrink-wrapped and the boxes are neatly stacked, these units normally go for much more but can contain some really high quality items.
Storage Unit Auction Mistakes
The storage unit auction business can be a very exciting, fun and profitable business for you to begin if you can avoid these common storage unit auction mistakes.