Sale Day Tips for Storage Unit Auctions

It’s Auction Day!

Arrive early – Get registered. Read the terms of the sale. If you have any questions, ask the auctioneer or one of their associates. Bring your Driver’s License or State Issued ID. The Auctioneer needs to know who he or she is selling the units to.

Keep your ears open – You can learn a lot from listening to other bidder’s conversations. They may be out to run your game, so don’t take everything you hear to heart. Size up the competition before the bidding starts.

The more storage auctions you go to, the more often you see the same faces. You should at least be friendly.
The other bidders at an auction are your competition. You know what they say about keeping your enemies close. It makes it easier to know what they are up to. They may be friendly to you because they want to know what you’re into. Watch who is bidding against you. Watch who seems interested in the unit.

Let’s Go Get A Storage Unit Full of Treasures!

When The Door Goes Up

You only have a few minutes to size up the contents and set your maximum bid.

Assess the items in the unit based on what you can see.

Scan the unit quickly; but keep an eye out for the most valuable items.

Stick with units that have items in them that you are familiar with.

Set your maximum bid based on what you feel you can get out of the 3 most expensive items you see. If you can sell them and break even on them, then you can probably scrape some profit out of the rest of the locker.

Only bid on what you can see. That applies to tool boxes, storage totes, boxes, and most especially, musical instrument and gun cases. What you are hoping for may not be in there after all.

Decide what you are willing to spend on a unit and don’t go over

See something that catches your eye in a unit? Do your research before you bid blindly. If you have a name or a part number, you might know what’s in the box. You can’t say for sure that the cartons have what they claim to in them, but if you see tamper proof tape, or the tape looks to be smooth and perfect like a box machine would lay it on, then there is a good chance you are dealing with brand new merchandise.

Put your smart phone to work and do a little last minute research to gain the upper hand on the competition. Bear in mind that just because you found one advertised for a high price online, that doesn’t necessarily mean that is what they sell for. Keep your emotions in check. There might be something good buried in the unit, or it might just be more junk to haul to the dump.

Certain items will scare certain bidders off. You saw the vehicles in the lot in your way into the auction. Not everyone is in a truck. Large items such as appliances or old mattresses may narrow the competition before the bidding even starts. Be ready to sweat. Once you have won the bid on a unit, you are responsible for completely emptying the unit; whether it is full of items you can sell for a profit, or full of trash. Don’t buy units full of large items if you don’t have a truck large enough to haul them off.

People try all sorts of crazy games to throw off other bidders. Don’t let other bidders get in your head. I’ve had toes stepped on, caught an elbow or two; and smelled a guy that smelled so bad, you’d of thought he was dead. No one wanted to be near him and the bidders were more concerned about staying away from him than looking in the units he hovered over, and I know he got some deals out of it.

When the Bidding Starts

Don’t throw your hand up at the first call the auctioneer makes. You will look too eager. When an auctioneer doesn’t get the bid they are calling for, they will start a slow decent in price. It doesn’t matter who bids first. The only bid that counts is the last.

Pump and Dump?

Pumping Bids can be a dangerous proposition. For the bidders that do it, the process is a 2 stage attack. There are the obvious effects that day. You either have to outbid them to get a unit, or go home empty handed. And then there’s the long term effect. Week after week of paying too much for units or getting outbid on everything can have a serious impact on your bottom line.

It can be hard to not get emotional about it when it’s your money they are spending; but a situation like demands a cool head. This is a perfect time to remind you how important it is to stick to your max bid. On the TV Storage Auction shows, it seems pretty commonplace to run the bids up on your competitors, even if you don’t want the unit.

You can’t say for sure when the guy you are pumping the bid on decides that he is done pumping the bid on you, and you are left paying more for a unit than you wanted to. The idea they seem to push is that if you can make your competitors spend more on the units they want, they’ll have less cash to bid against you on the units that you are interested in. If you aren’t interested in the unit, keep your hands in your pockets, and don’t make eye contact with the auctioneer. In Ohio, I believe this would fall into what the state of Ohio calls Bid Rigging; which is illegal.

The Buckeye Auction Team DOES NOT CONDONE Bid Rigging

After the sale

The Auction is over and you bought a unit. It’s time to dig in and see what you have.

Sort it as you load it out

The TV shows don’t talk much about how long it takes to empty out a storage unit.
Put the good stuff together; make a pile to donate to local thrift shops; scrap any metals you don’t want; and trash as little of it as you can. Be green when you go to storage unit auctions.
Think things through as you get into the storage unit. Sort it all before you start loading the truck. Put the best stuff in first, followed by the scrap metals, and load the items you are going to donate last. Stop on your way home from the auction and drop them off at your favorite thrift store. Be sure to get a receipt for your tax records if you plan to claim the donations.
Stop by the scrap yard and sell the scrap metal before you go back to your warehouse. No sense in taking to your shop, to be in your way and cause you to have to move it again. It’s on the truck; sell it today and be done with it.
Don’t throw anything away. Make that your goal.

Durable Medical Equipment – Walkers, crutches, wheelchairs, hospital beds. They cost a lot when you need one, and you’re not in a position to shop around very much. I say donate them. Check with your church or county rest home. They may be glad to have them or know someone who would be.

Snap a few pics of what you have to offer and shoot it to potential buyers. Put your smart phone to work before you leave the sale. Sell it that day and you only have to unload it once.

I’ve found all sorts of things that it seems like someone would have wanted to keep; family bibles, notebooks full of poetry and song lyrics, photo albums full of childhood memories. That is for the person who rented the unit to deal with. Don’t put too much thought into why or how it came to be that the storage unit rent didn’t get paid. That’s not your problem. Some Auctioneers ask that you leave personal property with them; and they will attempt to get them back to the original owners. Other Auctioneers will wait till you aren’t looking, and dump them in the trash.

Storage Auction Tips

Storage Auction Checklist

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3 thoughts on “Sale Day Tips for Storage Unit Auctions

  1. Pingback: Selling Your Storage Auction Treasures | Buckeye Auction

  2. Pingback: Storage Auction Checklist | Buckeye Auction

  3. Pingback: Tips for Bidding at Storage Auctions | Buckeye Auction

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