This is a question many people ask. If you’ve ever watched an episode of Storage Hunters or Storage Wars, you’ve probably seen some of the characters walking away with high-dollar storage units with a minimal investment. But not everything you see on TV is real, leaving many people to question whether or not you can really earn a living from the buy-sell storage auction business.
The short answer to this question is YES, you can earn a living by bidding on abandoned self-storage units and re-selling the contents. If there was no money to made in this business, you wouldn’t see long lines of people waiting to bid. Successful storage buyers often travel dozens of even hundreds of miles just for the opportunity to score a unit, attesting to the revenue-generating power of this ever-growing industry.
It’s important to note, however, that not every self-storage unit up for auction is worth bidding on. We’ve talked about this before on the StorageAuctionList blog, but the secret to success lies in understanding the bidding process. Far too many newcomers show up and automatically begin bidding high, assuming it will knock out the competition while allowing them to take home a unit. This is ultimately a recipe for failure, however, as you need to determine the value of a unit’s contents before placing a bid.
So, how do you determine the value of a unit’s contents? Unfortunately, there’s no 100% fool-proof way to know exactly how much the contents of a self-storage unit will sell for. The good news, however, is that you can estimate the value by following some simple steps. During a typical self-storage auction, the auctioneer will cut the lock on an abandoned unit, allowing bidders to look, but not touch, inside the unit for a couple of minutes. During this time, try to make a note of all of the items you see along with their respective depreciated, fair-market value.
Of course, bidding is just one step in the process of running a successful buy-sell storage auction business. After winning a unit, you’ll need to resell the contents through other avenues. Some professionals in this industry have their own retail storefronts for this very purpose, while others sell the their items either online or to independent dealers. Regardless, you need some way to resell the products and items you acquire through auction.