If you’ve been in the storage auction business for any significant length of time, you probably know by now that now every unit is worth bidding on. Some units will contain a treasure trove of valuable items that can easily be resold for a profit. Others, however, will contain little more than empty boxes and junk furniture. So, how do can you tell if a storage unit is valuable?
The cleanliness (or lack thereof) of a storage unit is a tall-tale sign of whether or not it is valuable. Tenants who store valuable items in their units will typically put forth the effort to keep it clean, simply because they want their items ruined by dirt and debris. If you notice a storage unit that’s particularly clean and well kept, it’s a good idea to bid high. On the other hand, if the unit is dirty, bid low.
Boxes vs Containers
When looking inside storage units, pay close attention to whether it contains cardboard boxes or plastic/hard-shell containers. If it containers the latter, there’s a good chance that it also contains valuable items. Tenants typically use hard-shell containers in which to store their valuables instead of cardboard boxes. Cardboard has a tendency to break down and decay, leaving the contents exposed to the elements. Hard-shell containers, however, do not suffer from this problem, keeping contents protected from the elements for years.
It should come as little-to-no surprise that furniture is one of the most common items found in storage units. When you run out of space inside your home, you may rent a storage unit for this very purpose. Now, if you’re in the business of buying and selling the contents of storage units, you can use this to determine its value. Once the auctioneer cuts the lock and allows the bidders to peek inside, look at the furniture to see if it’s made of actual hardwood lumber or particle board. Cheap furniture is often made of particle board, which is difficult to resell and usually indicates minimal value in the unit.
Don’t forget to look at the labels placed on boxes and containers. Most tenants will label their boxes and containers so they’ll know what’s inside. So when sizing up a storage unit, check for containers. Do you see labels for expensive items like tools, collectibles, vintage baseball cards, etc.? If so, it’s probably worth raising your bids.