Nearly every seasoned storage hunter will come across bidders trying to “run up the bid” at some point in their career. If you fail to acknowledge this technique and adjust your own bids accordingly, it can quickly drain your finances while leaving you nothing to show for it.
So, what exactly does the term “run up the bid” mean? It involves one or more people bidding on a storage unit for the sole purpose of forcing the winner to pay a premium price. Even if they have no intentions on winning the auction, the bidder (or bidders) may continue to place higher bids in hopes of luring an unsuspecting bidder into winning the auction. Instead of winning the storage unit with a $400 bid, it may cost $800, $1,200 or more, making it increasingly difficult to turn a profit on its contents.
Why Hunters Run Up The Bid
There are several reasons why storage hunters may attempt to run up the bid on an auction, one of which is to discourage newcomers from bidding. Conventional wisdom should tell you that the more people bidding on an storage unit, the higher the cost of the winning bid — in most instances at least. If a veteran thinks he or she can discourage newcomers from the lucrative world of storage auctions, they may run up the bid for this very reason.
Storage hunters may also run up the bid on auctions to get revenge on other hunters. If you’ve ever watched the hit A&E TV show Storage Wars, you’re probably well aware of just how heated these auctions can be. Bidders often get into confrontations over units and their respective contents, with grudges lasting for weeks or months on end. If a hunter has a disagreement with another hunter, he or she may bid on their auctions just to force a higher selling price.
Here are some tips to protect yourself form falling victim to this technique:
- Choose a max bid before the auctioneer begins the bidding process.
- Remember the golden rule of storage auctions: don’t let your emotions take control of your bids.
- Base your bids on the contents of the storage unit (what you can see), not the bids placed by other hunters.
- Take a mental note of hunters who run up the bid for others.
- Successful storage auction hunters know when to stop bidding.
- Keep a cool head and remain professional at all times.