We’ve all heard the “Storage Wars is FAKE!” rant, but the reality behind this reality show is that anyone truly can profit from storage auctions. Sure, it won’t be as easy as you see on TV, but it’s not impossible. All it takes is some start up cash to bid on the units, a truck or a trailer to haul everything off with (you don’t even need to necessarily own one to start off–you can rent one, or maybe you’re lucky enough to know someone who can help you out!), and a way to resell everything that you don’t want to hold onto.
There is a lot of guesswork when bidding on a unit, but some critical thinking can be utilized to ensure profits. If you see something like a very nice armoire, the odds of finding other high value items will rise. If you notice spider webs and a lot of dust, you know that nothing has been moved within the unit in years, and there’s a better chance of finding some antiques. Boxes are the biggest mystery. It is a good idea to take notice of the brands and labels on the boxes. If there is a box for a 60” plasma television, there most likely will not be a television in the unit; but it gives you insight to the socioeconomic level of the person whose bin is being auctioned. Boxes labeled with high-end brand names can signify this as well. You should even take note of the quality of the boxes themselves–are they crushed and thrown on the ground, or clean and neatly stacked with clear labeling? If the tenant packed the unit with care and used high quality packing materials, it’s safe to assume there’s some value in the unit.
Just keep in mind that you do not want to bid if you cannot sell any items of worth. Do not bid on a “hunch”, or just for the sake of bidding–this is a huge rookie mistake and you will most likely end up winning a unit full of garbage. Even if the unit is selling for a low price, take into consideration the hours of back breaking labor it will take to clean out the unit. But don’t give up if you buy a unit that turns out to be a dud! You have to expect a loss every now and then; just make sure that your profits are higher. Learn from your mistakes, take note of what your losing unit looked like and those should become warning signs for the next auction.
People are always looking for a great deal, so if you can win good units for an appropriate price, you can definitely profit. Many storage auction bidders choose to sell their items on websites like Craigslist and eBay. Ebay is simple and you can build trust with your potential buyers by having a good seller reputation. Some people advertise larger items in their local news paper, others sell at flea markets or even antique shops. Regardless of your means to liquidate your winnings, it is always a good idea to specialize. Some people specialize in selling auto parts, some in audio equipment, others in antiques or furniture or timepieces. Build a network of people who specialize in fields other than your own, so that you can help each other out in selling items that you do not normally sell. These connections are mutually beneficial, and essential to maximizing your profits when selling items.
See? If you play your cards right, it’s not too unbelievable to think you could make a living off of this!