Storage Auction Bidding: Knowing When to Pass

3931702945_7035970bf3_zPart of running a successful buy-sell storage auction business is knowing when to pass on a unit. Far too many newcomers assume that each and every storage unit is worth bidding. In reality, though, only some units contain valuables, and it’s important for newcomers and seasoned vets alike to have enough self-control to stop bidding on these units. So, how do you know when it’s time to pass on a unit?

You Don’t See Any Valuable Items

When the auctioneer cuts the lock, you’ll have only a few minutes to peek inside and determine what the unit is worth. If you don’t see any items of any real value, it’s probably a smart idea to pass. Just because there are no visible items of value doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s void of value. But if you want to maintain a positive return on your investment, you should base your bids on what you can see and not what you think is inside the unit.

Bids are Approaching Your Allocated Limit

If the bidding gets too high, you should probably step back and let another bidder have the unit. A good rule of thumb is to set aside a specific amount for storage auctions before you attend them. This may be $500 or $5,000. If you come across a unit that’s approaching your daily bid limit, consider forfeiting it. Scoring two or three cheaper units may prove more beneficial than a single high-dollar unit.

There’s a Bidding War Taking Place

Another sign that it’s time to pass on a storage unit up for auction is when a bidding war occurs. As you may already know, a bidding war is the result of two or more bidders who continue to increase their bids in hopes of knocking the other out. Unfortunately, the only real winner in a bidding war is the self-storage facility, as it receives an inflated price for the unit while the “winning” bidder ends up paying more than what the unit is actually worth.

Too Many Large Items

Why should you avoid storage units with an excessive number of large items? Well, if it’s just you attending the auction, you may not have the manpower to haul them off. Sure, you can always recruit a friend or family member, but time is money in this business. This is why many seasoned storage hunters avoid units with large items altogether, focusing their efforts on units with smaller items instead.


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