Storage Auction Bidding Strategies: What You Should Know

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Bidding is a critical element in determining the success of a storage auction business. You must know know when, how, and what to bid in order to succeed in this highly competitive business. Calling out a dollar amount higher than the previous bidder is a recipe for failure. It may work on occasion, but nine out of ten times this tactic will drain your wallet without giving you anything to show for it.

Don’t Let Your Emotions Cloud Cloud Your Judgement

I know this is easier said than done, but you must learn to control your emotions when bidding on storage auctions. Allowing yourself to get drawn into “bidding wars” with other hunters will drastically reduce your chances of turning a profit. Once you’ve been in this business long enough, you’ll eventually come across someone who bids to protect their ego, consistently outbidding the previous hunter regardless of what’s inside the storage unit.

Don’t bid for the sake of winning or trying to one-up the next guy, but instead bid with the goal of selling your newly acquired items for a profit. Focusing strictly on the business side of things and avoiding the personal battles allows for more productive bidding.

Calculate a Max Bid Based on What You Can See

A good rule of thumb is to calculate your max bid for a storage unit based on the estimated total value of its visible items. When the auctioneer cuts the lock and opens the unit, you should immediately begin scanning it, taking note of each item and its respective selling value. Add up the value of these items to specify your max bid. Yes, there are probably other items buried in the storage unit that you can’t see, but following this rule will increase your chances of turning a profit.

It’s not a bad idea to bring a notepad and calculator,  as this allows you to jot down each item you see along with an estimated selling value.

Large Bid Margin

There’s no rule — written or otherwise — stating that you must bid by small incremental margins. On the contrary, placing a large margin bid will often knock out other bidders, allowing you to take home the contents of the storage unit. If the current bid on storage unit is $200, but you think it will easily go for $1,200, try tossing out a $750 bid. Placing a bid with such a high margin will often deter other bidders from continuing the battle.


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