From the moment the auctioneer cuts the lock at a storage auction, you’ll have just a few minutes to look inside and determine whether or not is worth bidding on. So, how do you know if a unit is “profitable?” Here are some tall-tale signs to look for.
#1) Clean and Organized
Conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that clean, well-organized storage units usually contain more valuables than dirty, unorganized units. If a tenant is storing valuable items inside a unit, he or she will probably put forth the effort to keep it clean. So, look around to see if the unit is clean, and use this as a factor on which to base your max bid.
#2) Packed Full
While there are always exceptions to this rule, if a storage is unit is packed full of items there’s a good chance of it being profitable. When a tenant knows that he or she cannot pay their storage bill, they may remove their valuables from the unit. In doing so, they leave behind a largely empty unit that contains just boxes and junk. Therefore, if the storage unit is packed full, the valuables may still be there.
#3) Name Brand Products
When the auctioneer cuts the lock, look inside to see if you can see the names of any products. Are they name brand or generic? If it’s the latter, you can assume that it’s less valuable. But if the storage unit contains name brand products and items, it will likely hold greater value.
#4) Plastic Contains
We’ve talked about this before on our blog, but another tall-tale sign of a profitable storage unit is the use of plastic hard-shell containers instead of cardboard boxes. Tenants typically prefer to store their valuables in plastic containers, simply because it offers greater protection from moisture and the elements. Cardboard boxes have a tendency to decay and rot over time, which could expose the contents to the elements.
Consider the location in which the auction is taking place when determining your max bid. Have you participated in other auctions here? If so, were the units valuable or not? Some self-storage units will attract more “premium” tenants than others, in which case it’s best to raise your max bids. The bottom line is that you need to size up the demographic of the self-storage facility’s customer base, and then use this information to determine your max bids.