Bin auctions, are the bread and butter for professional storage bin buyers. The word “bin” refers to the actual storage unit itself, including everything inside of it. Bin auctions are generally more common than piece-by-piece auctions. The bin auctions are the type seen on A&Es show Storage Wars—you know the deal: the doors go up, you take a peek inside, and the winner gets all. There is an element of mystery when you buy a unit, because you’re not allowed to step inside of the locker or touch any items–you can only look. The great thing about these storage auctions is that there might be hidden treasure buried in your unit. You might have paid $150 for a unit that had $500 of antique jewelry inside! On the other hand, you may have spent $500 on a unit filled with junk that will only yield you $100. Buyer beware! You need to be well-versed and do your research if you want to make smart bids.
Piece auctions, on the other hand, are where individual items from a bin are sold piece-by-piece, and sometimes in sets (like a washer and dryer, or dishes.) The only up-side to piece auctions is that not as many people attend them, so you can watch and only bid on something that you absolutely know you want. However, bids can get a little higher at piece auctions, as many collectors will be looking for items that they want specifically, and are usually very willing to pay the price. Attend these auctions with a sharp eye, as well; depending on which state you are in, this type of auction can be illegal. With piece auctions, you also run a higher risk of dealing with unscrupulous storage facility owners who have already picked out the good items for themselves while piecing the unit apart.
As long as you do your research before heading out to any auction, you should have nothing to worry about. And if you’re ever in doubt, you can always call our friendly customer service hotline for live advice from the pros!