Making Money off Your Local Storage Auctions

Local storage auctions occur every month all over the country, and savvy auction hunters are using them to supplement their incomes. The basic premise is simple and it revolves around attending public storage auctions in order to obtain a large portion of highly discounted goods while having a plan in place to re-sell them at a profit. 

What are Local Storage Auctions?

Local storage auctions are run by self storage companies, those largely concrete and tin facilities that rent various sized spaces to customers who need secure places to put their belongings. Depending on the company and its policies, rent may be due monthly or in a lump sum upfront for a pre-determined period. However the rent payments might be set up, many self storage companies face difficulties when one or more of their tenants fail to pay their agreed upon rent on time. 

In order to recoup their financial losses due to non-payment of rent, the self storage companies may choose to exercise their legal rights to place a lien on the belongings of the delinquent storage tenant. This is similar to the process by which an auto-mechanic may retain a customer's vehicle until they have paid in full for services rendered. What does this mean for the average auction hunter with some extra pocket cash

Simply that these local storage auctions are a fantastic opportunity to obtain a great deal of valuable goods, of all kinds, for a vastly discounted rate. When local storage auctions take place, the self storage company may decide to either sell the entire repossessed storage locker at once or divide all the goods up into lots. 

Either way, attending local storage auctions is a great way to obtain a good deal of inventory at very discounted rates. 

 What Do You Need to Be Prepared for Local Storage Auctions?

There are a few things you'll want to make sure you have before you show up to your first local storage auction. For one thing, you definitely need cash. It's up to the auctioneer whether or not they'll take anything other than cash when it comes time to pay up for the reposssessed storage lockers you've won. 

However, it's usually not enough just to have the cash to pay for the repossessed storage units you've won. You also need to account for the fact that many companies will demand a security and cleaning deposit for each unit you win. This is to ensure that you don't just take what you want and leave the storage company and property managers with a huge mess. 

Sometimes the security deposit is about $50 per unit, but it usually scales with the size of the unit. Make sure you bring some back-up cash, because many property managers won't release your gate code to get into the unit until you pay a full security deposit. 

The other thing you want to keep in mind before heading out to a local storage auction is that most self storage facilities do not have lights inside the units. This means that you're going to have a hard time seeing into the back of the auction unit unless you bring something to remedy this! Most auction hunters like to bring a high-powered flashlight along with them - the kind that you hold by its handle and that has power sufficient to illuminate a smal forest. 

These handheld torches can prove invaluable. Many a last minute bid decision is made because an auction attendee was able to use their flashlight to see something of great value hiding in the rear of the repossessed storage locker. This crucial information can help you to decide whether or not it's worth it to pull the trigger on a repossessed storage locker that you're considering buying. 

Most every unit larger than a 5x10 (that's 5 feet wide and 10 feet deep) is almost impossible to see clearly without the help of a powerful flashlight. Do yourself a favor and make sure you have one on hand. 

Surprisingly, one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of buying up storage units and making money off them is hauling away all your spoils! Many beginning auction hunters will show up with their cash and flashlight, bid on and win a large garage-sized unit, and then have absolutely no means of transporting their winnings home, all while the clock begins to tick on their time limit to empty the storage unit!

This can be easily avoided if you plunk down the $29 or so for a daily van rental or convince one of your buddies with a truck to accompany you and share in the winnings. If you have a normal car or truck with a trailer attached, that will work, too. You just want to make sure you can quickly and efficiently empty your repossessed storage locker and get all your new goodies home so you can re-sell them. 

Finally, don't forget to be prepared by knowing where you're going before you set out! Professional auction buyers subscribe to premium storage unit auction lists that tell them exactly where and when the next big sales in their area are going down.