When you get into the storage bidding business, you can be competing with dozens, sometimes hundreds of other bidders for only a few units. In order to make the most of your opportunity to profit from a winning bid, you need to be knowledgeable about not only the items themselves but how to determine what may be hidden in each unit before you even begin the bidding process.
This includes being prepared with a plan of action, capital, a bidding strategy, and knowing what to look for in every storage unit.
Here are a few steps to follow and things to consider to maximize your profit margin:
Locate Worthwhile Storage Auctions
You are likely to have multiple auctions happening in your area on any given day, so choosing the one that will give you the opportunity to make the most profit out of your time is crucial. Visiting them individually can be time-consuming, so choose them from a storage auction list that is available online. Check out their website first which should list the auction dates. You can then get an idea of their regularly scheduled auction times, and plan accordingly.
Create a Plan
Not only does the actual scheduling of each auction in your daily planner need to happen, but the pre-planning stages of what to do with the items once you have won your bid needs to be taken into consideration. Figure out how you will transport the storage contents from the site and if you will pay someone to help you with this in anticipation of larger items that you can’t move alone. This includes the cost of renting a vehicle or trailer.
Take a financial inventory of what is within your means to bid. Know what your capital threshold is and stick to it. Consistently bidding over your financial means will cut your profit margin more and more, leading to no profit at all. Consistently set your bidding boundaries and stick to them.
What Should I Look For?
Most every storage auction begins with the auctioneer giving the bidders an opportunity to view the contents of each unit. This is your opportunity to get a feel for what the items are actually worth and how to properly bid. These are some of the things you should be typically looking for if any items inside could possibly hold any value:
The importance of this cannot be measured whether you live in an area where the climate is exceedingly humid all year or varied between extreme heat and cold. When people store valuables, they often don’t take into consideration the damage that weather conditions may have on paper items like comic books and sports card, or metal objects for oxidation from extreme moisture. Climate control alleviates these issues.
Overall Quality of Visible Items
Don’t try to guess what may be in the boxes in a storage unit; instead, make a determination by observing any items that are not in boxes. If you see one or two things that are definitely antique quality, then the odds are there are more contained in the boxes as well. But, if you see a whole lot of piles of rusty junk, then the boxes will probably contain more of the same.
Professional Moving Boxes
When people take the time to hire a professional moving company, it usually means that they have items that take greater care to move and so must be of greater value. Not many people will pay money to move furniture they have already bought second hand or hand-me-down appliances.
If you observe them in a storage unit, it could be mean you are looking at quite valuable contents. An even layer of dust on all the contents usually tells a bidder that the storage unit has been left undisturbed for a long time. If there is a smattering of open boxes among untouched ones, then more than likely anything of value has already been removed from the unit.
Know Your “Junk”
What may look like junk to an untrained eye is actually a goldmine to someone who knows what they are looking at and how much it is worth. Many people store what appears to be garbage in their storage units and are actually objects that can be turned into scrap yards for cash. Anything that looks like copper, steel, coils of electrical wire that may contain copper or other precious metals, and boxes of random metal were probably collected for a reason. Become familiar with what the going rate is for scrap metal in your area and how to identify it.
Know When to Pass
Use your best judgment when you are making a decision to bid on a storage unit. Don’t always feel like you are going to be missing out on the find of the century just because you are listening to the buzz from the other bidders about the unit. They may be trying to persuade others to bid on it and waste their money so they can reap the profits from other units in the auction that are yet unseen. So, have confidence in what you observe when the unit is opened, and focus on what your intuition is telling you as opposed to what you are hearing from other bidders.
Reselling the Items
Once you have made all the right decisions about bidding and found your treasures, you need to follow your plan through with selling techniques that maximize your bottom line. You can choose one of the following means of reselling or do several of these on a regular basis:
• Open your own store
• Use a third-party seller (consignment shop)
• Sell online only (eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace among others)
• Yard sale
• Flea Markets
There are several other means to sell individual items that you can explore depending upon the value of an item and what the item actually is since there may be specific buyers that collect certain things.