Before I started AuctionsTX.com, I was a full time storage auction buyer. I have proven that you don't need a lot of money to get started in the storage auction business. I began attending self storage auctions with $400 of disposable funds and within a few months I was living off of the income from this business. It's kind of like going to a casino, but if you buy smart and only bid on what you see, you will consistently beat the house.
Most self storage auctions are cash only and you don't have time to go to the ATM after the storage auction is over. Some storage facilities do accept credit cards as a method of payment at their storage auctions. It is a good idea to call the storage facility for the specific terms and conditions of the storage sale. I have heard others say that using a credit card to buy a storage unit at auction is a bad idea. I personally feel that if you are financially responsible and being conservative on your bids, credit cards can be a great tool for getting started in the storage auction business.
If you have plenty of cash, by all means, bring it. Nothing hurts worse than missing out on a great storage unit because you didn't bring enough money with you. I know one storage auction buyer that brings up to twenty five thousand dollars with him to every auction. Is this really necessary? No, but every now and then, when a really incredible storage unit comes along, it works to his advantage.
On a really good day, you might have the opportunity to view 100 or more storage units up for auction. Consider the number of storage units you would like to purchase, and use the following guide to determine the appropriate amount of cash to bring with you every day. Most storage units sell in certain price ranges. Keep in mind, this is just an average. Selling bids do fluctuate depending on the quality & volume of the contents & the number of buyers in attendance.
Most 5x5 & 5x10 storage units sell between $5-$200. Most 10x10 & 10x15 storage units sell between $200-$700. Most 10x20 & 10x30 storage units sell between $700-$1500. Once in a while, a spectacular unit will come along and surpass these figures.
There is a learning curve. Not only will you need to have an idea of what things sell for in a retail environment but you will need to know how much they sell for used. Every storage auction buyer has their own method of determining a storage units value. Here is what has worked well for me: If you only bid on what you can see, then everything that you can't see is pure profit. This strategy works great on larger storage units where there are a lot of boxes or where the contents in the back of the storage unit are obstructed from view.
Another strategy that works well on storage units where a majority of the contents are in plain sight, is to consider the total resale value before the bidding begins. Divide that figure in half and subtract moving, labor & disposal expenses. Once you determine your maximum bid for the storage unit, stick with it. It's quite easy to get caught up in emotional bidding, especially on units that have something in them that you really want.