I was recently watching an episode of "Storage Wars" in which a newcomer said he was going to quit his job and get into the storage auction business full time. Although his enthusiasm is inspiring, if you are new to the storage auction scene, I don't recommend you make a commitment like this until you have tested the waters. If you are considering getting into the storage auction business, make sure that it is right for you before you change your occupation.
Go to the auctions, buy some units, sell the contents. Repeat this several times and then, if you are still committed after you are familiar with everything, consider making the change. Realize that this business requires a lot of time and physical labor. I'm not trying to discourage you from jumping in, I'm just encouraging you to look before you leap.
The storage auction business is not what it used to be. The bid amounts that you saw on the first season of the reality shows were normal. Due to the influx of new buyers attending storage auctions, bid amounts have doubled if not tripled at some auctions. Don't get me wrong, there are still storage auctions that few others know about at which you can get some great deals. The auctions at these storage facilities are referred to as "honey holes" by the professionals because the crowds are unaware of them. The professionals love these places because when there is less competition at an auction, it increases their chances of buying a quality unit at a good price.
Truth be told, most new buyers lose money because they are paying to much for what they are buying. They are hoping that they will find something valuable hidden in the unit that will make up for their overspending. Most of the time, what you see is what you get. Example: (If you see a jewelry box in a unit, chances are it will be empty. If you pay hundreds more on the hope that it is has jewelry in it, you won't be in this business for long.) Even if the contents of the unit are fairly obvious, you have to know what second hand merchandise sells for and allow room for moving expenses and profit. Remember the #1 rule - only bid on what you can see, set you limit & stick with it. If you follow this rule, you will be successful in the storage auction business.
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How much is the storage auction business affected by the popularity of the reality
shows? Is it still worth being involved?
Adam, that a great question. When this article was first written, the storage auction reality shows were in their prime. New buyers were coming to storage auctions in record numbers and it became difficult to purchase a storage unit at a decent price. Now that the storage auction shows have been on for a while, things have somewhat improved.
Yes, I definitely think the storage auction business is still worth being involved in. Just don’t go into it with the mindset that your going to get rich quick. The storage auction shows were showing some amazing finds in almost every episode. The truth is, you might have to buy a lot of storage units before a really incredible one comes along. Now, I’m not saying that you cant make a profit on every unit, I’m just saying that the dream units like the ones shown on television are less common. This business requires a lot of time and physical labor in order to be successful. However, if you are patient and conservative on your bids, you can make a decent living and have a lot of fun doing it.