For years, the storage auction business operated in much the same way: A storage unit would go into default, the property manager would send out legal notices, then it would set up a live auction to sell off the unit’s contents. Traditionally, these auctions were always advertised through local newspapers, with the sales generally being attended by the same group of people week after week. Storage unit auctions were a small, little-known business that made some decent money for the handful of regulars who knew what they were doing.
All of that started to change once the storage auction reality shows opened up a window to this world for anyone who wanted to peek into it. Suddenly, fueled by dreams of found treasures and a desire to beat the recession, scores of new auction hunters flooded local auctions, hoping to replicate the successes they’d seen on TV. In response to this new demand, the storage auction business took off, and technology helped speed along the process.
The Internet has been crucial in the evolution of the storage auction business. Storage facilities began using their websites to advertise upcoming auctions, moving away from print media. Auction listing services started aggregating this information, making it easier than ever to find upcoming sales.
The most dramatic change, however, has been the development of online storage auctions.
These virtual auctions take place over the Internet, following the familiar format of eBay or similar auction sites. Facilities can post photos and descriptions of their for-sale units, allowing interested bidders to view them and bid from the comfort of home. This dramatically widens the audience for any particular sale and is much more convenient for buyers and sellers alike. It also opened up the doors for private sellers to put their own units up for auction, allowing them to pay off their storage bill or simply make some extra money from unwanted items in storage.
Online auctions are great for buyers because they’re convenient. Instead of driving around town to see units that may not even be worth bidding on, you can browse auctions at your convenience throughout your day. You’ll only need to leave the house once you’ve won a unit. These sales are great for sellers, too, since they generally bring in greater profits and are much less of a hassle to put together.
Once the online storage auction revolution was underway, plenty of people have tried to get on the bandwagon by offering web space for these auctions to occur. In most cases, the sites would make their profit by charging fees to buyers or sellers. Others would work on a subscription basis, charging a flat fee per month for the benefit of having access to all of the ongoing sales.
You don’t have to pay a premium to get in on the virtual storage action, however. OnlineStorageAuctions.com is an entirely free service that offers all of the benefits of other sites without the price tag. The site allows you to buy and sell with no additional fees, and it sports a massive community and plenty of auction variety from across the country.
If you’ve never tried your luck with a storage auction before, now is your chance. With mobile bidding available straight from your smart phone, you can literally start buying from anywhere, no matter how busy your schedule may be.
So, what do you think about online storage auctions? Which storage auction format do you prefer, online or live?