Some storage facilities choose to hold onto their units for several months and hold a few large auctions per year. Others want to have their units emptied as quickly as possible, so they hold auctions on a monthly or as-needed basis. This means that, depending on the size of the facility and how many delinquent tenants it might have had, any given auction could be quite small.
When you find a notice of an upcoming storage auction, you'll be able to see quickly how many units are up for sale. You'll then have a choice: Do you bother with the small auction, or do you only attend the larger storage auctions? There's pros and cons to each method, so putting some thought into it will help you make the right choice for your needs.
Benefits to Small Storage Auctions:
Less competition. Since fewer people will be there, you don't have to deal with crowds or over-eager newbies. Most people won't bother with small auctions, which means you might have first pick of anything good you find.
Lower prices. Since there are fewer people competing with you at a small auction, the units typically sell for less. You might be able to get the unit for next to nothing if the other bidders aren't interested in it.
More time to talk with the facility manager. A smaller auction is likely to have a more relaxed atmosphere, which gives you more time to chat with the facility manager, auctioneer and other people who might be full of useful information about upcoming auctions. This networking opportunity might make a trip worthwhile even if nothing good is found.
You won't be tempted to buy more units than you can deal with. Attending small auctions can be a good idea if you're just starting out or have a limited budget. Since only one or two units will be available, you won't be able to load up on a half-dozen units and then get completely overwhelmed.
Drawbacks to Small Storage Auctions:
You might not find anything. Since only a small percentage of storage units have valuable contents, the units at a small auction may not fall into that category.
You might waste gas and time. If you're attending multiple small auctions in one day, you might strike out on all of them. If you'll be visiting just one auction, that's still gas and time you would otherwise not have spent.
You could miss out on a better auction. If you're at a small auction, you might miss a larger auction happening elsewhere, and that one could have some better opportunities.
Overall, the question of whether to attend a small storage auction depends on how much time and resources you have available and how willing you are to gamble. While there's no guarantees that visiting the smaller auction will pay off, there's also never any guarantee that a larger auction will yield any better results. Considering the pros and cons and taking a calculated risk might just pay off.
So which do you prefer: large auctions with lots of units and lots of people or smaller auctions with only a few units and a few people? Leave your interesting and creative responses in the comments section below.