Using Storage Auctions to Build Inventory for Your Resale Business

Before you make a bid on a storage unit, it's a good idea to have a plan for selling the items you get. Although you can certainly make a living off of auctions, you can only do so if you have a plan for turning your items into cash. If you don't know how or where you're going to sell what you win at auction, you're bound to lose a lot of money and accrue a lot of items that will need to be stored.

Part of the appeal of auction hunting is the thrill of finding something interesting or valuable. People go “treasure hunting” in lots of places, from estate sales to pawn shops, and you can tap into that excitement to generate a profit for yourself and sell off the items you win at an auction. Rather than viewing the items you get as winnings, think of them as merchandise that can build the inventory of a new business.

From flea market veterans to thrift store owners, getting low-cost inventory from an auction is a great way to fill your shelves and attract treasure-seeking shoppers.  When you're using auctions as a way to build inventory for a bigger business plan, there are several things you should keep in mind:

  • Keep an eye out for things that will sell quickly and easily. Instead of holding out for big, rare items, think of things that are always in demand like sturdy furniture, clean toys and clothes. You won't make a huge profit on these types of items, but you will be able to sell them quickly.
  • Consider opening a niche store. This works especially well online. Pick one type of item that you're relatively familiar with, like holiday decorations or oak furniture, and build your business around that. Other items can be sold on the side for extra money. Focusing on a narrow niche like this helps you become an expert at spotting good deals that others might not see, and it will build you a reputation as the “go-to” person for buyers.
  • Start your business on a small scale. You don't want to run out and lease a building just to fill up the shelves with things you've bought at auction. You need to build the business slowly. Start off online, then branch out to yard sales and flea markets. Try to forge connections with private collectors, antique dealers and others who might be interested in buying what you have to sell. That way, you can contact them directly when you do find something good, and you'll have an instant and easy profit.

If you want to buy storage units and sell the contents as a hobby, that's great. If you're looking for a way to make a real full-time job out of it, though, you'll need to approach it like any other job and make a business plan. By doing your planning in advance and knowing how to convert your finds into sales, you can start making real profits.

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