Excitedly, we watched the time tick down on a few online storage units being auctioned on ibid4storage.com. The facility was really close to our house, and we were interested in one particular unit: a big room with nothing but a large wooden bed frame in it.
It looked complete, but you’re always taking a gamble with online auctions because the facility managers don’t usually take the best pictures. We figured even if it was slightly damaged, and even if it was a cheaper brand, we’d had good luck selling bed frames in the past and thought we had at least a $100 flip if we could get the unit cheap.
And we did: the lack of mystery in that unit shelved all but one other bidder, and we scooped the bed frame unit for a measly twenty bucks.
Imagine our delight when the unit was opened and we discovered it was a high-end designer bed frame, complete with under-bed storage units and all the bits and pieces to make it complete. Retail, this thing sold for $2,000, and this one was like new.
Determined to get a quick flip, we put an ad on Craigslist without even removing the frame from the unit, and sold it in front of the facility later that day for $480.
For those of your following along, that’s a 2400% return on investment! Not bad for about an hour’s work.
How Online Storage Auctions are Different
Online storage auctions aren’t a hit every time, but they’re fun because you get a lot more time to look at the unit than you do at a live auction. You can choose a bidding strategy, wait, check the pictures again, watch the bidding, change your strategy, rinse, repeat.
But online auctions typically last a few days, and it’s sometimes hard not to obsessively check the auction, squint and peer at the pictures, and strategize about who else might be bidding. That’s one drawback of having so much time to decide on a unit: you might spend several hours looking at a unit you don’t even buy…and that’s a huge waste of time!
If you want to do well with online storage auctions, here are a few best practices to keep in mind.
- Look closely at the pictures, and check them a few times to see if you missed anything
- Research the items you can see to estimate their value
- Keep an eye on the bidding strategies of regular buyers
- Pay promptly and empty your locker fast
- Get too caught up in the potential of what you can’t see. Bid smart.
- Decide not to pay after winning a locker. If you have buyer’s remorse, the unit is still your responsibility.
- Spend too many hours analyzing pictures
Remember, the most plain-looking lockers can bring pretty good profits. Just because there aren’t twenty mystery boxes in the unit, and just because you don’t find the elusive gold jewelry you dream about, doesn’t mean you can’t make pretty good money with online storage auctions. Good luck – and don’t forget to download our free report on the Top 10 Most Resellable Brands to get a jumpstart on your selling.
Got any questions about online storage auctions? Ask us anything in the comments below!