There are two different ways to buy contents in a storage unit: online or in-person.
Both have their pros and cons, but they’re very different from one another.
Live storage auctions mean you show up to the storage site in person and bid on the spot. You will most likely take the contents of the unit home with you that day.
Online storage auctions are when you bid online for a storage unit. You will need to arrange a time to clear out the unit, usually within 48 or 72 hours of winning. You may want to pick up some tips for online storage auctions.
In this article, we’ll go over the differences between live storage auctions and online storage auctions:
1. Both can suspend your privileges, but suspension from online storage auction sites can have longer lasting effects: Online storage auction sites are very particular. If you don’t follow the rules, say for example you don’t clean out your unit after winning, you can lose your cleaning deposit fee AND get your privileges suspended. Because you’re bidding on a storage unit that might be part of a larger chain, this can affect your bidding privileges at multiple storage facility in your area. With a live storage auction, if you break their rules, typically this will only affect the one location. Bottom line: If you bid for storage units online, it is VERY important to follow the rules. With more storage facilities going online every month, it could have detrimental effects for your profits. We also recommend bidding on a storage unit nearby. Sometimes challenges can spring up with picking up contents far away—like you’re unable to get there or your designated pick-up person falls through. When you purchase a unit close by, it is much simpler to pick up quickly.
2. Bidding online means you need to set reminders or stay close to the computer: Just like when you lose a bid on Ebay, the same thing can happen on storage auction sites. At Lockerfox, we have a feature allowing you to subscribe to reminder emails or texts before a bid closes. This can help you stay on top of a unit you’re bidding on or are watching. Bottom line: Bidding online requires a little more attention if you want to win units.
3. Online storage auction sites have big payoffs, but are slightly more complex: As soon as you win an online storage auction, you will need to call the facility where you won the unit and arrange a time to pick up the contents. Not doing this in a timely manner can cause issues with your win, including cancelling it or taking away your future bidding privileges. At live storage auctions, you are already there, which means you can pay on the spot and clear out your unit immediately. Bottom line: If you purchase a storage unit online, it’s important that you are in communication with the facility manager immediately in order to avoid negative consequences.
4. Live auctions require you to be there; online storage auctions allow for freedom: While live, in-person storage unit auctions have less steps involved, they don’t allow for the freedom of bidding on storage units all over your area at the same time. Bidding in your local area means you have limited options. Some areas might only have a handful of storage units to choose from. With online storage auction sites, you may have hundreds of storage units to choose from (if you’re able to travel, see bullet #1). Your possibilities for profits are limitless, and it’s always exciting to see what opportunities pop up.
5. Online storage auction sites allow you to bid on multiple units at once: An exciting feature of online storage unit bidding is that you can maximize your profits by bidding on multiple units at once. However, we strongly recommend you don’t get in over your head. If you win multiple bids and have to clear out multiple storage unit across many miles and don’t have the man/woman power to do it, then you’re at risk of losing your privileges. Bottom line: Make sure you have the time, money and labor to clear out multiple units.
Storage auctions sites like Lockerfox are a great way to enter the storage auction bidding game, or to expand on an already established business making money on storage units.
For more helpful information on successful storage bidding, check out our article on 3 Tips for Bidding on Online Storage Auctions.