Guest Post: Preparing for an Auction: Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

By Eve Pearce

Nowadays everybody and his dog wants to earn a living from storage auctions. Shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters have created the illusion that it is an easy way to make a fortune. The reality of the situation is a little different though. As any regular auction attendee knows, gaining success within the industry is no walk in the park. What the public fails to understand is that buying and selling at storage auctions is as skilled a job as any other and contains a multitude of pitfalls. One of the main errors that buyers make is failing to adequately plan for an auction. Getting the best results at storage auctions is not simply a matter of turning up and hoping for the best. Here are some of the most common dilemmas that a lack of planning can create.

Not Bringing a Flashlight

The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles compares going to an auction to going to war. It says that the auctioneer should be seen as an enemy because he wants to make you pay above the odds and the other buyers should be viewed in the same light, as there is a possibility that they might bid for things that you are after. As with any soldier going into battle, it is important for you to arm yourself with the necessary equipment that is required in order to defeat the opposing side. In the case of storage auctions, one of the most important items to take along is a flashlight. People who attempt to view storage units without them can often find that it is difficult to see the contents. Leaving your flashlight at home could result in missing out on a bargain. Realistically nobody is going to bid for something that they have not been able to see properly so this is a costly mistake that can severely reduce your options.

Not Fully Cleaning Out the Contents of a Unit

Some buyers purchase a unit only to find that they have inadequate space in their vehicle to transport it away. As a result of this, they leave items behind, which is an easy way of gaining a ban from future auctions. Most storage facilities do not allow buyers to use their dumpsters so there could be no other option available than to make a return journey or risk getting banned.

In order to avoid limiting yourself, it is advisable to get a vehicle with a lot of room in it. It might be worth consulting a guide to affordable cars with large cargo volumes. If you still feel that you lack the funds required in order to get a more spacious vehicle then you might want to consider looking for credit to buy a car that is more suited to your needs. If you are in America then check what options for car finance are available in your state. In the UK, where bargain hunters have also recently become hooked on storage auctions after the success of Storage Wars, those wishing to obtain a larger vehicle could do so by getting car finance deals from a car loan company.

Failing to Bring Enough Padlocks

Buyers who are visiting multiple storage auctions within the same day can sometimes find that they run out of padlocks to secure their goods with whilst they get their cars. Managers’ offices at storage facilities often have locks for sale but what if they have none left? Items can sometimes vanish in the brief period of time that they are left unattended for whilst you fetch your vehicle from where it is parked. It is therefore essential to have an ample supply of locks. A tip is to purchase locks that are colour co-ordinated with the corresponding keys, as there is nothing more frustrating than trying to find the correct key for a padlock whilst the auctioneer is moving on to the next unit.

Do your Homework

Another mistake that people often make is shooting off to the first auction that they hear about without examining what other options are available. It is important to consider what types of items are likely to be in each location and do your homework on the auctions. Find out as much information as you can before deciding which auction to go to. Some trips are likely to be a waste of time and money. Storage facilities in poorer areas can sometimes be good for picking up bargains, as the value of certain items is often overlooked in these places. They are also avoided by some buyers, which means that there will be less competition.

Sticking to a Plan

The problem with some people is that they plan out their strategy for an auction in advance and then fail to stick to it. A common catalyst for this is ego. There is a temptation to become involved in bidding wars with other people but this is playing into the auctioneer’s hands. There is no point making a plan if you are going to totally ignore it. Follow the steps outlined in this guide and adhere rigidly to your plan and you will stand a far greater chance of gaining success within the industry.

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