Storage Auction Guide for Newbies: Auction Tips


If you’re planning on bidding at a storage unit auction for the first time, you’re probably wondering what to expect. It’s always best to be prepared when trying something new, so I’ve gathered a few bidding tips for you. If you missed it, make sure to check out our post Storage Auction Guide for Newbies: What to Expect  for some general guidelines on preparing for auctions.


To learn more about storage auctions, I recently talked with storage auctioneer Bryan Garbutt of Northeast Storage Auctions. Bryan is a busy, busy man. When he’s not at a storage auction, he’s usually driving to one! He conducts up to seven auctions a day, so he’s seen a thing or two. I gleaned these bidding tips and factoids from our conversation, and I hope you find them useful for bidding at your first storage auction.


Image by Liz Marie
Image by Liz Marie


Become a Wise Storage Auction Buyer 

  • Bidding can sometimes go backwards, and then back up. Don’t be afraid to offer less than the opening bid offered from the auctioneer.
  • Don’t make a bid just for the fun of it. Some people like to bid while assuming they’ll be outbid. Well, that’s a big gamble! Bryan says he often sees people stuck with storage units they didn’t expect to win.


Learn How Much Units Go For  

  • If you really, really want something, get ready to pay for it. With the popular storage auction reality shows on TV, more people than ever attend storage auctions. And, of course, that means you’ll have to shell out more money than you would have before storage auctions became mainstream.
  • It’s not always expensive to win a unit. While one unit that Bryan sold went for $6,500, it’s possible to carry just a couple hundred dollars with you and still walk away with a unit. On average, Bryan sells units for $125 to $200. By the way, that pricey unit that sold for $6,500 contained stainless steel restaurant equipment!
  • Explore the idea of a smelly deal for as little as $1! If a unit emits an odor, many people refuse to bid on it. Will you take the chance to see what’s inside?
  • Smaller storage units may go for more than larger ones. It seems odd that smaller storage units often sell for a higher price than larger ones, but it all comes down to elbow grease. Smaller units attract more buyers because they’re easier to clean after the win.


I hope that these tips have helped you become more confident about your first storage auction experience. According to Bryan, one day as a storage auctioneer is never the same as the next. I’m sure that tidbit also applies to buyers. After all, one auction is never the same as the next, so don’t give up if at first you don’t find what you want!


Is there anything in these storage auction tips that surprised you? If you’re a seasoned storage auction buyer, do you have any tips to add?