You want to win more than just the unit. You can win new friends and helpers too. Pay attention to what is going on around you. You want to win over the auctioneer/storage unit facility owner, other buyers and the units.
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Win With the Auctioneers
The auctioneers and owners are important to win over because they will pay attention to your bidding and be more patient with you when you are trying to make a bid if you build a reputation with them and they have good feelings towards you. Also, the owner may give you more time to get out of a unit or give you a discount on rent if you need to rent the unit for a time.
When you attend your very first auction, determine in your mind to let the first unit or two be won by someone else unless you are the only one there. This gives you a chance to watch how it goes. Cultures (or social habits) are just a tiny bit different everywhere and your local storage auction experience may be different based on where you live. Pay attention to conversations between the people, how they are dressed, if some appear more friendly than others. Watch your body language. Are your arms crossed? You don't want to send a signal that you are not cordial.
Win Friendship With Other Buyers
Get to know the other buyers like yourself. Pay attention to what they normally buy. That information can be useful and save you money. If you are not interested in a unit, but you see something in it that you know another buyer normally likes to find in units, discreetly point it out to him/her. This may cause him/her to bid higher for that unit and will take up some of that buyer's budget so he/she can't bid as high not another unit you may want that day. In return for the favor, he/she may point out items that you like.
Something you will notice as you get to know other buyers is that each person has their own “niche” of certain items they like to buy. Mostly because they have had success in getting money out of these types of items. It will be easier if your niche is not the same as your competitors, but there may be some items you both like and could get into a bidding war. Remember not to go over your budget!
Unlike the Storage Wars show, we find that it is better to be kind to our competition. We offer them a helping hand when they look like they need it and speak kindly to them. We even have some of their phone numbers now and they have helped us in return. There are times that we need something and they find it in one of their units for us. Also, some of them know how many children we have and give us children's clothing and items they find, which saves us money. However, there are some bidders that really are competitive and will bid you up or be rude to you. Treat everyone with respect and the way you want to be treated. That person really doesn't hurt us if we stand firm and do not go over our budgeted amount.
Bid With Integrity
Now, let's talk about bidding and winning the unit! Sometimes, no one else is interested in the unit. If you want it, place a bid for $1.00. You may get it, unless the storage unit owner has a minimum. If you and others are interested, the auctioneer/employee will go back and forth between two to three people until the highest amount is reached, then someone else may bid even higher. To be considerate to other potential buyers and to leave a good impression on the storage unit company for future auctions, always be polite, do not use profanity and do not to take too long in making a decision when bidding.
Politely Get What You Want
If you do not win the auction for that unit, yet you want something in it, make an offer for that item to the new owner. They may accept it and you will have the item you want without the hassle of cleaning out the unit.
Get a Receipt For Tax Purposes
If you do win, you will be asked to pay and fill out some paperwork. Keep in mind that at some businesses you may have to pay sales tax on top of the bid price. This is usually done right at the door where you just won the bid, in our area. You may or may not receive a receipt. If you intend to do this for a business and would likely earn over $400 per year, ask for a receipt for tax purposes. You may be asked to go to the storage unit business office to get one.
Lock It Up
Shut the door to the auctioned unit you won, lock it with your lock and don't lose the key. Write the unit number, address, and code number on your key to that lock on paper or on your cell phone memo, also write the date and time you need to be out of that unit.
Then it's on to the next unit, and the next. If it is a caravan, the employee may give you a list of the addresses and units to be auctioned in order. When the bidding is done at one facility, you follow the group in your own vehicle to the next facility, which may be in another town. The employee will tell you when you need to be out of the unit by. Keep track of all the units you won and locked up.
Learn all about the abandoned storage auction resale business in our book.
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