Storage-Auction-HuntersStorage auctions have been going on for as long as self-storage facilities have existed, but they’ve only come into public knowledge within the last few years.

Thanks to the popularity of shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters, people all over the country are learning about the industry.

While the attention is great in some regards, it’s also left a lot of newcomers with some unrealistic expectations about what they can get out of this type of business.

Here’s the reality:

  • Storage auctions won’t make you instant riches.
  • You’ll get dirty and sore from cleaning out storage units.
  • You’ll make slim profits or even lose money on the majority of the lots you bid on.
  • Your chance of finding a rare treasure hidden in the unit is much lower than it seems on TV.

Now that you’ve got a more realistic idea of what the job is like, you might be wondering if it’s really possible to make this a full-time job; and the answer is absolutely. You just need to approach it with the right attitude.

Here are some tips:

  1. You’re running a business, not winning the lottery. Don’t hold out hope for a great hidden treasure or rare item. That sort of discovery does happen, and it makes for great TV, but it’s not how you grow your business. Instead, focus on picking items that you know you can sell for a profit, even if the profit margins are narrow.
  2. Use your findings to feed a larger business plan. Even if you find something really great in the unit, you’re not going to be able to convert it into money unless you know how to sell it. Whether you’re going to use eBay or stock your own booth at the flea market; know before you bid how and where you’ll sell your new inventory.
  3. You’ll need money to make money. Bidding on any kind of auction is a gamble, and you might hit a bad streak where your investments don’t pay off. You need to have enough money to cover your operating expenses if your last few units turn out to be a bust.
  4. Bring someone with you. There’s a reason that most of the auction shows have a duo, and it’s not just because it makes the show more exciting. Having someone with you at the auction can help keep you grounded and stop you from making unwise investments. It’s also nice to have an extra set of hands when you’re cleaning out the unit.
  5. Don’t quit your day job. As tempting as it might be to put in your notice at your 9-5 job to become a full-time treasure hunter, it’s not nearly as luxurious as it sounds. Beyond the risks inherent to auction hunting, you need to deal with the other issues of self-employment such as paying taxes and buying health insurance. It’s much less stressful to go to auctions as a lucrative hobby, especially in the beginning.

You’re doing your research, which means you’re already ahead of the game.

Learn as much as you can about the industry before you place your first bid, you can ensure that you’re set up for success.

Please leave your insightful thoughts in the comment box below.