Storage Auctions

Storage auctions have increased in popularity over the last decade due to the various TV shows. If a lessee defaults on the payments, the storage facility has the right to legally auction the items in the unit. Dino’s Storage holds auction every month for units in default for non payment or abandonment. There will typically be between 15-25 attendees and while there are regular bidders, we do occasionally have new people that attend our auctions or call to inquire about the auctions. I would like to take this opportunity to share a few of the more common questions that are asked by storage auction attendees.

The most frequent question is, “How many units do you have?” That varies from facility to facility. I typically will have 3-5 units on a monthly basis that default into the auction process, whereas, another of our Des Moines locations rarely has any units for sale. The lessee that has defaulted technically has up to the time of auction to settle their debt and reclaim the unit, so it would be best to call the property the day of the auction and ask the manager how many units they anticipate selling.

Next, we get asked “What size units are you selling?” Again, that varies month to month and most managers will announce the unit size just as the door opens before bidding starts. We have units ranging from 5×5 all the way up to 10×30. And it is hard to judge by size alone until we open the door for you to peak in. I have auctioned a 10×20 unit with only a couple items, then turned around an auctioned a 5×10 that was packed to the brim.

A lot of people will ask, “Do you have anything good today?” This question really is a matter of perception. What I think is “good” might be completely different from what yours is. Or perhaps you are looking for something in particular or have a certain taste in style. I have been a storage manager for 5 years and I have seen many auctions. I have seen buyers come out way ahead and I have also seen buyers bust on a purchase. Since you can not see what is in every box or bag, buying units is often a surprise and you take the good with the bad.

For those of you that have attended a live storage auction or have at the least seen the process on TV, you know that we open the door and give you a few minutes to view that unit without touch anything or going into the unit before the bidding starts. I have had people ask me if we sell individual items out of the unit and that would honestly take all day in most cases, so no, we sell the unit as a whole.

That brings me to the next question, “How long do we have to clean out the unit?” The Des Moines auctions are usually held on the last Friday of the month and we will give the buyer 24 hour access to remove all the items by Monday morning or we will be happy to lease the unit to the buyer if more time is needed.

I try to keep my comments to a minimum during the auction process to ensure everyone is playing on an even field. Of course you will have the regular bidders that come every month and know a little more about bidding, winning and re-selling the units but we also have new bidders or people that just come out to see what storage auctions are all about, but everyone deserves a fair shot at winning a unit. So, if you are a small business owner that buys units regularly or a first time bidder, bring your credit card and try your luck at one of our storage auctions…Happy Bidding!!