Storage Auctions 101: How to make money


In life, there are no free rides – and unless you are very lucky, this adage rings especially true for making money by bidding on storage units.

Storage units usually come up for sale when their owners stop paying their storage bills. Storage companies can then auction off the units to recover the debt.

Not all storage units are made equal, however: you have no real guarantee that the contents of the unit you are bidding on is valuable or worthwhile enough for you to sell it off and make a profit.

That’s why preparation is key when it comes to making the right decision on which storage units to buy – you have to educate yourself before jumping in feet first. We have some valuable tips and tricks to help you figure out how to bid on storage units in Australia.

Practice runs

Before actually bidding on a storage unit, follow a few auctions online to see how it works. Get to know the bidding process and system, and watch how they go about their business.

You need both experience and intuition to determine which storage units might make a profit on resale, and you can learn a lot by watching the auctions, look at the content, and see how much they go for.

The more auctions you attend, the better you’ll become at spotting a potential winner.

Game plan

Once you know what to look for, you should develop a game plan.

  • Decide which kinds of items you would like to bid on BEFORE you start, and base your decision on what you think will sell most easily in your area, city, or even online. For example: do you think you can make more money selling furniture at the local market? Or perhaps vintage Christmas ornaments will bring you a pretty penny online? Make sure which items are more likely to sell, and what they can be sold for, and plan your bidding strategy around that.
  • Choose the areas where you bid on storage units carefully: poorer areas are unlikely to store high-value items in storage.

Know the rules

You will need a credit card, and you will need to be a registered bidder in order to place bids on the auctions.

Also, you must be in a position to pick up the contents once your bid is approved, otherwise you might incur additional costs.

There is also a Buyers Premium of 17.5%, so don’t forget to work that into your budget.

Be prepared to come in a truck or vehicle that will easily be able to transport the contents of the lockers you plan to buy – you will probably have to take your haul with you immediately, or clear it within 24 hours, depending on the storage facility.

Determine a good play

How do you know if a storage unit will be a good return on investment?

  • Scan the contents before bidding, look for high-value items (such as furniture and appliances), and brand names on boxes.
  • Note the condition of the unit: are the boxes neatly stacked and whole/ clean, or are they torn, broken or haphazardly scattered?
  • Smell the air: does the storage unit smell funny, like damp or rot, indicating possible water damage?
  • Talk to the auctioneer or storage facility owner: sometimes, they can help with a little bit of information as to the owner of the storage unit up for auction.


You have a truck full of interesting goodies and the urge to make some money… What next?

Ideally, you should have done your research on where to sell what you buy before you started bidding – especially if you’re focusing on specific items. Consider collectors, flea markets, EBay, specialist stores, pawn shops etc.

Also, if you’re unsure of the value of an item, consider getting it appraised by a qualified person – a random trinket might turn out to be worth quite a lot of money.

If you think that you can make money from abandoned storage units, or you wish to recoup your costs, then visit today.