How Online Storage Auctions Work: Your Guide To Great Deals

You possibly know about self-storage. But, are you aware of storage for auction?

Online auction is the latest best thing from the self-storage industry. Self-storage unit auctions occur when storage renters refuse to pay their rent on time. After one month overdue, storage centers can then place a lien on the items in the tenant’s unpaid container.

The renter will be locked out of the unit by the store owner so they can’t take away their belongings without making the past payments. Whether you’ve witnessed to a storage auctioning show or read a local listing, you possibly have some idea about the activities at a storage auction. But if there’s a chance that you don’t, we are here for you.

No matter the category you belong to, first try to find out how storage auctions work and how you can prepare to attend a self-storage auction for the first time and get a good deal. We will discuss all these and other things you need to know regarding online storage auctions.

How Online Storage Auctions Work: Your Guide To Great Deals

In this article

What are Online Storage Auctions?

An online storage auction is any action that involves a violation of self-storage unit policy. Typically, tenants fail to pay their balance up to date or leave stuff behind, leading to delinquency. Every state requires a specific duration of delinquent time before auctioning the unit, usually within 30 to 90 days.

Auctioning is then performed on delinquent storage units to the highest bidder to get back the rental fees the renter failed to pay.

All goods are sold in the bundle as the whole unit, not sold one by one. You have greater chances of making a huge profit with the bulk pricing of the contents, thus bringing huge crowds to take part.

How do Storage Unit Auctions work?

Before starting the auction, attendees are first to read the rules of the auction provided by the company. Bidders are then allowed to peruse the items from the units being auctioned off, normally by looking directly through the entrance of the storage unit and noting down the contents.

After the bidders are done with unit examination, the live auction starts, and the storage contents within the unit are sold in bulk to the highest bidder.

Contrary to most auctions, when a bid is in place for a particular item, storage unit auction bidders are only allowed to bid on the whole contents of the unit. No matter the website you select for that first bid, there is no difference in online storage auctions all over.

When you start searching for the first time, there are few things you will discover about every unit listing immediately. These include:

  • A set of photos: There will be a photo of the storage unit on each listing or maybe a few pictures based on the contents inside. Remember that full storage units will have contents you can’t see. This is why the careful reading of the listing is very important before biding.
  • A time limit: Every auction will last for a specific amount of time. This time duration varies based on the website and the storage company’s decision.
  • Description: There will be a description of what is included in the listing on each unit. The storage company holding the auction will make sure it communicates an accurate display of what’s in the unit.
  • Location: The location of the storage unit will be indicated with the name of the company. Working hours of the storage company will also be listed by some websites so you can make sure of the pick-up.
  • Pick-up time limit: You have a certain duration of time to remove your items from the storage unit. This will vary based on the storage unit provider and most are just 48 to 72 hours from purchase.

Making sure a Storage Auction is Successful

Learn the process: Observe the first auction you attend from the sidelines. Before you begin to bid auctions regularly, try to learn the process from people who have experience. This will make sure you know what you should do and not do when you are prepared to start bidding at your next storage auction.

Set a budget: Similar to most things in life, limiting yourself is probably a wise thing to do. Before you attend an auction, plan a budget that will enable you to control your spending. If your finance is not enough to accommodate participation in an auction, just save up for the next auctioning event scheduled in your area.

Find a mentor: If you are looking to dive into auctioning the more, try to find yourself a mentor that is willing to share their bidding experiences and secrets with you. It will also be beneficial to make new friends with those that regularly attend storage auctions.

Don’t have much expectation: Unlike what most people believe, you can not find anything extraordinary in any storage unit you buy. Make sure you spend a reasonable amount on the unit, you are not sure of what you are buying until you beat your bidding competition.

Know what you are looking for: Before you join in an auction, know in advance the kinds of stuff you would like to buy from the auction. This will help determine the unit to bid on, if there are many, help make sure you save money on units that lack what you may be looking for.

Determine a method that works for you: immediately you are present at a few storage auctions, try to come up with a list of methods that have been effective for you. Your list may be different from yours, but be sure to hold on to what brings you success.

Where To Find Storage Auction In Your Area

To begin with your first online storage auction, you first need to find the nearest auction to you. Do that by trying out these few methods. First, you can check a few of the best online storage auction sites like:

1. Locker Fox

This is an online storage auction website that allows you to find auctions closer to you by supplying your zip codes and a distance range (in miles). Just supply your zip code, register for an account, and begin to bid.

2. com

This website enables you to search using your location or by making use of the ‘auction near me’ tool. Begin by searching with your location (zip code). Then, register for an account and locate an auction to start your bidding.


This is one other online storage auction website that enables you to search for an auction in your area. Registration of an account is also necessary to start bid.

Apart from the options above, you can type the keyword ‘online storage auctions in my area’ into Google to see the results from the search engine.

Know the Rules of Your Storage Auction

Storage auctions normally have a set of rules that are not often popularly known. Before you start your first storage auction at a storage facility, there are some rules you need to know and that will possibly apply to any self-storage facility you visit. Here are the rules:

  • Bidders bid on the entire contents of the whole storage unit, not based on each item.
  • Each unit’s auction is open as there are no sealed bids.
  • The storage unit is sold to the highest bidder.
  • Cash payment must be paid for the winning bid.
  • A deposit may be required by the website at their discretion until the unit is empty.
  • The winner buyer is normally given 24 – 48 hours to empty the unit or rent it under his or her name.
  • Vehicles are normally sold for parts only; there is no title obtained to give the winning buyer.
  • The buyer must return personal stuff like photos, tax records, legal documents, and identification to the storage facility so that they can be sent to the previous renter.
  • Any firearms in the storage unit must be released to local law authorities.

The Advantages of Online Self-Storage Auctions

Because the popularity of online storage auctions has increased in recent years, it’s no more surprising that technology is providing new ways of connecting online storage unit auctions and bidders.

This is similar to the growth of internet technology which includes the introduction of tablets and smartphones.

Internet auction platforms imply that people can now make bidding of items from the comfort of their room without having to go around crowded storage units.

Lately, people are more familiar with scouting out deals online. Virtual storage auctions are the same. Also, online storage auctions can usually earn double as many onsite auctions for sellers.

So, what are the advantages of an online auction for normal buyers?

1. Convenience:

You won’t be wasting your time or gas to travel to several locations, you just remain in your favorite spot and open up an application or web browser on your computerized devices.

All you will be doing is just click. When the exact process of choosing and buying can be performed at any location, you have enough free time to research more units.

2. More choice:

Online storage auctions allow participants to quickly scout through numerous auctions holding in a local area and more.

This offers a great overview of options rather than making multiple trips around locations. This enables you to save money on fuel and prevent time-wasting with auctions that don’t have what you need.

3. No crowds:

Any kind of auction can be a rough and tiring event. This is so much true with storage units and garage auctions. There is no need to manually go through the contents of a storage unit with others looking to buy from the same unit during an online storage auction. This has more benefits for bidders and bargain hunters who are disabled or elderly.

4. Fewer time restrictions:

Online storage auctions can be on for weeks at a time and are available 24/7 until its pronounced end date, giving bidders enough time to bid at any time they wish.

Traditional storage auctions are only open for limited hours per day which can be tough for some people to attend, because of work or family issues. The online auction allows everyone to submit their bids right from their desired location.

5. Cheaper:

During a traditional auction, prices can increase within seconds as people make effort to outbid each other. There’s a particular rivalry when you are physically present with fellow bidders.

A virtual auction eliminates all that rush and anxiety, which allows accurate, calculated bidding over a stretched duration of time. This ensures cheaper total prices and better deals.

Bidding for the First Time?

Are you set to place your first bid? First, select a website or online platform to begin. Most websites, such as the ones mentioned above, asked that you register an account before bidding. After doing that, you’re set to go. Before you check out the facility, below are a few tips to remember:

  • Call first: Call the storage center to inform them of when you are coming. Be sure you are there before the agreed time expires.
  • Bring some tools: You should come with trash bags, gloves, and other cleaning materials to assist you to move your stuff. Boxes are ideal tools as well.
  • Come with a truck or trailer: You will have much stuff to pack and move with you. Ensure you travel with a moving truck or trailer with many spaces.
  • Come with a lock: If you have to leave and come back later, you need a lock for your unit.

Pro Tip

Ensure you quickly pay for your unit. You’ll forfeit your unit if you fail to pay on time. Before bidding, ensure you can reach the location and pick your belongings up in the time given.


Online storage auctions are a nice way to get some great deals without being present at a physical location. A lot of currents and upcoming storage unit listings is available on legal notice postings in local and state newspapers. Some people contact cheapest storage unit companies directly when buying storage units, either by calling the company or through their website to ask of the next abortions.

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