Self-storage facilities have mushroomed up all over the United States. These niche businesses offer a secure space for storing household or business goods. The units, sometimes called lockers, usually are available in different sizes. Some are as small as 3-by-6 feet or as large as 10-by-20 feet. The storage facility charges rent for each locker and under the terms of the lease, the contents of the locker goes to public auction if the rent remains unpaid after a specified period.
Auction Action – Where and When
Storage facilities don’t usually spend a great deal of money on advertising but often publicize a locker auction in the classified section of local newspapers. Savvy storage auction aficionados visit with the manager of “better” storage unit locations and ask to have their names placed on locker auction “hot” lists. Each person on the list receives an advance notice of a sale via email.
Rules of the Game
Auctioneers will allow you a five-minute inspection period for each locker. Prospective bidders walk along the front entrance of the unit and look at its contents without entering the locker itself. This rule is strictly enforced; no one may touch or move any item in the storage unit.
Storage unit sales fall under the class of “cash only” sales. Auctioneers do not accept credit cards, bank checks, money orders, or debit cards, and expect that buyers will bring along plenty of cash.
You must remove the goods from the storage unit on the day of the sale. You should have proper transportation available to haul away the items you’ve bought.
Arrive about 30 minutes before the start of the auction. Introduce yourself to the auctioneer and meet the members of the auction staff. Make it known that you intend to bid on the locker units of your choice.
The bidding “fever” sometimes causes folks to forget their manners. If you become involved in a bidding showdown, announce your bid clearly, without making rude gestures or noises, and quietly concede when you’re overbid.
Some buyers “cash out” before the entire auction sale is complete and others like to stay for the rest of the sale. The auctioneer will announce where you need to go to pay for your purchases. Whether you leave early or stay late is up to you. Make sure to pay for your purchases before you leave the facility and keep your receipt for tax purposes.
A “thank you” goes a long way in our world today. Make it a point to thank the auctioneer for his services and ask if he has a mailing list for announcing upcoming auction sales. Many auctioneers officiate at multiple locations and are especially pleased to have “repeat” customers in their audience.