Research is a critical step in planning your storage auction bidding. Many people go to storage unit auctions and leave disappointed. Sometimes, the units up for auction contain nothing of value, and the prospective bidder has wasted their time driving to an auction with no items that can be sold. An even worse scenario is when a bidder goes to an undesirable auction and pays way more than the resale value of the bin's contents. You can avoid these unfortified mishaps by simply doing basic internet research.
An important factor in deciding whether or not an auction is worth your time and money depends on the storage unit's location. Research the median household income of any region that a prospective storage auction takes place. Focusing on territories with higher median household incomes will always yield better results, because the residents of that territory have more freedom to buy higher valued things.
Citydata.com is an excellent tool for those that bid on storage bins. You must always remember that the items found at storage auctions were bought and forsaken by someone else, so collecting data on the storage facility's area is always a good idea. By simply typing in the city and state of a particular storage auction, you can obtain valuable information on the people that use the storage facility. It does not take long to collect the necessary information to make an informed decision. Avoid areas with lower than average annual income, and you will be less likely to waste time and money going to auctions that will not yield a profit. You can also get "heat maps" of certain areas, with different colors indicating income level.
These tools can help you visualize where the real money and best auctions are located, and can help you plan a trip if you want to buy bins from multiple auctions. Hotpads.com is a website that allows you to search for apartments given certain search criteria. I have found through experience that their heat map is very comprehensive and especially useful if I am planning on going to multiple auctions in a short period of time.
To use the income level heat map, simply click on the map in the center of their home page. Type the city, county or state you are researching in the search field. Move your mouse over the "heat map" option in the upper left hand corner of the map, and a list will drop. Select "household income" or "per capita income;" Either of these options will give you an idea of the wealth of a particular area. The map will take a second to load, but once it loads, the different zones should be color coordinated, ranging from blue to red. Red indicates a high income territory, while blue indicates a low income territory. See the color map legend in the bottom left hand corner of your screen. You can also add city, state or county labels by moving your mouse over the "Area Labels" section and selecting the desired area label.
There is also a website that has an extensive listing of every storage auction in the country. Storageunitauctionlist.com has thousands of relevant auction listings every month, and is very inexpensive. These tools can help you do the research needed to successfully compete in the storage auction industry.