Cable Storage Auction Shows Change the Way You View the Storage Industry

Mia Iverson | Feb 07, 2011 @ 12:09 PM

Once upon a time there was this little known niche culture known as the self storage auction industry. There was the casually curious, the ones who lost their treasured belongings, and the hard core, full-time auction hunters. But now, thanks to cable network A&E and its breakout new show “Storage Wars,” this niche market has exploded into American homes, hearts, and minds.

So what does that mean for you?

In an early morning post to PR Web, The San Francisco Chronicle shared that a whopping 1.2 million individual units go up to auction each year. That’s on average 12,000 auctions per month with 50,000 storage facilities participating nation wide. Now equate that to easily making a, “…four-figure profit per unit purchased,” said Maddison Lake, President of to the San Francisco Chronicle.

On the website, testimonials boast that, “I bought a 1987 Porsche for $1,000 and sold it the next day for $11, 500…” Imagine that!

The economy isn’t where it needs to be, and down trodden Americans looking for a quick buck with little investment can look to this new pastime. When a unit is unpaid, it goes up for auction. With sites like listing all auctions in your area and A&E glorifying the process of buying up a potential goldmine-stash of someone’s goods, how hard could it be to pass up such an opportunity one fine Saturday morning?

Just take a look at known auction addict Glendon Cameron and how he quit his daytime gig to attend auctions full time. In our Q&A, Cameron does comment on the work that goes on during a storage auction. He warned, “It’s not for everyone. It’s not easy and it’s a lot of hard work, but if you put in your time and money into it, you can make money. How much? It depends on a lot. It depends on what city you are in. It depends on your access to auctions. I’ve met guys from California who are just going crazy. There’s like an auction somewhere in California nearly every day – six days a week and sometimes they have them on Sunday.”

And if watching “Storage Wars” isn’t enough, over on Spike they have “Auction Hunters.” Or better yet, why don’t you hop off that sofa and attend one yourself. Even if you don’t want to buy a unit, the process is entertaining in itself.

So there you have it. What was once some obscure idea within the self storage industry, it has not exploded into common practice.

Just remember to pay off your unit monthly folks. You don’t want to lose your grandma’s ashes or that awesome statue of Elvis you’ve been hiding from the public eye.