Chapter 4: Winning Your Locker

Now we’ve reached the exciting part: bidding on the locker! This is where all your hard work will pay off. Or get swept away in the fever of auction bidding. We will do our best to give you all the tools you need to win the locker you want for the price you want. But it is up to you to ensure that you don’t let emotions carry you away along with your forgotten riches.

Before bidding on any unit, take the time to attend a couple of auctions without bidding. Bring a notebook and write down what you would pay for the unit, how much you think it will go for, and what it ended up going fetching. If you can, find out what kind of buyer won the auction. Ask questions politely and respectfully. Many people have been attending auctions for years and years. A new person on the scene is just another competitor. However, if you treat them with respect, you will probably get some helpful advice. They’ve been the newbie on the block too and know just how hard it can be to succeed. Be prepared to lose money on the first few units you buy. It will take time to get the hang of quickly assessing a unit, bidding appropriately, and maximising your profit from the unit. Just make sure you don’t lose too much money at the start!

If you can arrive to the auction site early, take the time to wander around and ask some questions of the staff. It might give you some insider information.

Bidding can get fast and furious in a heart beat and it’s easy to find yourself lost and confused as to where a bid is at, whose bidding, and even what the auctioneer is saying. Stay calm. Keep your emotions as out of the bidding as much as possible and be business-like in your approach. There are a lot of mind games involved in auction bidding and the calmer and more detached you are, the greater your chance of winning.

Let’s get started!

  • The auctioneer is going to throw out a number. If you want thelocker you have two options at this point. You can ignore this initial offer and see if the opening bid can start lower, or you can throw out a much higher number.
  • By ignoring the first bid, you’re hoping to get the initial offer lowered. This doesn’t mean you’ll get the unit for less than the first number the auctioneer called, but it sends a signal that you aren’t too keen on the unit. Use this strategy if you are not 100% sure on a unit or want it, but only for a certain dollar.
  • Throwing out a strong, high bid will tell the other bidders “I am here to win this locker, no matter the cost!” If you don’t want to miss out on the unit, try following this strategy. Aggressive bidding can scare other bidders off, leaving you with the winning bid.
  • When you want to enter the bidding, make eye contact with auctioneer, throw your hand up and yell “Here!” or “Yo!”. Once the auctioneer sees you’re interested, he/she will keep looking to you to see if you want to up the bid. This is where mistakes can be made. Keep your bidding signals clear and otherwise stay still. Yes, it does happen that a bid signal is misread so please be respectful of the auctioneer and be clear and still.
  • Watch where the bid is at and who it is with. Do you know that your fellow bidder is an aggressive bidder? Some people simply want to win, no matter the cost. Try to not get into a bidding war with these types of bidders. It will only cost you money. If you feel there are a lot of half-interested bidders, start raising the bid. This will chase any non-serious bidders off and make it a lot easier for you to see who your competition is.
  • Another strategy to try is waiting until the bidding is almost complete and then enter the bidding. After a long, drawn out war with another competitor, bidders can be discouraged to find someone else is just now willing to enter the fray. They may feel that the unit is going to go for too high a price and just drop out. If you feel that the unit is worth much more than what other people seem to think, give this a shot.
  • You’re bidding and every time you bid the same bidder immediately raises your bid, sometimes before you have even finished calling your bid! What’s going on? And more importantly, what do you do? This is what some refer to as shadow bidding and it can be annoying, frustrating, and more importantly cost you a lot of money. It’s an aggressive style of bidding where one bidder makes it clear that he will always up bid you, no matter the cost. You do have options. You can walk away and let the bidder have the unit. After all, not overpaying is the winning strategy in the long term. You can copy his behaviour and give right back, waiting to see who will blink first. This is how bidding wars start but sometimes you have to stand your ground. Or you can let the price run up and then drop the unit. It’s not the nicest behaviour, but it can make people not want to bid against you.


The best strategy you can implement is to stay within your budget! You’re in storage auctions to get rich, not lose all your money. Remember, stay calm, detached, and observant. This is your path to forgotten riches!

Have you seen Storage Wars? It’s a fun show, and you might even learn something useful!