Disadvantages of Buying Industrial Shelving at Auctions

Let’s say you are in charge of a warehouse and your company is running out of space. You are now responsible for finding industrial shelving in order to free up space and accommodate more inventory. You have quotes from your regular, trusted suppliers, but then an auction of “foreclosure” items gets your attention. You submit a bid that is lower than what you were quoted, and….Yes! You win the bid, the product is yours! You’re proud of saving the company some money, but wait – there is much more to this story.
The shelving comes in, and that is when you realize that your inexpensive industrial shelving is no bargain at all….

While we understand that the squeezing of budgets to get more done with less dollars is affecting many businesses, there is more to consider than just the price of the warehouse storage system.
It starts with the engineering of the product, so you need to know the detailed specifications of the product you are purchasing…which not available through auction houses and finding that out is a very costly adventure. There will be permit issues that flow from the engineering requirement of safe loading specifications, especially if the factory of origin is not known.
In the end your imagined savings can evaporate very quickly and turn into a substantial cost overrun that would have made the original approved supplier pricing look very attractive.

Although there are a huge number of downsides to buying inexpensive industrial shelving, many buyers are still attracted by the apparent low price that auctions offer. If you truly think that this is the way to go for your company, be aware of these auction mistakes:

Be Aware of Common Industrial Shelving Auction Mistakes

  • What you bid isn’t necessarily what you pay. Sometimes the auction house adds hidden costs or a buyer’s premium of an additional 10-20% on top of your winning bid.
  • If the shelving is in another location, you may be responsible for going there, dismantling it, and transporting it to your factory. And don’t forget taxes and fees!
  • Is everything there? It’s not a good surprise when you find out that some crucial parts are missing. Even worse, the manufacturer is already out of business and you’re stuck with some useless shelving. Ensure you have a physical address for the company and verify if there are reviews of the seller.
  • No recourse. If there is something wrong with the shelving the auction house will simply advise you that everything is sold “as is.” This is the biggest disadvantage when it comes to buying industrial shelving as you are not able to see the condition of the steel and any defects are now your problem.
  • Origin of the material: When you buy shelving through online or live auctions, you never really know where it was made or the exact grade of the steel. Industrial shelving that isn’t up to modern standards may cost more than what you originally budgeted for.

Your decision to buy industrial shelving should not be based on pricing alone. Talk to a well-established supplier of shelving/racking who has also experience in installations. This will help you find out what type of shelving is the most suitable for your location and budget without compromising on quality.