How Do I Choose a Storage Facility & Unit?

Published on 1/12/2018

Finding the right storage facility / unit is never easy.  Trustworthiness of the storage facility is the most critical factor in the process yet the one that gets the least amount of consideration.  Often times the process includes a simple phone call seeking price and availability or a quick drive by and your off to the races without much more information than that.  After a quick signup, pay the first month’s rent and security deposit, you move in.  However, there are warning signs you should keep an eye on to make sure the relationship with your storage company is a good one!

Talk to the staff or owners and ask questions such as how soon could you move in, how do you lock and secure the unit, what if any are the time restrictions to the unit, is the facility properly lit at night, do they offer renters insurance, etc.  Asking questions about the maintenance and upkeep of the facility are important as well such as, are there any known or potential water damage hazards, is the facility plowed in the winter and will my door entrance be shoveled clean, who do you talk to if there are issues with the unit?

For convenience purposes you should also ask what type of payments are accepted, can the payments be setup to be paid automatically and how best is it to communicate with the facility manager or owner in the event you need to talk to them.  What are the late fees and are there any other fees to know about.  Ask yourself, does the facility appear to be well maintained, is the location convenient, do the folks you’ve talked to appear to be genuinely interested in your business?

If all your questions have been sufficiently answered and you’re still interested in renting a unit then ask for the best possible pricing.  Many times, storage facilities offer discounted rates if you pay several months in advance.  Ask how often it’s been there experience that rent rates have gone up?  You’re almost done with your homework but before you signup there are still a few details to consider, please read on.

What type and size storage unit do I really need?

You may already have an idea of the size storage unit you need but here are a few things to consider.  You may want a unit large enough to not only store your items but have room for you to get inside and do a little work or rearranging.  There are many folks who visit their units from time to time and need to find a box already stored, having a little extra space to move things around can be very handy.  This is when a well-organized unit with boxes that are stackable is a plus.  If you plan on getting the smallest size unit possible and stacking your boxes from one wall to another and form the floor to the ceiling, you’ll be the one who has to empty half the unit every time you want something.  It’s recommended you not be this person.  Consider a unit one size larger, it may be worth the extra cost.  By the way and for what it’s worth the pricing structure of most storage facilities is the larger the unit the less per square foot so ask the question, what is the cost of the next larger sized unit?

How important is the location of the storage facility?

Location is a critical factor and should be towards the top of your priority list but never consider it as the most important.  Combined all questions, thoughts and comments suggested above should be what formulates your decision and location is simply a convenience.  Driving a few extra miles from time to time to gain access to your unit shouldn’t detour you from choosing a facility that has better ratings, conveniences, outside lighting, etc. than one that is closest or even has the lowest price.  It’s your precious belongings that are going to be stored and choosing the facility you’re going to trust to provide the best possible service should be your number one consideration!

Hopefully the above thoughts will help you in making the best possible decision for your storage needs.