Asking the Right Questions when Renting a Self-Storage Unit

Perhaps you are travelling for an extended period of time and are looking to rent your house while you are away. Maybe you are renovating your house or moving to a new one. Is your home too cluttered, and you’re looking to free up space? Whatever the reason, if you are looking to rent a self-storage unit, then these are the sorts of questions you should be asking to ensure you set yourself up with the best possible storage unit for your needs. 

Where is the storage facility located?

You should decide in advance how close you need your storage unit. If you are storing items that you need access to on a regular basis, then you are going to want the facility nearby. If you are storing things while you travel, then the proximity of the storage facility to your house is a less pressing issue. So don’t focus strictly on cost: it’s not worth driving an extra half hour every time you need to visit your unit just to save a few bucks every month. 

What is the access to your unit like?

Check with your facility to understand their access hours. Some places lock the doors for the evening or on weekends and/or holidays, and you don’t want to get stuck needing something from storage, but not being able to access it at that time. Try opting for a place that allows 24 hour access, or access hours that work for your own schedule. 

Is the facility/unit climate-controlled?

There are two distinct types of storage units: one that is climate-controlled, and one that isn’t. If you are storing items like musical instruments, antique wood items or paintings, then you are probably in the market for a unit that is climate-controlled. Fluctuations in temperature can damage these sorts of items, and the last thing you need is to store items that are going to come out of storage in worse condition than when they went in. If, on the other hand, you are storing items such as seasonal gardening tools, then an outdoor unit should be appropriate for your needs (and will save you costs). 

How is the facility/unit secured?

When you are investigating various storage facilities, be sure to understand the extent of their security. Look for things that indicate whether your items will be safe: is there an access gate that secures the facility from unwanted visitors, or can any vehicle drive into the facility and have access to the units? Is the facility equipped with proper security cameras?

And not only should your items be safe in storage, but so should you: is the facility well-lit, or is it an uncomfortable situation to be in by yourself? Be sure that your facility is going to keep both you and your storage items safe. 

Is the cost as advertised?

Be certain you understand the cost of your unit before signing on the dotted line. Many self-storage companies promote themselves with discounts and specials, but these often do not last the entire duration of your rental.

If the facility is offering a discount of some sort, be sure to uncover if that discount will last for the length of your use of the unit, or whether it expires at a certain point. These specials often sound like a deal, but be sure that if/when the deal expires, the new cost will not end up being more than you are willing to pay.

Moreover, some facilities will charge additional setup fees or monthly insurance charges: be clear to know whether this is the case with your facility or not before you find yourself in an agreement that doesn’t actually work for you.

What is the storage facility’s service like?

It is always a good idea to investigate a bit into the type of support a storage facility offers. There is no point in getting into a relationship with the company if they are not going to take care of you properly. You do not want to find yourself looking to move everything a second time because you are unsatisfied with the service your facility provides.

Asking current tenants how their experience has been is always the best way to find out whether the facility offers quality service or not. When visiting the facility, there should be no difficulty bumping into another tenant to ask – and most people are willing to offer their experiences without hassle.

Checking online reviews can be helpful as well, but always read a bit more into who the reviewer is before you take their word as gospel. Take a look at any other reviews the reviewer has published: if all they ever say is negative things, then you may want to take their reviews with a grain of salt

And then again, you can try to uncover some of this yourself by simply speaking with the staff at the facility. You don’t need to question them on their service, but trying to get some aid from them as you make your decision should indicate whether or not they are a helpful, friendly and knowledgeable team.

Even calling into the facility to speak with someone should provide some level of indication as to what kind of service they offer their customers. How long did it take for them to answer the phone? Were they able to answer your questions in a helpful manner? Were they polite and understanding?

In the end, you are entering into a long-term relationship with the self-storage facility, so you want to make sure you find one that not only takes care of your storage items, but also takes care of you when you need help or advice.

At Real Storage, we strive to provide our customers with the best possible storage options, security and service possible. We love to answer your questions and solve your storage problems, so let us do that today: contact us here.