Questions About Portable Self-Storage (That Customers Don’t Know to Ask)

Posted in: I'm a Mover, Customer Service, Moving Containers

It’s no secret that the portable self-storage business is booming. What might not be so well-known is how differently the many players out there operate.

Some (if not many) of your container-renting customers will already have their container, their box or their cube already lined up when they call you for help loading it up. If not, they may need some help choosing the right company for their situation. In this spirit, we offer some answers to the questions they may or may not know to ask.

If a meteor pulverizes a PODS container, who is liable for the damage? Will the customer be reimbursed?

It depends. Regardless whether it was a meteor or something less drastic, if you didn’t purchase coverage (sometimes incorrectly called “insurance”), you may not be covered for anything – and that includes the container. You might think that a meteor qualifies as an Act of God and is one of those things you’ll be covered for no matter what. But tell that to the couple from Houston who found out a little too late that the portable storage company they used didn’t offer flood insurance.

It is critical that your customer ask their portable storage provider about coverage against loss and damage. They may have to purchase coverage for both their stuff and for the container itself if they don’t want things left to the whim of floods. Or meteors.

Can the customer arrange to keep their storage container on their property until they are able to load it up?

PODS, like many companies, will tell you that you can keep it there on the driveway as long as the customer wants, as long as they pay. The municipal authorities, however, might not be so accommodating. So make sure they double-check. 

Are portable storage containers weatherproof?

PODS containers aren’t, though they will say their containers are weather-resistant. Barring a Harvey-sized flood, however, they might hold up. On the other hand, Packrat and ABF (with their ReloCube) claim their containers are weatherproof. (Anyone who has owned both water-resistant and waterproof boots will understand that the distinction is important to make.)

Whether containers are fireproof or fire-resistant is another point the customer should ask about. Especially if they live in fire country. Many containers are made of galvanized steel, though some can be aluminum or even plastic. As for SmartBox, they incorporate wood into the interior.

Can a portable storage container be locked?

Of course. It sounds like a silly question – BUT – the customer may have to provide their own padlock. So checking beforehand is anything but silly.

Are portable storage container facilities climate controlled?

It depends. PODS says “many” of their storage facilities are climate controlled. U-Haul says climate-controlled storage is available. Some companies may store their containers outdoors, so tell them to call and make sure! American Portable Mini Storage is one company that offers climate-controlled portable storage containers as a mainstay feature.

Can the customer access their container while it is in storage?

Once again, it depends. PODS says yes, but an appointment is necessary. U-Haul offers 24-hour access to their storage facilities.

Finally, there are a few solid bets a customer will likely know to inquire about before deciding on a portable storage company: size of their containers, delivery window, and price are the most obvious. But our customers aren’t usually moving experts. Mention the above points and you’ll be helping your customer out with more than just the heavy lifting.


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