Questions About Portable Moving Container Companies (That You Didn’t Know to Ask)

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It’s probably not hard to guess that the portable self-storage business is booming. Those boxes are everywhere. What might not be so well-known is how differently the many players out there operate.

In this spirit, here are some answers to questions you may or may not know to ask, but a lot of “movees” everywhere ask us all the time.

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

Obviously, damage is more likely to occur in some other, less dramatic way while the container is parked somewhere. But regardless of how it gets damaged, it still depends!

If you didn’t purchase coverage (sometimes incorrectly called “insurance”), you may not be covered for anything – and that includes damages to the container. You might be thinking that, say, 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 you ask your portable storage provider about coverage against loss and damage. Not just for your stuff, but for the container itself, as some companies require you purchase coverage for both their stuff and for the container itself. Make sure to ask if you don’t want things left to the whim of floods. Or meteors.

Can I arrange to keep my storage container on my property until I am able to load it up?

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

Are portable storage containers weatherproof?

PODS containers aren’t, though they will say their containers are weather-resistant. Barring a headline 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 you might wanna ask about, especially if you 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. If you’re keeping these things anywhere near woods, far crazier things have happened.

Can my portable storage container be locked?

Of course. It sounds like a silly question, but you may not know that you often have to provide your 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 call and make sure!

American Portable Mini Storage is one company that offers climate-controlled portable storage containers as a mainstay feature.

Can I access my container if the company is keeping it in storage?

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

Anything else I should I ask?

Sure: size of container to get, delivery window questions, and what a good price is are the most obvious. Luckily, you don’t have to be a moving expert. We’ve charted all of that info for you over on Moving101, so you can see all that stuff at a glance.

Plus, you can read what real people who’ve collectively used all the different companies have to say about their moving container experiences.

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6 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Moving Into a Dorm

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Category: College Moves

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Moving to college is a big deal. Take it from me, emotions are running pretty high, you may be nervous, you might have traveled pretty far and you have a lot on your mind.  Mistakes happen. Fortunately, there are several ways to make moving into college a whole lot easier. It won’t take away from all of the emotions of leaving home, but you can at least transition with simplicity, so you’re just prepared to enjoy your new life.

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Every Place You Can Get Free Moving Boxes

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People say there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Well, how about a free box? We hear a lot about those, but where are they?

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Burglaries Inside Storage Units Are Becoming Common, but Can Be Avoided

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[Synopsis: In developing business relationships, quality is just as important as quantity.]

In our very first HireAHelper newsletter (Anyone out there remember?) we raised the idea of making friends with the folks at your local self-storage facility to develop a mutually beneficial business relationship. At any time of the year (and particularly during the busy season when so many people are coming and going) having a solid working situation with your industry colleagues can pay huge dividends.

But it also pays to know who you are shaking hands with. In any industry and profession, you are going to run across some bad eggs. The moving industry is certainly no exception. And neither is the self-storage sector.

Recent events in Independence, MO and Santa Cruz, CA remind us of this.

There in Independence, multiple break-ins of storage units left several customers feeling shaken and unsure of the industry.

“I always thought that if you put your things in something like that you are trusting those people to have security and watch over your stuff,” Hall said. “They just don’t.”

The situation repeated itself in Santa Cruz, CA. Dozens of customers had their valuables rummaged through and stolen, and multiple people were found living inside the storage units. That storage unit was eventually inspected by the city Planning Department and declared a public nuisance, but not before plenty of people got burned.

disclockTips such as not storing more than $5,000 in goods, purchasing insurance and using disc locks are offered when people get victimized. But the onus should ultimately fall on us within the industry for referring quality and safe services, as opposed to consistently pushing for maximum quantity. The latter is how we destroy our brand as an industry.

Business is all about relationships. And success in business is all about successful relationships. Successful relationships, in turn, require integrity and clarity from both sides of that handshake. If you hear there have been issues with a storage area, if you are dubious of your local storage units after seeing them, or if you are simply cramming as many customers into one place of business as possible, consider finding more alternatives.

As we continue down the roads of our own success, picking up people along the way, it’s important to remember to choose our friends – and our allies and business associates – wisely.

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