You know what type and size storage unit you need, and you’ve found a self-storage facility at a great location that has just what you want. Time to make a reservation, right? Maybe!
Ask some important questions first. Storage managers are great resources. And remember, nothing beats seeing the storage facility with your own eyes! If you can, take a tour before you lease.
What security measures are in place?
Storage insurance may reimburse you for theft, but some heirlooms are irreplaceable, and your personal safety is more important than anything else. Security is definitely the most important thing you should consider when renting a storage unit. Here are some tips for keeping your belongings secure.
- Drive by the storage facility at night to see how well lit it appears. If you’re renting an indoor storage unit, take a tour and look for brightly lit hallways.
- Look for a storage facility that offers entry gates with personalized access codes. The codes help storage managers keep track of who is visiting the facility.
- Insist on a fully fenced perimeter, which protects self-storage units, as well as vehicles in outdoor storage.
- Ask if surveillance cameras are in use throughout the facility, or just at the main gate.
- Find a facility with an on-site manager for an additional layer of security. A few storage places have managers who live at the facility, and while it’s not essential to have, it’s nice!
- Get an individually alarmed unit for extra security. Ask about availability.
Is the facility clean and free of pests?
Don’t lease a dirty storage unit! Hallways and storage doors should be clean. The inside of your storage unit should be swept and free of pests.
Ask your storage manager how often the facility is treated for pests. Many storage facilities offer monthly pest control treatments for maximum protection from pests.
What are the access hours?
Some facilities offer 24-hour access, but this privilege comes at an additional cost. Typical gate hours are from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
It’s important to note the difference between gate hours and office hours. You may have access to your belongings (gate hours) when the business office is closed. In case of emergencies, it’s also good to know how to contact your storage manager after business hours.
Do you offer climate control?
Temperature extremes and fluctuations in humidity can ruin the belongings you’re paying to store. That makes no sense!
While climate control costs more, it’s worth the price to protect climate-sensitive belongings like furniture, documents, clothing and electronics. Extra Space Storage has a guide to deciding if climate control is right for you.
What are the lease terms?
Look for a flexible month-to-month lease that allows you to move out with little notice. However, if you know you’ll need storage for a longer time, ask about discounts for signing a long-term lease.
How do I make payments?
Paying your bill should be convenient. Ask about online bill payment, or automatic payments. Using automatic payments may protect you from losing your belongings after forgetting to pay your bill.
Do you offer storage insurance?
When you arrive to sign your lease, you’ll probably need government-issued identification and proof of insurance coverage. Many storage facilities require insurance coverage, and they may also offer storage insurance on-site.
Using a storage facility’s short-term storage insurance frees you from worrying about making a claim on your own long-term policy.
Do you have lift access?
If you’re renting a storage unit that’s not on the first floor, ask about the availability of a non-passenger or lift access elevator. The lift access can save valuable time on moving day.
Do you have wide drive aisles?
Make sure the aisles will accommodate your moving truck or other large vehicle.
Do you offer moving carts or other amenities?
Many storage facilities offer moving carts for use at the facility. In addition, some facilities even offer the use of a moving truck (but if you have to rent a truck, read this real story about moving stuff into storage using a Uhaul first)! In many cases, you can also purchase moving supplies like mattress covers, boxes and bubble wrap at the storage facility. And don’t forget about the padlock.
Take the time to conduct this self-storage interview, and you’ll feel more confident on move-in day!
Extra Space Storage has storage facilities in 35 states including Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. To find a storage unit near you visit www.extraspace.com.