9 Questions to Ask Your Self-Storage Company

1 Comment(s) | Posted | by Norm Kotoch, Jr. |

You have excess items and need a place to store them—this, you know. What you need to figure out now is how to move these items to a secure location for storage. While you don’t want to get rid of your treasures, you can’t have them taking up space any longer. Does this scenario sound familiar?

As you begin to explore storage options, you’re bound to have questions. You want to make sure that the solution you select has all of the features and benefits you need, without compromise to your items’ long-term preservation.

A great first step is to reach out to local storage facilities of interest and tap into their managers’ areas of expertise. Ask questions about their units and policies to know exactly what you could be getting into, and remove any room for surprise.

Below, we provide 9 questions to help you steer the conversation as you begin the self-storage selection process.

1. What storage unit sizes are available?

Items vary in size, and storage units differ in space to accommodate. Know the size of the items you need to store and the unit options available. A few tips:

  • Options often come described as “10x10” or similar, which may appear confusing at first. In this case and similar, a 10x10 unit simply means that it is 10 feet by 10 feet in size, 100 square feet total and a perfect square.
  • Use knowledge of similar-sized objects to help better visualize storage spaces.  For example, a 10x10 unit is about the same size as a large shed, or the size of a small bedroom. You will want to leave some room between your belongings to move in and out of your unit safely.

2. What security measures are in place for both the facility and specific units?

Security will be tremendously important. Make sure the facility you are interested in is able to answer questions of security, and without hesitation.

Listen for phrases like 24/7 DVR recording, keypad access to gates, security lighting, door alarms, and police access for random patrols.  

3. Have there ever been any break-ins to the facility? If yes, how did they occur, and what steps were taken to correct any oversights?

As you discuss security, ask if there have ever been any incidents. Appreciate honestly; but if an incident is noted, be sure to follow up with additional questions. Find out if measures were taken to prevent a repeat situation from occurring.

4. Are climate-controlled options available?

Many items, including documents, fabrics, furniture and electronics, need to be stored in very specific environments. The wrong temperature or humidity level can lead to the incorrect moisture levels, which can cause damage to items in long-term storage.

Prevent warped, faded or otherwise destroyed items by placing them in the right location. Climate-controlled units provide you with the option to specifically control the conditions of your storage unit.

5. When will I be able to access my storage unit? Are there any restrictions?

Some providers limit access to hours when attendants are available to assist, while others provide 24-hour access at additional cost with a special access code. Know individual policies to avoid being locked out when you may need your items most. 

6. Should a problem arise, or if I need help with my unit outside of office hours, whom can I call direct?

When you store, see if there is a specific point of contact is available to speak with you instead of going back through the general call center hierarchy. Look for personal touches that separate your storage experience from others.

Security Self Storage is proud to offer tenants a 24/7 customer service commitment, for those after hours times when assistance can be needed most.

7. What are my options for insurance? 

While homeowners insurance can protect items you have stored off-site, this might not always be the case. Know the facts. Determine what is definitely covered under another policy, as well as options available to protect items in self-storage.

While impressive security features and a clean facility can go a long way to protect and preserve, the additional measure of self-storage insurance can provide full peace of mind for current and prospective tenants. 

8. What will the lease terms look like? How could I put my items at risk for auction?

As with any contract, read and re-read. Know the requirements to store and keep terms active.

After a period of non-payment, facilities will sometimes put your unit up for auction, selling the items it contains.

9. Do you provide any services to help with the moving and storing process?

The moving and storing process can be just that—a process. Ask the facility if they assist tenants, be it through a truck to help transport your items, or boxes to help you store.

Security Self Storage offers a free moving truck valet service for storage move-ins, with access to one of our expert drivers. Our drivers will drive our moving truck to your home, wait while you load your boxes onto the truck, and then transport your boxes back to our storage facility for you—free of charges for gas, mileage, security deposits, or insurance. 

Have a question to add to the list? Let us know in the comment section below.

Comments

  1. Jade Brunet's avatar
    Jade Brunet
    | Permalink
    Knowing when you will be able to access your storage unit would be a good thing to know before committing. Finding if there is a cost for 24 hour access would also be helpful. My neighbor has some of her belongings in a storage unit right off the freeway and loves how convenient it is to reach.

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