There are several factors that can impact your monthly rate at a self-storage facility. When evaluating the rates and amenities offered by potential providers, consider the features available to you, as well as the hidden details that might affect your rate.
The following considerations should be evaluated prior to signing your lease:
- Unit Size
Keep in mind that most facilities measure their units in square feet. In reality, you should also take ceiling height into consideration, as vertical space allows you to stack boxes and other containers. Cubic feet is the most accurate measurement of your storage unit. Be sure that when comparing rates, you are using the same measurements for an apples-to-apples comparison.
- Conventional vs. Climate-Controlled Storage
Traditional storage units, typically appropriate for yard equipment and other items you would store in your garage, do not have HVAC or humidity controls in place to control the environment within the unit. Therefore, if you are storing documents, clothing, furniture or electronics, your items will be susceptible to damage.
If you are storing sensitive items, ask if your unit will be climate-controlled, and what the rates are for this feature. Some facilities today offer climate control as a standard amenity, so keep this in mind if you are comparing a quote for a climate-controlled unit to a quote for a conventional unit.
- Bait and Switch Tactics
Some facilities may quote a low introductory rate, and raise your monthly cost shortly after move-in. Review the lease agreement in detail to determine how long the price is guaranteed, particularly if you are quoted a rate much lower than the competition. If there is an expiration date on the low rate, inquire about the expectations of future increases.
- Location of Unit
Less desirable spaces that are difficult to access or maneuver around are typically available at rates much lower than other units within the facility. To avoid any surprises, ask to see the location of your unit.
Premium areas, such as those with carpeted units and drive-up access, are often more expensive, but are often worth the cost for convenience and cleanliness.
- Prepay Discounts
Many facilities offer discounts to customers who prepay several months or a full year in advance. However, some facilities will then enter you into a binding contract, and will not refund your money if you need to move out early. Discuss the details of the contract with the facility manager to ensure that you will be entitled to a refund if the agreement is terminated before the end date.
Choosing Self Storage Wisely
Chances are, if a rate seems too good to be true, it probably is. To be sure you are satisfied with your storage experience and have been offered a fair lease agreement, conduct a careful inspection of the facility and your individual unit before signing a contract.
Facilities that have premium procedures and equipment in place to maintain a high level of cleanliness and security, and design features to help avoid the impact of natural occurrences — such as floods — will typically come at a slightly higher cost. However, these measures will help to keep your belongings safe and in their original condition, and will give you peace of mind that you are working with the right self-storage provider for your needs.