At some point in almost everyone's life, they need to use a storage facility for short- or long-term storage of household or business items. Are all public storage facilities created equal? Heck no. This article focuses on the top 10 items to consider when selecting a place to store you valuable belongings. After all, whatever you are storing must have some meaning or value to you or you wouldn't be keeping it, right?
1. Location: One of the most important factors in considering a storage unit is where it is located. The storage facility should be conveniently located close to major freeways or highways and be somewhere in the vicinity of where you live or work (or in between) for ease of access. If you are moving and need short-term storage, consider the advantages of selecting a site that is closer to your old home or business or closer to the new one.
2. Security: Improvements in technology mean that security should be one of the most important criteria you take into account in selecting where to store your household or business items. The newer storage facilities provide high-tech security systems such as matching your gate access code to you individual storage unit. This means that when you enter the grounds and open the access gate, the same number you use to enter also unlocks your storage unit and then rearms it when you enter your code to exit the facility.
By the way, the most secure facilities should definitely have access gates and tall surrounding fences or walls. Another important security feature is video surveillance that record activity within and around the units. Finally, on-site managers help to ensure that your items are stored safely.
3. Insurance Protection: Most modern public storage facilities have storage insurance available if you do not already have your items covered under your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy. Although there is a small likelihood that you will ever need it, catastrophic and other unforeseen events can happen.
4. Access Hours: Most quality storage facilities limit access to certain hours of the day. You will want to factor this into your decision so you have maximum access to your unit. Ideally, you should be able to access you unit seven days a week from early morning until well after 5:00 p.m. One thing to keep in mind: self-storage facilities that are open 24 hours are more likely to attract folks trying to live in their unit which is probably not what you want in a secure facility.
5. Pest Management: Depending on where you live, there may be a need for you to inquire about insects, mice, and rat management. Newer facilities tend to have fewer problems with pests but it is still important to ask the facility you are considering what their pest management protocol is.
6. Variety of Unit Sizes: If you have a small amount of items you want to store, that last thing you need is a unit the size of a one car garage. Self-storage facilities generally offer a range of unit sizes to their customers for both small and extra large needs such as furnishings for the entire household, auto and boat storage, and business files and supplies. With a selection to choose from to meet your needs, you don't have to pay for more than you need or try to stuff a small unit from floor to ceiling. When that happens, you increase the chance that you have to unpack the entire unit just to find one item.
7. Outside Storage: If you need to store an RV or other large vehicle, make sure the facility you select has the type of space you want. Some storage lots even provide covered parking for boat storage and RV storage.
8. Supportive Services: Most storage facilities provide a range of supportive services and supplies. They usually sell boxes and tape at a minimum but others will also have mattress, sofa, and chair covers for sale as well. Similarly, storage businesses also have dollies and carts they lend or rent to their customers. Whether you purchase boxes and coverings from your public storage facility or not, make sure to enclose your items well to best protect them from weather-related, dust or other damage.
9. Community Minded and Courteous Staff: The best storage facilities are operated by community minded folks who give back to the communities they serve. Self-storage facilities that offer a discount to seniors, those in the military and other folks who may be more subject to hard financial situations says something about their business philosophy. Facilities that accept deliveries are also an added bonus.
Like with all services, it is always best to do business with friendly, professional staff members. Although most of your interactions after you sign out will not involve much interaction with facility staff, it is always nice to know that customer service is a priority for any facility you select.
10. Terms of Service: In most cases, month-to-month rental of storage units is the preferred method of storage units. By selecting a month-to-month storage facility, you have the flexibility to set-up monthly payments in the event of longer needs without having to worry about entering into a contract you end up not needed.