1. Location: First and foremost, “location, location and location” as the saying goes. You need to look for a facility that is close to your home to save time and gas. It is helpful if it is accessible from major routes to make it easier for you when visiting the unit. It may be worth considering the crime rate of the neighborhood that houses the unit for peace of mind, especially if the facility lacks adequate security.
2. Storage Unit: The storage unit must be large enough to hold all your items and space to be able to get around them. You may want to include some room for future growth in case you need to add more items after your move. The reason for allowing these is that you don’t want to have to break your lease or rent a second unit with additional fees simply because you weren’t planning ahead when you made your original application. The smallest units are usually 5′ by 5′, which will hold a small number of boxes or small bedroom furniture. The largest units are typically 10′ by 40′, large enough to hold most of the items of a four bedroom house. Many storage companies offer climate-control in their storage units, this is typical of larger facilities. The main advantages of climate-control are that they help preserve items from heat, cold and humidity much better than regular units. These units are much more comfortable to work around in inclement weather. However, climate-controlled units will incur a premium on the rental fees.
3. Access : 24-hour access is a personal factor and is purely for convenience, and while it is nice to have, probably shouldn’t be your primary criterion unless you plan on accessing your unit during off-hours or during the holidays. If you plan on maintaining your items in storage for a longer period of time and not needing to access them much, you’re less likely to require this feature.
4. Safety: Monitoring of the premises is an extra security feature that is especially useful if some of the items you are storing are valuable. However, it is not recommend that valuables be stored in a storage unit. Also, note that the cameras don’t do nearly as much good if they aren’t monitored so it may be worth verifying that they are.
5. Security: This is not always practical but allow an extra level of security. They are only effective if they actually spend their time patrolling the areas around the units. However, if you pick the right facility, this will be unnecessary. An equally effective option is to look for facilities that have an on-site manager – these units are safer and the availability of assistance is better.
6. Insurance : It is always a good idea to make sure that you have adequate insurance coverage for all your items, including those in your storage unit. Insurance offered from your storage provider is certainly convenient. However, all insurance is not the same and you will want to be sure you fully understand exactly what is covered, whether the coverage is for the replacement or another amount and whether your existing homeowner’s coverage applies to your storage unit items.
7. Payment: If you’re going to have your storage unit for any length of time, you’ll want to find out what types of payment and time of payments are accepted. These arrangements have to meet your needs. Some facilities allow an auto-payment to be setup to minimize the chance of missing payments and save time. Locations that have heavy competition will offer discounts for new customers as an enticement to join them against the other competition. These discounts could range from coupons that offer free move-ins to a percentage off their service or products. Other savings that are available are discounts for long term rentals and military families.
8. Complimentary Services : Having access to other services at the same location make it convenient. These services could include U-Haul truck rental, mailbox rental, business services such as fax and copy, moving supplies and RV/boat/car/motorcycle parking.
9. Facilities : Customer access to moving carts on the premises will prove helpful when unloading heavy or oversized items. Other facilities include the supply of bump-proof cylinder locks and the acceptance of on-site deliveries.
10. Price : This is the most important factor for some, but it is included at the end of the list for a good reason. The cheapest rate may not be the best option for the storage of your items. If you select a facility because of price alone, you may end up with a deal that may not be in your best interest in the long run.
We have highlighted a few factors that are worth considering before signing a storage unit lease – take these into account and you will have a good chance of picking the right facility for your possessions.