Check Out Reviews
Because the safety of your favorite belongings could be on the line, we recommend that you check out reviews before signing any contract. The storage industry, even including some top companies, is ripe with bad customer service and unhelpful policies. If you’re going with a well-known top storage company, don’t just check out nation-wide reviews. You also need to see how your local branch is reviewed online.
Sometimes, though not always, it might cost a little extra to go with a company with more positive reviews, but you can be sure you’re saving headaches and hassle in the future. Of course, even with the best company, there are going to be some negative reviews. Just pay attention to past customers’ overall experience on the BBB, Yelp, and Google, and you can be confident your storage unit company won’t rip you off.
After you’ve done a bit of research, it’s a good idea to compare your different options. Doing this allows you to make the most cost-effective choice and it gives you information to negotiate with. Check out your options online by reading through professional reviews and getting quotes directly from companies.
Once you’ve educated yourself, give your local storage company office a call and ask if they have any offers or promotions going on. If you’ve found a better price elsewhere, ask if they are willing to price match a competitor.
You should also ask how long the rates you’re being offered will last as some companies are known to raise their rates after longer periods of time. Calling ahead is a good chance to double-check that your rate won’t change after a few months. Taking the time here to make a personal connection should let you find the best possible deal and will give you an idea of what your prospective storage company’s customer service is like.
Decide If You Need Access
Accessibility is a common issue with storage companies. Plenty of services do not allow people to access their belongings while they are being stored due to security reasons. If you are going to need to get to your stuff while it’s in storage, we recommend asking about this early on when considering a storage service.
If you know you will need to use a particular item while it’s in storage but you want to use a non-access service, a neighbor, family member, or friend may be willing to temporarily house a small item. Otherwise you can try to negotiate this into your storage contract.
Compare Size Prices
One of the biggest difficulties in choosing storage is ensuring you pay a fair amount for the size and specs of your storage. The first thing you can do to make sure you make the right choice is to do a size estimate online.
For instance, for the contents of a typical one-bedroom apartment or house, you’ll probably want a 10x10 foot storage unit. Next, factor in how well that model fits your situation by asking yourself straightforward questions. Is your place full of stuff, or are you a bit of a minimalist? Do you need room for large appliances?
Once you know your approximate size, you can compare companies by price. In general, some companies are much better and cheaper per square foot while others provide more security and protection for your items. For example, Public Storage has some of the cheapest 5x5 storage units with prices as low as $21 per month, though these may increase.
Decide What Protection Your Things Need
While many budget storage services are out there, some premium companies like U-Haul might be better if you’re storing high-value items. This is because U-Haul specializes in security. It also pest and climate-controls its storage.
Fur coats, vintage clothing, and fabrics are common items people put into storage that can be susceptible to moths and other pests. Art, antique furniture, and records can also be damaged by humidity, termites, or water. As such, it can be worth going with a company that has climate control or a sealed environment.
Additionally, look into both in-house and standalone insurance for the items in your storage unit if any of your belongings hold significant monetary value. While most storage facilities have security, none can guarantee 100% that there will never be a break-in at their facility.
Advice for Once You’ve Decided on a Storage Company
Once you’ve picked out the right storage company, the real work begins. At this point, we recommend evaluating everything you plan on putting into storage. Some 20% of most people’s storage space is used up by unnecessary items. Cheap but bulky items that take up a lot of your storage space may be better off taken to a charity furniture store so you can save cash with a smaller storage unit.
Appliances can often be loaned out to temporary renters and large entertainment items like trampolines or pool tables could be enjoyed by a friend for a few months while you aren’t using them. Just make sure any arrangement is mutually beneficial for everyone involved. You want to save money and improve friendships, not strain them.
Besides making sure you don’t store too much, we recommend packing your unit with care, sealing boxes, and maintaining a good relationship with your storage unit company.