Now we understand that everyone does not have the same storage needs. That’s why there are so many different types of personal storage solutions. However, depending on what your needs, maybe it is essential to ask the storage company a couple of questions. The questions will help you determine if they are offering the right solution for you. Below we outline ten questions you need to ask up front. Though you shouldn’t limit yourself to these questions if there is something more you want to know feel free to ask away.
Long Term Storage & Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What Do I have to Pay and Are There Any Hidden Costs?
Now, this is a question that many people should ask because there are many personal storage companies that aren’t exactly transparent. Generally, you’ll be looking at paying the monthly rent + taxes (if applicable). That’s going to be in addition to 4 week’s deposit, which may vary depending on the storage provider. However, that deposit is refundable, but you need to read the terms under which the storage provider may either refuse to refund the deposit or make deductions.
Q2. What is the Minimum Time I can Have the Storage?
You need to consider the fact that you’re opting for a long-term personal storage solution. However, the definition of “long-time” or “long-term” is different for everyone. In the storage solution space industry, you’re looking at anything over 4 weeks. So, that’s the shortest time you can rent a personal storage space.
Q3. Do You Need to Give Any Sort of Notice When Cancelling?
Some long-term storage companies may not require a notice, but most will. Generally, you’ll have to notify the company four weeks in advance. That notice can be delivered either over the phone, in person, or via email.
Q4. How Often and When Can I Access My Storage Unit?
Now every company has a slightly different policy when it comes to how often and when clients can access their self-storage, that’s why finding out upfront is essential. Generally, they will allow access from 9 am to 5 pm on only weekdays. Anyone who wants to access outside of these hours may have to book an appointment by calling the company. Again, this varies from one company to the next and in some cases, you can ask for a specific timeslot.
Q5. What Security Measures are Taken to Keep My Self-Storage Unit Secure?
Most cheap or no-frills storage units will require that you put a padlock on the unit. You are responsible for buying the padlock and slapping it on. However, there are some that have electronic keypads and biometric systems. In that case, the company will supply you with a unique authentication code or record your biometric data. It is imperative to keep in mind that biometrics and electronic keypads are more secure compared to a padlock, but they are also more expensive.
Q6. What Can I Store in the Self-Storage Unit and Do You Have a List of Prohibited Items?
The policies across each company vary. However, asking this question will ensure that you don’t end up breaching their policies. Your emphasis should be on acquiring a list of prohibited items. Generally, these items will include inflammable stuff, perishable items, drugs, fireworks, firearms animals, etc.
Q7. What are Your Insurance Policies?
Let’s face it anything that can happen will happen. Fires, floods, thefts, etc. can all end up with you losing a lot if not all your stuff. That’s why it is essential to ask if the long-term self-storage provider offers some kind of insurance coverage. Now the answer here will vary. Some services provide coverage for goods ranging from $5 to $5000. Though others may ask that you get your own insurance. Regardless of which route you decide to take make sure that your items are insured for their actual value. The few extra dollars you pay for good insurance coverage is worth it.
Q8. Can the Size of the Storage Unit Be Upgraded?
If you think that the space you’re getting isn’t going to be enough perhaps within the next few months, then asking if it is upgradable is essential. Some providers may only allow an upgrade subject strictly to availability. So, you can only upgrade to a larger unit if one is empty. Also, there is an extra cost associated with upgrading. You also need to consider that after upgrading everything will have to be moved into the larger unit, and some service providers offer to move your stuff of course that will cost extra. Ideally, you always want to choose a self-storage provider that allows upgrades with minimum fuss.
Q9. Do the Units Have Shelves?
The vast majority of budget long-term self-storage units don’t have shelves. The units are designed to be a one size fits all type of affair. However, if you need shelving, it’s something that you’ll have to build or buy yourself. Many companies have restrictions on the type of shelves which are allowed, most will allow free standing shelves, and so that’s a safe bet. Attracted shelves are prohibited by most companies. If shelves are important to you, then make sure to contact a few different self-storage providers to find out if they have units with existing shelves built into them. Keep in mind that those with shelves may be more expensive.
Q10. Do Your Units Have Electrical Outlets?
Some long-term self-storage units may have electrical outlets, but most may not. Budget unit providers try and keep costs down, and they obviously don’t want to deal with an expensive electrical bill. That said many larger units measuring around 250 square feet and above would have some form of electricity. It is possible to arrange for electrical power by requesting it before you rent the unit, but there will often be an extra charge associated with it each month regardless of if you use the electricity. If it is only light that you need, then take a torch or large battery-powered light with you.