Are you tired of feeling that your belongings are taking over your house or that your business is too cluttered with excess furniture, documents or inventory? Have you reached your limits scraping ice and snow off your car because your garage is jam-packed with summer equipment and Christmas decorations?
You are not alone….and you may also be like many, who are considering renting a self-storage unit to instantly gain more space.
Whether you’re a first-time self-storage user, or you’ve rented in the past, you’ll quickly notice throughout your search online for the best self-storage facility, that not all storage facilities are the same.
To find a self-storage facility that checks off all the boxes on your list, here are 8 important questions you need to ask:
- What are the access hours for the facility?
- Many facilities have office hours and access hours.
- It’s important to note the difference, so that you know when you can access your storage unit or speak with someone.
- Some facilities offer 24/7 access, while others will restrict overnight access and have hours closer to regular business hours like 8am-6pm Monday to Saturday.
- How long do I have to commit for?
- Many facilities offer month-to-month contracts or even weekly contracts.
- Make sure to inquire whether there’s a minimum commitment term though.
- Are there any extra fees, over and above the monthly rent rate?
- Most storage facilities will have a rental rate and a security deposit (which should be refundable when you move out).
- Some facilities may also charge an administration fee (or access fee) which covers the cost of an access card that you use to enter the facility.
- Monthly insurance fees may be added onto the rental rate.
- It’s important to know if these charges are built in or are added on as they can make a cheap self-storage unit quite expensive in the long run.
- Are my belongings insured while in self-storage?
- Insurance for self-storage can be tricky and confusing.
- Storage facilities are often quite divided on this subject. Some facilities leave insurance up to the renter, others offer it as an optional add on, and some require you to sign up for the insurance that they offer.
- To be safe, check with your home insurance provider as some policies will carry over to your belongings while in self-storage, and if not, inquire as to what is offered at each facility.
- What security measures are in place?
- The most common security measures in self-storage facilities are gated access, surveillance cameras, lighting and fencing.
- Other measures in place could be individually alarmed units, or onsite staff.
- The best way to truly ask this is to do it on person at the facility, so you can see for yourself if security measures are really in place
- For instance, is there a monitor showing surveillance footage in the office with the employee?
- If not, how do they monitor their facility, or that onsite cameras are actual real and recording?
- While, you most likely won’t be signing up for a storage unit after the sun has gone down, it’s still important to ask (and know) if the facility is well lit, as most breaking and entering situations happen at night.
- How long has the company been in business?
- If a self-storage facility has been in business for a long time, they will have the reputation to prove their standing, whether good or bad.
- Be cautious of brand-new companies who are just starting out, or those that have very little information available. These are common red flags and they may not be an honest company, and you wouldn’t want to store your belongings with them, only to find that the company packed up and disappeared with all your stuff.
- Do you offer climate controlled storage?
- Depending on what you’re looking to store, and where you’re storing it, you may want to consider a climate-controlled storage unit. Learn more about climate-controlled storage and how to determine if you need this type of storage.
- Many facilities offer these types of units, but some outdoor facilities do not, so if you need or want this type of regulation, do ask upfront.
- What discounts or special offers are available?
- Everyone feels good when they get a deal, right?
- Most often, special offers for first time renters, like 50% off your first month, receive a free lock upon sign up, etc.
- Take the time to learn the fine print on these details so that you know and understand exactly what the promotion is and for how long so that there are no surprises.
Good luck with your search for a self-storage facility!
And if you’re looking for a local self-storage facility in Milton, Guelph, Oakville, Burlington or Mississauga, we hope you’ll consider Storage Solutions. Contact us to learn more or to book a tour.
Your friend in self-storage,