Ultimate Guide To Analyzing Storage Unit Prices & Costs
All storage facilities are not created equal, and as you do research into the price for your storage unit, you might find yourself getting frustrated by the variances in cost. For a lot of people, self-storage is a new concept, so you want to make sure you’re paying a fair price and probably doing a lot of Google searches for “self storage prices what’s fair”.
We understand your frustration and obviously, you need to do your own research to make yourself comfortable, but we can give you a few tips on what to look for:
- What’s the price per square foot: Each facility has their own unit sizes. At Storage Solutions, we have a small (8’x8’), medium (8’x20’) and a large (8’x40’) but there are many other sizes, like 5’x5’, 10’x30’, etc. The best way to compare is to work out the price per square foot.
- Beware of front loaded discounts: Discounts and deals sound great – “Cheap storage!”, “Low cost rental!”, “First 4 weeks on us!”. Don’t get us wrong, we know you want the best price, but before you over-value a deal, make sure you understand what your real monthly rent will be, because you might think you’ll be storing for a month or two, but then something happens and you’re storing your things for much longer (or potentially incurring costs to move your things to a different storage facility). The average customer rents a storage unit for at least 6 months – which is something to keep in mind when looking at the front loaded discounts because you can figure out your “average” monthly cost.
- Price increases: Find out how often the facility raises their prices. Almost all storage contracts give the facility the right to raise prices, because, let’s face it, business costs can go up (think about hydro bills, taxes, etc.). But, some facilities routinely raise their prices, and especially if you’re looking to store on a long-term basis, this can really impact you. Ask questions as you’re doing your tour or on the phone with the storage company to find out when the last price increase was and the amount.
- Deposit: Most facilities require a damage deposit. Usually if you move out and don’t leave any garbage or damage the unit, you should get your deposit back but it’s important to ask the facility questions about this and to know the amount.
There’s a big difference between price and cost! The only way you can manage the price you are paying for your storage unit is to do your research, but there are a lot of ways to manage your storage costs.
- Be selective with what you store: At Storage Solutions, we hate to see our customers store things for years, only to eventually decide that they’re “junk”. Don’t store junk! It’s not good for your wallet and probably, it’s not junk to someone else and can find a good home either through donations or by selling it. Give us a call and we’d be happy to point you in the direction of some great charities who will happily take your gently used items.
- Control how long you store for: A lot of people start storing and think it will only be for a month or so and then life happens and a year goes by. That’s ok, but we want our customers to be happy with their storage experience so in addition to making sure you’re only storing things you genuinely need to store, we recommend you set a calendar reminder every three months to check-in on your storage unit. Of course, we feel that long term storage is a brilliant idea and a lot of our customers agree – it frees up space at your home, is inexpensive business storage, or a secure location for more valuable items.
- Look at what you’re getting from your storage facility: At a very bare minimum, your storage facility should have a fence and a gate! Look at the facility and see if they have security cameras, staff, a clean facility, an updated computer system, etc. so that your self-storage experience isn’t a hassle. For example, having staff present at the location drastically cuts down on theft and usually means that the location is cleaned on a regular basis. It’s up to you what features are important, but balance the price of the storage to the services you are receiving.
Overall, always remember that you are storing your important belongings at a storage facility, so you need to be comfortable there and with the staff. We recommend you search the facilities in your neighbourhood, compare prices (on a square foot basis) and then visit your top three facilities to see the unit itself. It takes a bit of time to do this, but you’re making an investment in your belongings so you’ll want to take a bit of time. When you’re at the site in person, you can inquire as to any discounts or additional services or even tips from the staff.
We wish you the best of luck with your storage experience.