By Suzi Conner, Certified Self Storage Manager
Now that you have decided you need to rent a self storage unit, there are a few things you must do as a first step. One thing you will want to do is visit the facility or facilities you are thinking about renting from to ensure you are happy with the appearance and visible security features. You should talk to the Property Manager and ask the following questions. You want to be sure and make the right choices for your needs.
- Is there a setup or administration fee or a deposit required?
You don’t want any surprises when you take the final steps and secure your rental. Most self storage facilities have some sort of setup or admin fee. We do not require a security deposit at Moove In Self Storage, but some facilities may – so be sure to ask.
- Am I locked into a contract for several months or can I rent month-to-month?
Just like when you would rent an apartment or a vehicle, this is an important question to ask, and it can vary from facility to facility. At Moove In Self Storage, our rental agreements are month-to-month and there are no long-term commitments, they simply renew on the first of every month. You can end your rental agreement on any day of the month with written notice, but keep in mind there are no refunds or pro-rations. You are responsible for the entire month. When possible, it makes the most sense for you to move out during the last week of the month so you get the most for your money.
- What forms of payment do you accept?
This is a great question, and a very important one to ask. With our busy lives, the more options available the better. We accept several forms of payment for your convenience, such as; all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express), debit cards, check, cash or money order. We also offer a variety of payment methods for you to choose from to make it as easy as possible: you can make your payment online through our payment portal; you can give us a call and pay over the phone with a credit or debit card; you can stop in the rental office to make your payment during regular business hours or drop it in our drop box after hours; and you can also send your payment to us by mail. Payment is due on the first of every month, so be sure to make your payment on time or set a reminder for yourself so you don’t forget. You can even set up automatic payments that will process on the first of every month so you never have to worry about forgetting to pay on time.
- Do you offer insurance for the items I will be storing?
Yes! We offer third-party tenant insurance you can purchase. This can be purchased while renting your unit. Coverage is affordable and will protect your valuable belongings while they are in storage. We have several policies to choose from so you only pay for the coverage you need. We do require insurance as a condition of the rental agreement at all of our facilities. If the unexpected happens, this insurance will cover you if theft or damage occurs to your belongings.
- Do I need a reservation?
No, it is not required to make a reservation. However, a reservation will hold the unit for you until you can make it in to our rental office to complete the rental. If you need a storage unit on a specific date because of something time critical like settling on a new home and moving, a reservation is a great way to help guarantee the unit you want is available. For example, if you realize on a Sunday (when our offices are closed) that you need a 10×20 drive up unit on Monday at 10am sharp, making a reservation online will hold that unit for you. Then you can come in on Monday at 10am and finish the rental process. Depending on availability at the facility, you may have snagged that last 10×20 at the property. You can also stop in our rental office and one of our friendly, knowledgeable property managers will be glad to help you secure your self storage unit on the spot.
- Can I rent a storage unit over the phone?
We can reserve a self storage unit for you over the phone, take payment and get everything set up and ready to go for you – but you will need to stop in the rental office and sign the rental agreement in person. You will also need to provide photo identification for security purposes to complete the process. It only takes about 10-15 minutes from start to finish.You can also rent a unit online through our website! You can call and have one of our property managers or storage counselors walk you through the online rental process if you need some assistance. Or you can do it yourself from start to finish. You can select the unit type you want (drive-up, interior access or temperature control), choose the size that is right for you, select one of our third-party tenant insurance policies, and pay with a credit or debit card on the spot. You will receive an email confirmation with your electronic lease attached.
- What are the gate access hours?
This is important to ask. (Some facilities may not have a gate.) Will the gate access hours meet your needs? At Moove In Self Storage, our gate access hours are 6am-10pm every day of the year. Additional access hours may be granted at the property manager’s discretion on a case-by-case basis.
- Do you offer different types of storage units?
You may not know which unit type is the best for your storage needs. Be sure to ask which types are offered at the facility and what the differences are between the types available. We offer several self storage unit types at our facilities.
- Drive-Up Access. You can pull right up to a drive-up unit just like you would to a garage door and unload your items.
- Indoor Access. These units offer indoor access only, and are located inside a building. Typically you enter the building through a standard door and access the unit from a hallway. This unit type keeps you out of the weather.
- Temperature Control. A temperature control unit typically offers indoor access. Some larger facilities offer this unit type in a drive-up access unit, but that’s not very common just yet. Temperatures are regulated throughout the year and kept at 58-76 degrees year-round.
- Handicap Accessible. Many facilities offer these units in drive-up, indoor or temperature control options. It is best to contact the property manager if you require this unit type to make sure they offer them at their location and if they have any available.
- What type of security do you offer?
Often overlooked, this is one of the most important questions you can ask and should consider when deciding which storage facility to choose. There should be a fence surrounding the entire property – is it in good repair? Is there an access gate? Are there security cameras throughout the property? Is there a property manager on site daily? How often does the property manager walk the site and check units? What happens if there is an incident on site? All of these are great questions to ask the property manager to ensure your belongings are safe and secure when on site.
- Do I need my own lock for the storage unit?
Yes. You must provide a lock for your storage unit. We highly recommend the disc style lock, which we offer for sale on site in our retail store. This lock type was designed specifically for the self storage industry. Not only that, but if you have a disc lock on your storage unit, and the unthinkable happens and someone breaks into your unit, the insurance deductible is waived through our third-party policies.
- Do you have a truck I can use to move in?
Yes! We have a moving truck that you can use for free locally. Simply pay the daily insurance waiver and refuel it when you are finished, and there are no other charges. We also offer Penske rental trucks at many facilities as well. Be sure to talk to the property manager to review full details on our free moving truck.
- Do you sell packing supplies and boxes?
We have a fully stocked retail shop in all of our rental offices. We sell a variety of box sizes and types that are specially treated for storage, including specialty boxes for dishes, TVs, delicate clothing and more. We also offer packing supplies such as bubble wrap, shrink wrap and packing paper to ensure your items are secure and protected when you pack them away. Also in stock are a variety of covers for furniture and mattresses to help keep them dust free, gloves, tape and tape guns and so much more. Everything you need to pack, move and store your belongings is available for purchase.
- Can my business store items there?
Our storage units are a great option for business storage. We provide a low cost solution to your business storage needs – everything from additional inventory, old business documents and files and office furniture. We can even accept deliveries for your business on your behalf, and provide access to your storage unit for the delivery driver. You can then pick up your packages at your leisure with no worries of missing the delivery while you are out of the office. You can also provide access to your business unit for specific employees so you don’t have to be there to let them in. Ask any of our property managers how we can help you with your business storage needs.
- Is there anything I can’t store in the storage unit?
Yes, there are certain items that are not permitted inside the storage units or on-site at our property at any time. Restricted items include but are not limited to: highly flammable items like cans of gas, oil, propane and fireworks; corrosive materials such as chemicals; perishable items such as food, including pet food; and anything that puts off a strong odor such as fragrances, potpourri, scented candles and cleaning products that could attract vermin. We also do not permit manufacturing or production anywhere on the property, vehicle work or repair, or working from the storage unit. You’re also not allowed to keep animals in a unit or on the property at any time, and you cannot occupy a unit or sleep inside a unit.
Some of these questions and answers may seem like common sense, but every one of them is important to consider. A property manager who can quickly answer these questions and provide you the options at the facility which you desire will be a great choice for your storage needs. If you have any questions or comments about what you should ask a property manager before deciding on a self storage facility, please contact us at any time or leave your comments below.