By Suzi Conner, Certified Self Storage Manager
What Should I Look For When Choosing A Self Storage Facility?
When it comes time to look for a self storage facility, there are several things to take into consideration. If you are planning to store your items, they must be valuable to you, and you want them to be safe and secure at all times! Be sure to make your decision on the entire self storage facility experience, not on price alone.
Price should never be the deciding factor.
Many people’s first thought is to pick the cheapest storage unit to save money. Trust me, that is not how you want to choose your storage unit. A higher price usually means a few things: there are more security features at the self storage facility like cameras, fencing and keypad access; the self storage facility is newer and in better repair than the competition; there is an on-site manager 6-7 days per week; or the self storage facility has more options and features such as a variety of unit sizes and types (like temperature control units for example), online payments and 24/7 rentals. Basically, you get what you pay for – don’t sacrifice security and safety just to save a few dollars.
Tour the facility first.
You should make sure the self storage facility you are looking at will fit your needs. The best way to do that is to take a tour of the property. A facility that takes pride in its appearance and keeps everything in good repair and working order is the ideal choice. A facility like this will have better customer service and cares about each and every tenant. You can tour some of our facilities here.
Overall Property Condition
Is the facility well lit at night? If you plan to visit your storage unit early in the morning or late in the evening, make sure you can see everything easily so access to your unit is seamless – no matter what time of day you visit.
Is the facility clean and neat? Is there trash lying about? Trust me, you want a facility that is clean. The last thing you want to do is drive over something that is lying on the road and damage your car, or step on something in the aisles of the interior units and ruin your shoes. A facility that is clean and well-kept shows that the property manager takes care of the property, has pride in the facility and the company, and in turn will take good care of you.
Buildings & Doors
Are the buildings in good shape or are they falling apart with noticeable rust or holes? After all, your stuff will be stored inside the buildings. Holes could mean rodents or leaks. Make sure you look for obvious problems and steer clear of a facility with damage or broken items.
Check the latches on the storage unit doors. Are they rusty or in good working order? You will be placing your lock on the latch to keep your belongings safe and secure – a latch in proper working order is essential.
Are the storage unit doors in good repair? Do they open and close easily? Make sure to have the property manager show you how to open and close a door so you can see for yourself. Is the seal tight when the door is closed? This will help keep water out of the unit when it rains.
Look inside the storage unit and check to make sure the walls are absent of cracks or holes. Also check to see if there is a small gap around the top of the walls to allow air circulation through the unit. Good circulation helps prevent mildew.
Check the floor for cracks or white marks. These could be an indication that moisture may enter through the floor which could damage items sitting on the floor. Is the floor level with the pavement or off the ground a couple of inches for the outside access units? Having a floor that is slightly raised will keep water out of the unit.
Variety of Units
Does the property offer a wide variety of unit sizes and types? You may just need that 10×10 drive-up unit right now, but what if you need an inside temperature-control unit down the road to store your precious antique heirlooms from Grandma? It would be awful to have to move from one storage facility to another just to have this option. Having the option to change or add a different unit later on is great, just in case you need it! Make sure the facility you select has many sizes from 5×5 to 10×30 and several types like drive-up, inside access and temperature-control.
Check out some of our previous blogs for more information on the different types of storage units and how to choose the best one: “Inside Storage Unit vs. Drive-Up Unit”, “Temperature-Control: Is It Right For Me?” and “Take the Guesswork Out Of Selecting The Right Storage Unit”
This one is a big one for sure. You want to make sure your stuff is safe when you leave it in your storage unit. Is there a fence that surrounds the entire property? There should be and it should be in good repair, with no holes, cuts or broken poles.
Is there a locked gate with keypad entry to access the property? This keeps visitors to only those who have a storage unit at the facility since an access code is required to enter through the gate.
The fence and the gate also keep unwanted guests outside while you are inside, which is especially important after business hours. You can feel secure knowing you are safe inside the property.
Look up, are there security cameras? This added feature will be sure to capture any unwanted activities on the property, such as an intruder or illegal activity, in the unlikely event that something of this nature takes place at the facility.
Rental Office & Property Manager
Is there a rental office on site with a property manager who is on-site daily? This is very important to any facility, and is essential to offering tenants the best customer service possible. If a problem crops up, you want a property manager who you can turn to for help, and one who is on the property regularly.
Make sure to visit the rental office – is it clean, does it smell fresh? You will probably visit the office several times once you are a tenant, does it have packing and moving supplies for sale? If you are visiting your storage unit and realize you need a box or some tape, it’s very convenient to be able and simply pop into the rental office to get what you need.
Does the manager stand up and greet you as you walk into the office? A friendly property manager is key to having a great storage experience. You want someone who listens to you, treats you as the most important person to them at that moment and has knowledge about the property and the industry. If you have a question, you want to be sure he or she can answer it, and answer it correctly.
There are many things to consider when choosing a self storage facility. Remember, you will be storing your valuables at the facility, and you want them to be safe and secure when you are not with them. Price is important, however it is best to make your decision on the entire experience – from the condition of the facility and the security features to the unit options and the presence of a property manager. If you are interested in learning more about choosing the best storage facility or would like to set up a tour of one of our facilities, please contact us today and we will be glad to help.