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self storage questions

Is your life taking a new direction in 2024? You might be preparing to move, expecting a new addition to your family, or creating a dedicated space for a home office. Whatever the case may be, you may need some extra room.

If your attic, garage, or basement is at capacity, it’s time to explore alternative options. Renting a self-storage unit can offer you the safety, convenience, and space that you need.

A secure, affordable storage unit should be easy to find. The majority of facilities are well-maintained and offer a variety of unit sizes and types to accommodate your needs.

There are undoubtedly multiple storage properties in your area that can work for you. Climate-controlled storage, top-notch security, and the convenience of online rental will be easy to locate. Finding a storage facility won’t be a problem, but finding the right facility can be challenging.

Whether you’re new to self-storage or you’ve used it for years, it’s essential to know what to look for in a facility. The self storage industry has evolved, and you must be aware of updates and changes. Read the following information before you commit to renting a self storage unit. You’ll be ready to ask the right questions and make an informed decision.

Asking the right self storage questions

What Are the Right Questions?

To begin your search, take a look at several storage facility websites. You’ll find plenty of essential information on a well-designed, user-friendly website. You should see unit sizes, prices, features, amenities, and locations. Access hours and security features should be easy to spot.

A high-quality website is the first indication that the property is a well-operated, professional facility. A comprehensive site should have an FAQ page with answers to customer’s most common questions and, of course, contact information.

Find answers to the following questions before you commit to leasing a unit.

How Do You Keep Your Facility Secure?

It’s important to note that most storage facilities have implemented top-notch security measures. However, it is crucial to understand that no company can guarantee the absolute safety of your belongings. Unforeseen circumstances can occur that are beyond anyone’s control.

To ensure the protection of your valuables, storage facilities should be equipped with state-of-the-art security features. These may include 24-hour video surveillance, electronic gates with keypad access, on-site managers, and dedicated maintenance staff to keep the facility clean and well-maintained.

The property itself should be surrounded by secure fencing and should be brightly lit. Managers should actively monitor the system and conduct regular walk-throughs.

In addition to these standard security features, some storage facilities offer more advanced options. This may include individually alarmed “smart” units and wireless, cloud-based digital key management systems. This technology allows tenants to access their units using only their smartphones.

While these high-tech additions are convenient, it is important to understand that your belongings will remain secure even without them.

Do You Offer Storage Insurance and a Tenant Protection Plan?

Typically, a reputable storage facility will require self storage insurance or documented evidence of a homeowner’s policy. However, it’s important to verify the extent of your off-premises coverage.

Moreover, many facilities also offer a tenant protection plan, a contractual agreement between the facility and the tenant. Under this plan, the facility assumes limited responsibility for the tenant’s belongings while they are securely stored in a locked unit. Essentially, operators agree to compensate customers for any damages to their belongings, within a predetermined amount.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to consult the self storage facility manager. For more detailed information read “Is There a Difference Between Self Storage and a Tenant Protection Plan?

What Are Access Hours?
You’re going to want easy access when you need to retrieve an item from your storage unit or pick up a vehicle.

The access hours may differ depending on the location, but generally, they span from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Nonetheless, some facilities have extended hours of operation, and some provide round-the-clock access.

Be sure that these hours align with your needs.

How Do You Handle Pest Control?
Rodents and insects can cause permanent damage to your possessions. You should be aware of pest control procedures.

To maintain a pest-free environment, self storage facilities should schedule regular pest inspections and treatments. Preventive action should be taken if insects or rodents are discovered.

Who Do I Contact If I Need Assistance?
Staff is usually present during regular office hours, but there should be phone numbers and emails available for after-hours contact.

If the facility is unmanned, phone numbers and email addresses should be posted on the website.

What is Your Range of Sizes and Types of Units?
Are you storing personal items and small household goods or do you need business storage? Do you need car, boat, or RV storage? How about extra high ceilings or extra wide doors?

You can find most of this information on the facility’s website, and a team member should be happy to answer these questions.

Do You Offer Climate-Controlled Storage?
Temperature fluctuations and seasonal extremes can cause damage to fragile items, electronics, and many other valuable objects.

Ask about whether climate-controlled self storage units are available. Don’t forget to check sizes depending on what you’re planning to store.

Do You Have Restrictions on What I Can Store?
The website should have a complete list of items that are prohibited in self storage units. This is usually on the FAQ page.

If you’re unable to locate a list, ask the manager.

Can I Tour the Property?
Make every effort to tour the facility before you make a decision.

It’s important to understand the level of customer service, get an impression of the property, and visualize how your belongings will fit in the unit.

Do You Offer Online Account Management?
Check to see if online and autopay options are available. Your convenience is important, and you want a painless process. Be sure to verify accepted credit and debit cards.

What Happens If My Payment Is Late?
Life happens, and occasionally you may have to pay your bill late. You should be aware of any fees or penalties that will occur.

If this is a concern, your best option is autopay.

Final Thoughts

Trust your impressions and your judgment. Most reliable properties will be happy to answer your questions and, if necessary, guide you through the website.

If you feel uncomfortable or the facility doesn’t meet your specific needs, move on to the next property on your list.

Leasing a unit at the right facility the first time means that you won’t have to go through the trouble of a second move.