How to Choose the Right Self-Storage Facility for Your Needs

How to Choose the Best Self Storage Facility

Choosing the right storage facility can be tricky.

Why?

1. Most people that need storage are purchasing it for the first time – so it’s all completely new to you.
2. The items you’ll be storing are important to you – so the stakes are high. It’s a decision you want to get right.

It’s important and it’s likely you’ve never used storage before.

That’s why we’ve written this straightforward guide on helping you find the right storage facility.

What you need to look for in a storage facility

There is a simple criteria you can keep in the back of your mind when you’re deciding who to store with.

Your storage unit needs to be:

  • Clean
  • Dry
  • Secure

And depending on how often you need to be in and out of the unit – you’ll need to think about the location & accessibility of the unit.

Once all your conditions are met – then it’s time to find the best price.

Storage is often surprisingly expensive which is why it’s so important that, after you’ve found a few options that you trust, you shop around for the best price. To make sure you’re not paying more than you have to.

Make a list of storage companies local to you – that you trust

Search online to make a shortlist of companies (you want 3 or 4 so that you can compare prices later one).

Check their websites.

Does this feel like a company that takes quality seriously?

Are you able to trust these people with your possessions?

Check online reviews

Make a list of storage companies local to you – that you trust.

This isn’t always the most straightforward process because online reviews have their flaws. Often the only reviews you’ll see are people who’ve had an unhappy experience with a company. One or two negative reviews aren’t necessarily enough to avoid a company.

But check for patterns. Are there people saying the same things repeatedly?

Take anyone off the list who gives you the feeling they can’t be trusted.

Now you’ve got your list of potential storage facilities.

Visit some companies (don’t just go off of websites & settle for an expensive national storage chain).

After that you should visit some companies. Yes it takes a bit longer than sitting behind a phone or computer. But if you truly want to know if your storage is going to be clean, dry & secure there is no better way than doing so in person.

There is another important reason you should visit storage companies

Often when you search for storage online the first companies that will appear on the large national storage chains (e.g. Big Yellow, Safestore, etc).

That is because they have large marketing budgets and big teams working on making sure they appear first.

These national chains are expensive

At the time of writing this guide – you can be paying almost double for your storage each month by going with one of these companies.

And storage is quite expensive to begin with. By going with a large national chain it can turn into a significant monthly cost.

One of the reasons people continue to store with these companies despite the cost is that they have the money to make their websites look great.

But that doesn’t mean that your local, independent storage companies can’t provide storage units that are as good quality but are a fraction of the cost.

That is why you have to visit some storage companies if you want to get the best deal.

See for yourself the security facilities some of the competitors to the large national chains have. Look inside a unit and see if it is clean & dry.

Because it is highly likely that you will find a company that is capable of doing that and save yourself £100s, if not £1000s, in the process (depending on how long you’re storing for).

You may also find a company that has better access and is closer to where you need (less driving & saving you time in the process). In other words – you might actually find a better option all around.

Just because a company doesn’t have the best website, doesn’t mean they’re not able to provide storage units that are clean, dry & secure. It might just mean they’re not very good at internet marketing.

So it’s important that you don’t just settle for whatever company looks best online.

What to look for when you’re on site

You’re inspecting two things:

  • The storage units
  • The storage facility itself

For the storage unit – the most important thing here is that there should be zero moisture or signs of water. That’s the thing that is going to cause damp and mould. So make sure you’re happy with how dry the unit is.

For the storage facility:

  • Is there gates & perimeter fencing controlling who can come onto site?
  • Is there adequate CCTV coverage?

Work out the best prices

Call or use the websites to get the list of prices.

One slightly complicating factor will be the “special offers” some companies use to try and entice customers in. They’ll give 50% off a certain period of time (e.g 50% off for the first 3 months of storage).

Work out how long you’re planning on storing with a company and work out the total cost of the storage.

There is a reason the big companies offer these types of deals – they know it’s to their benefit in the long run if you end up storing with them for a while. Because you move onto a much higher rate than more local storage companies – even by offering that 50% of a time period – you may end up paying more than just going for a simple monthly rate.

You also want to be conservative with this – what happens if your house move takes 3 months longer than expected? How will that impact the cost of your storage?

Anything else you should be thinking about?

Should you just go with the cheapest price?

Once you’ve found the best price for a storage unit that you’re confident is going to be clean, dry & secure – there is one final thing you should consider which is access.

How often do you need to be into the storage unit?

If you need regular access (i.e you’re storing things you regularly need for your business) you might want to consider a storage container where you can drive your vehicle to the door of your storage unit.

You might also pay a bit more month to have the storage facility closer to where you live or work. Time saved on driving or on fuel costs might well cancel out a slightly higher monthly rate for your storage.

If you don’t need regular access (i.e you’re moving house) and it’s likely that you’ll only ever visit twice, once when you move in and once when you move out, then you can be more price focused. Some storage companies will offer discounts for storage units that are hard to access (for example, they’re not on the ground floor). If you’re very focused on price it might be worth going to that slightly more inconvenient option because you want the absolutely best price you can find.

Final thoughts

Do not just go with the first storage option you find online. It’s likely to be a national chain that will not give you the best price for your storage.

You need a storage unit that is clean, dry & secure.

It is worth trying to find a few companies that are capable of that (remember this is the first job of a storage company) – so that you’re able to do a bit of price comparison to make sure you’re getting the best deal.