If you’re looking for storage anywhere in the UK, you’ll see that there are two main options:
The self storage that is offered by the large national chains like Big Yellow and Safestore. These are the large buildings you’ll see on the side of motorways. Inside are 100s or 1000s of rooms that you’re able to rent for your storage.
Storage locations that have 10s or 100s of shipping containers on a piece of land secured by high security fencing, CCTV, and electronic gates controlling access to the site (well, they should have all of these things. More on that later).
Because of the prominence of the large national storage chains people are often familiar with indoor storage rooms.
But less so with container storage. It’s likely if you’re purchasing self storage for the first time that you’ve never thought of using a shipping container for storage.
We’ve written this blog post to highlight the advantages of using a container for your business or personal needs.
Shipping containers are used to transport all the world’s goods all over the world. Without them global trade would quite literally come to a stop.
There’s every chance that if you bought your items from overseas that they came to the UK in a shipping container.
They’re built to withstand everything the ocean can throw at them (as this video demonstrates!)
So you know when you store your possessions in a shipping container they will be kept dry. They’re completely watertight.
Shipping containers are made of steel. They are very secure.
Each container also comes with a steel lockbox like the one pictured here:
These lockboxes protect the padlocks. Meaning that no one is able to tamper with the lock to gain access to the unit.
So while you can easily open your container (as pictured above) – anyone trying to do damage to the lock is prevented from doing so.
Sometimes touted as a negative – but considering the point above about a container’s ability to keep everything inside it dry – in our eyes this is actually a huge positive.
Unlike indoor storage rooms, it is possible to drive your car or van to the door of your unit. With rooms, because they’re inside a large building, there is invariably a need to get out of your vehicle and go inside, navigate corridors and potentially staircases and/or lifts.
This is a huge advantage if you’re assessing your unit regularly (i.e you’re a business using your storage unit each day) or you’re storing particularly heavy items.
On average (of course it varies by company) container storage is cheaper than the alternative storage options.
One reason for this is it’s less expensive to start a container storage company than to build an indoor storage room building. Indoor storage room companies need to charge extra to pay for the expensive conversions of large buildings.
Another reason is that a container storage company is more likely to be a smaller, independent business. The large national chains have in recent years been able to charge customers a premium for their storage – without any real reason behind the price increases other than brand recognition.
Don’t just take our word for it – call up a few companies of each type of storage and compare the prices for the same amount of space. You’ll quickly see that container storage comes out on top.
Because container storage is so much more affordable than indoor storage rooms, it makes it much easier to choose which storage unit to go with.
Indoor storage room buildings have a huge amount of size options. It can get really confusing – do you need 75ft² or 85ft². And because they’re quite expensive, the choices genuinely matter – you’re already paying a premium for your storage so you want to make absolutely sure you’re not paying for any more space than you’re actually going to need.
Because that’s not the case here…
There are two different sizes – a 10ft container (80ft²) & a 20ft (160ft²) container.
The 20ft container is about the size of an average household garage and will cover the vast majority of customers and the space that they need. It will often cost less than an indoor room of a smaller size. Which means it’s a simpler choice for you – you can pay less and get enough space that you’re not going to have to worry about it the day you’re moving in.
One important caveat:
Check the unit for moisture when you move in. While a container is great at keeping water out – if there is water in the unit then that can damage your goods.
This isn’t so much a problem with container storage but more to do with the firm running it. The unit itself could be perfectly fine and still 100% watertight but this could be due to whatever the previous customer was storing.
They might have been storing things that were wet. Make sure that the storage unit is dry when you move in (as you would with any type of storage unit you went with).
This comes down to picking the right company – one that invests in security, keeps their storage units clean and checks them after every use.
For more on that you can see our blog on How to Choose the Right Storage Facility.