11 things to consider when choosing self-storage

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Through the keyhole of self-storage

How do you choose the right self-storage facility?

These days, with mortgages proving ever harder to come by for many, and for those who can get or do have a mortgage, the size of new homes, on average, a whole bathroom smaller than they were in 2003 and extensions not always viable or affordable, space – or more precisely, lack of it – is becoming a major issue.

Many families are left with homes crammed to bursting with seldom used, but sentimentally valuable possessions. This can lead to arguments, struggles to find space for new purchases, or even new arrivals, and many other issues.

Making the decision to de-clutter can be a difficult one. However, once the decision has been made, the problem of what to do with all the stuff can be just as taxing.

Before deciding to use self-storage, you have to decide if it is right for you. Do you need to keep the items that you want out of your house?

If the answer is yes, then make sure you seriously consider these 11 things, before deciding which storage provider or facility is the right one for you.

  1. What kind of storage do you need?

This is a key factor in making sure you choose the right sort of self-storage for your individual needs.

Make a list of the items you need to store and contact your shortlisted self-storage facilities and see if they can give you an idea of how much space you’ll need. Don’t end up paying for space that you aren’t using. Equally, don’t end up needing more storage after a short time.

Consider whether you need temperature controlled storage or any other specialist requirements. Make sure the storage provider that you choose offers the type and size of storage you need.

  1. Location of the storage facility

How regularly will you need to access your belongings? If you don’t need to get to your storage pod regularly, then a facility that is slightly further away, but cheaper, might work out to be cost effective.

However, if you need regular access, then weigh any extra price for the storage against ease of access and price of transport to and from the facility.

If you live in a city centre but don’t need regular access, then it will almost certainly be worth looking a bit further afield, as out of town locations don’t have to pay the same level of overheads that a city centre unit – this translates into savings for customers.

  1. Opening hours

Do you need 24/7 access? If so, you need to make sure that the self-storage provider you choose allows you to get to your pod at all hours. Many providers don’t offer 24hour access, so make sure you do your homework before you choose.

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Another consideration is how accessible the facility is. Is it close to major roads, or is it off the beaten track? If you have heavy and unwieldy items that you will need to get in and out of storage, then it makes sense to choose a location that is close enough to major roads that you can transport your items easily.

  1. Facilities

What sort of security measures are in place at the facilities you’re considering using? Are you happy with the level of security that your belongings will be placed under? If not, then choose another unit. Peace of mind is paramount.

In addition to security, do the sites you’re considering offer you added contents protection within the quoted price? If not, is insurance compulsory, and how much will it cost you if so?

If you’re using your self-storage unit to run your business from, does the site you’re looking to use offer you added bonuses like free use of onsite boardrooms, meeting rooms, kitchens, working areas and Wi-Fi?

If not, consider using one of the self-storage providers that does.

  1. What are the costs? Are there hidden costs?

It can be tempting to go with the cheapest facility available. And that is understandable. Sometimes, however, the cheapest option isn’t going to be the best one.

That’s not to say that price isn’t an important consideration. It is. But, if you sacrifice other things you need for the sake of saving a few pounds, is it really worth it in the long run?

You should also make sure that the price you’re quoted is the price that you will pay. Not all storage providers are entirely transparent in their pricing, and will add hidden extras, such as obligatory insurance, to the price you are quoted.

Finally, make sure that you are fully conversant with the Ts & Cs. If you’ve bought self-storage during a special offer, ensure you know when any future price increases will take place, and how much these increases will amount to.

  1. Accessibility

Do you need to load and unload large or heavy items? If so, then try to make sure that your chosen storage facility has easily accessible loading bays at ground level, and provide plenty of trolleys, pump-trucks and other means of transporting your belongings into your storage unit.

Also, if the items you’ll be storing are heavy and difficult to carry, find out if the facility that you’re thinking of using has free access to things like forklift truck, pump-trucks and trolleys. Also find out if the staff are willing to help you.

  1. The staff

Nobody wants to have to deal with obnoxious, unprofessional people regularly. Especially not if they are the people responsible for safeguarding your possessions.

Before choosing your storage provider, make sure that the facility staff are professional, friendly, helpful, polite and any number of other positive adjectives.

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Also consider how easy they are to contact by phone or email and how genuine they seem – if they are pushy and overly sales driven, then maybe consider another provider. This might just be down to the individual, but it could also be indicative of the company policy. If profits matter more than your belongings – they have their priorities mixed up. A good self-storage provider will realise that looking after you and your belongings properly, will lead to profits and therefore make customer service their top priority.

  1. The facility itself

Is the facility you’re thinking of using clean, modern, well lit, well ventilated?

If not. Don’t use it.

Poor ventilation in particular can lead to bad odours, moisture and mould. If, upon inspection, the unit you’re looking at smells stuffy, or stale, then stay away. Don’t risk your belongings being damaged by a poorly maintained storage unit.

  1. Check the reviews

Most storage providers will have easily accessible reviews on independent sites such as Trust Pilot or Feefo. If they don’t have reviews, ask yourself why.

If they have bad reviews, then maybe avoid the place.

If, however, like Store First, they have fantastic reviews from hundreds of customers, then they obviously have worked hard for them and will be prepared to go the extra mile for you.

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  1. Visit the site before you pay

This is fairly self-explanatory. You wouldn’t rent or buy a house before you saw it with your own eyes. The same is true of self-storage. Make sure you check the sites you’re considering out, before you make your choice. You never know what you might uncover.

  1. A contract

Make sure that you will be provided with a legally binding contract that outlines exactly what your rights are in terms of access to your goods, and in terms of what would happen were you to be late with, or miss, a payment.

Make sure you get it right

If you follow these guidelines, then the likelihood of your belongings being mistreated, lost or damaged in any way decreases ten-fold.

You will also ensure that you are getting a great level of service at a price that is affordable for you.

At Store First we pride ourselves on our transparent pricing, excellent free facilities and contents protection, and in a nutshell: putting our customers first. If this sounds like the sort of service you’d like to receive, give us a call today.

Make the right choice with self-storage and your goods will be in good hands. After all, what is self-storage for, if not to provide you with peace of mind?

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