Whether you are moving, downsizing, staging your home, renovating or organizing you may eventually need to shop around for a storage unit. Self storage facilities are everywhere, seemingly on every street corner, but how do you choose the right one? Perhaps more importantly, how do you find the best price? How can you locate the best deal?
We've taken the time to research and compile the 5 best ways to reduce the cost of your self storage unit. Our list is outlined in descending order, from the most significant savings to least.
1) Choose the Correct Size
Storage units come in many different sizes, from a small 5' x 5' space to larger 10' x 30' spaces, with many variations in between. Although the majority of well-known self storage companies will have standard sizes that increase in 5' increments, there are still many storage facilities that will offer unique sizes, such as 5' x 7', 5' x 12' and 10' x 14'.
It's important to choose your size wisely because your monthly rent will increase primarily based on the unit size. Unfortunately, we often see situations where a customer has rented a storage unit that is much larger than necessary and packed poorly. Had the correct unit size been chosen, and the unit packed efficiently, the customer could have saved a significant amount of money each month instead of wasting it on unused space.
2) Location, Location, Location
It should go without saying that storage rentals will be more expensive in more convenient locations as well as high population areas. That new storage facility on Main St which is central to everything is going to cost more than the storage facility out in the suburbs off a rural road. But did you know that storage unit rates will also vary based on the location within the facility itself? Yes, this is absolutely true! The 5' x 7' unit located on the 3rd floor in the way back may be significantly less expensive than the same size unit on the 1st floor right by the door. Although the less expensive one is also less convenient, it may be an option for you if pricing is your primary concern.
3) Shop Around for Insurance
Few people are aware that most self storage facilities require you to maintain insurance during your rental period. Far too often this is not disclosed until you arrive at the storage facility to sign the paperwork. Conveniently enough, self storage facilities will often have their own coverage that they will sell to you on the spot. Because most are unaware of this requirement they end up purchasing the insurance coverage offered at that time. Although the coverage isn't much, an extra $10 per month can add up to quite a bit over time.
You can still comply with this requirement and save a significant amount of money if you take the time to shop around for self storage coverage before you sign your rental agreement. For those who have homeowners or renters insurance your policy may already cover items in a self storage facility. Be sure to check with your individual insurance company directly to determine if you have this coverage.
4) Avoid Rate Increases
So you have rented a 5' x 10' storage unit for a mere $30 per month, not too shabby! But did you know that your rental rate is not locked in? Oh yes, the storage facility can (and often will), increase your rent at some point.
A few years back I had rented a storage unit from Extra Space Storage®. Just four months after I began renting my space I received a letter in the mail notifying me that my monthly rent was increasing by $4 per month. Another four months later, another rate increase.
Although these increases are usually small they can really add up if you will be renting space for a long period of time. Although it is unlikely that you can avoid a rate increase, you can limit your exposure by choosing a facility that is less likely to do this. Start by asking the manager of each storage facility you are considering about their rate increase history, then check online review websites to see what experiences others have had.
5) Skip Unnecessary Features but Look for Perks
Get the most out of your storage facility by choosing a location that has the features you need as well as money saving perks. For example, do you need a climate controlled facility? If the answer is no then you should only shop for storage locations that do not offer that feature - why pay for something you do not need? Other popular features that likely contribute to a higher rent include gated access, 24-hour security, indoor versus outdoor, etc.
How about the perks? The most notable perk offered by some storage facilities is the free use of a rental truck for your move-in. This perk can save you anywhere from $30-$70 when compared to the cost of a typical truck rental for a local move. You should check with your storage facility directly to determine if they offer this free service and what the procedure is.