Of course you can always just head to the one closest to your house, but not all storage places are created equal. So before you shove those boxes in the car, you first might want to consider the following questions.
Is location important to you?
If you’re going to be storing things you’ll need frequently, you’ll want to prioritize the facility’s location. That one closest to home might well be the best. But if you’re planning to stick your stuff in the unit and not come back for a year, you can save money by choosing a place in a less convenient spot.
When will you want to access?
Accessibility varies from facility to facility; some will let you come and go all day and night and others have more restrictions.
If you want to visit often and won’t know your schedule, you’ll probably want to pay a bit more for a facility that allows you 24 hour access seven days a week. Other facilities have set hours, and others allow you to set personal access hours to customize the times you want to access the property.
Office hours vary as well, but likely won’t be as important to you as gate access; these are the times you’ll be able to talk to the facility’s staff and buy supplies.
Do you fret about security?
Of course security is a concern at any self-storage facility, so any reputable one will be taking assertive measures on this front. That being said, various facilities have different levels of vigilance, so check that the security situation meets your needs before signing the contract.
Most storage places have security cameras throughout the property, and pretty much all facilities are gated and control access to the units using gate codes. Each user has a different gate code so staff can keep track of who is coming and going and identify any unusual or concerning activity.
If you need a little more stringent control, find a facility with individually alarmed units. While all facilities have alarm systems for the whole property, some offer individual alarms for each unit.
Which amenities do you want?
Self-storage facilities offer a range of amenities to make customers’ lives easier. Consider what level of service you need before choosing a spot to store your gear. Amenities available include covered and/or heated loading bays, sturdy moving carts, climate control, multiple entrance gates, RV storage, Spanish-speaking staff, and others.
Of course price will vary with location, convenience, level of security, and amenities, so keep that in mind as you search for the right place.
Do you want to store your extensive—and expensive—wine collection? In that case, pay a little more for an individually alarmed unit with 24/7 or customized accessibility. Or are you looking for a cheap place to stash your old furniture while you’re abroad for a year? If that’s you, find an inconvenient place with basic security, limited access, and no bells and whistles.
What is important to you in a storage facility? What factors did you consider most the last time you rented one?