How to Rent a Storage Unit
The need for extra storage space today has become important for a lot of different reasons. Whether it’s a life transition such as moving, (the average American will move 11.4 times in his lifetime), or because we’ve outgrown our storage space in the home or apartment we live in, people are in need of storing their belongings elsewhere. Enter the storage unit. You’ve probably seen storage facilities cropping up all over the place in your town. These are being built to satisfy the need for extra storage.
But just how does one go about renting a storage unit? It’s really quite simple. And best of all there are no long-term commitments in most cases.
5 Steps to Renting a Storage Unit
First, do an internet search for storage facilities near you. You’ll most likely find a wide array of choices close by. Visit the website of the company to get an understanding of the types and sizes of storage units they offer. Check out their office hours and access hours to see when you’d be able to get into your unit. Read about their security features. For example, do they have video surveillance? Find out about the amenities the facility offers such as indoor or drive-up storage, heated or climate-controlled storage units, moving dollies for use, moving truck rental on-site, boxes and packing supplies, and online bill-pay options. Obviously, price is a factor as well. But be sure to weigh the dollars you’ll save versus the amenities offered and the distance you’ll have to travel to get to your unit. Sometimes saving a few dollars doesn’t make sense when you consider how much added travel time you’ll have or the loss of a nice feature like heat in the storage unit.
Step 2: Come in For a Visit
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, give the facility a call, or, if you have the time, stop in for a site visit. Have the store manager show you around and take a look at the storage units they have to offer. Tell the manager what you’re planning to store. He or she should be able to guide you into a size unit that will work for you. If you have a budget that you’re trying to work within, let them know this too so they can best figure out how to meet this requirement. Be sure to have them show you how their security works—how to gain access through the main gate and each access door as well as how the lock works on a storage unit. Better facilities will use higher end security features like cylinder locks on the storage units and electronic keypads at access points that allow you to enter a pin code to gain entry. If the facility has a loading/unloading area, check that out to envision how you’ll get your belongings to your unit (if storing inside vs. storing in a drive-up unit.) While on the tour, ask as many questions as you can think of. Is there a bathroom on site? Where are the elevators? What kind of pest control they have? A good store manager will happily answer anything and offer a lot more information.
Once you have decided on the unit you want to rent, the manager will have you fill out a Storage Rental Agreement. This document outlines all the specifics of the rental including the unit you’re renting, the monthly rent, the administration fee, the late fee policy, and lien policy (in accordance with your state’s lien laws.) It should also explain the intent to vacate policy as well as any pro-rate policy for moving in or out in the middle of a month. Again, a good storage facility manager will go over this document with you in detail to make sure you have a clear understanding of the policies. You’ll need to sign this rental agreement, pay an administration fee (if applicable), and pay your first month’s rent (typically prorated from the first of the month.) You’ll also be required to purchase a cylinder or disc lock for your unit. It would be a good idea to sign up for any auto-pay option that the facility offers. This way, you can make sure your monthly payment is received on time and you can avoid late fees.
Step 4: Get Access
The store manager will then give you a copy of your rental agreement, a receipt for your payment and a pin code for the gate and door access points. It’s recommended that you give your access code a try while you’re there to make sure it works. This is especially true if you plan to move in outside of the facility’s office hours.
All that’s left to do is move in! Depending on the volume of items that you plan on storing, this may be the same day you rent or on a different day. It always helps to get friends to assist you if you’re storing a whole house-worth of stuff. If this is the case, you might want to inquire as to whether the storage facility has on-site moving trucks for rent. This could save you a trip across town to rent a vehicle for your move. If you’re renting an 18-wheel semi-truck, ask the store manager whether the facility can accommodate this size of vehicle. Another thing you might want to do while at the facility is buy boxes and packing supplies. Most facilities carry these items and it can be one less thing to get come move-in day.
To make the most of your storage unit space, here are some tips for packing your unit efficiently.
Storing your belongings in a storage facility is easy and something everyone can do. Stop into the West Coast Self-Storage location nearest you and let us show you how!
About the Author: Derek Hines
Internet Marketing Specialist
Derek is originally from the great state of Wisconsin (go Badgers), but is slowly becoming a Pacific Northwesterner. As part of the Internet Marketing team, he writes extensively on storage, moving and life for West Coast Self-Storage, based in Everett, Washington.