Questions to Ask about Self-Storage Services before Renting

If you need to store some of your belongings, whether it's for a short-term or long-term period, you'll want to learn more about a facility's storage solutions before you sign a lease. As you begin your research, there are a few basic questions you'll want to know upfront. Having an idea ahead of time of what you want to store, how long you need storage and how much space you'll need will help ensure you receive the most accurate information. Consult our list below to give you an idea of the types of questions you'll want to ask the facility.

Self-storage cost and size

This is one of the most important questions. Not only will you want to know about the cost for different sized storage units, you'll also want to ask about the cost for extras such as climate control or an interior unit. Keep in mind that not every facility will offer the same sizes or the same features.

Climate control

Ask for details on how your self-storage company handles climate control. There is temperature control, which only has a set temperature, and there is climate control, which is humidity and temperature control. Typically units are kept between a range of temperatures to avoid extremes in the winter and summer months. Some valuables may require stringent climate control, so be sure to discuss what you'll be storing with the facility.

Indoor vs. outdoor units

Find out if your facility offers both types. Indoor units require access into a building first (similar to an apartment) whereas outdoor units are more like a garage and are accessible by walking or driving directly up to the storage unit.

Self-storage hours

Some self-storage facilities may offer 24/7 access to units while others may restrict access to specific business hours. Find out what kind of hours your facility offers. There may be different office hours and gate hours. Office hours are the hours a manager is available on-site to assist with any issues that may arise. Gate hours are the hours you are able to gain access to the facility and your unit.

Security

You'll want to know what kind of security measures are in place to protect your belongings. Aside from the lock you'll use on your unit, many self-storage facilities offer extra security measures including door alarms, gated key access, secure building access, on-site managers, 24/7 security guards, security cameras and more.

Moving in or out details

Find out if there are moving carts available to transport your items to/from your storage unit. Ask if the facility sells any packing & moving supplies such as boxes, packing tape or packing materials. If your unit is on the second floor, find out if you can have elevator access.

Deliveries

How are deliveries handled? Ask if the office is able to let a driver through the security gate and if they can hold packages for you.

Unit access

Discuss with the facility manager if you want to grant access to another individual. While you can generally provide anyone you want with a key and gate code, only the names listed on the rental agreement will be given access by management to your unit.

Documentation and insurance

Ask the facility manager about any required documents. Typically, you'll need a valid photo ID, a current address and an emergency contact when signing your lease. You'll also want to ask about self-storage insurance. The self-storage industry generally requires renters to have insurance on their belongings. This can be provided through a homeowners or rental policy or the facility may offer its own protection plan, so be sure to ask.

Payments and lease terms

When discussing the terms of your lease, ask about payments. Can you pay with a credit card, cash, check or money order? Can you pay online? Does the facility offer automatic payments? How much notice is required when ending your lease? Be sure to ask about your options for self-storage cost-by-lease length. Are contracts month-to-month or yearly? Is there a monthly discount if you sign a full-year lease? Are there any short-term lease options? How much notice is needed to reserve a unit?

If you need to store some of your belongings, whether it's for a short-term or long-term period, you'll want to learn more about a facility's storage solutions before you sign a lease. As you begin your research, there are a few basic questions you'll want to know upfront. Having an idea ahead of time of what you want to store, how long you need storage and how much space you'll need will help ensure you receive the most accurate information. Consult our list below to give you an idea of the types of questions you'll want to ask the facility.

Self-storage cost and size

This is one of the most important questions. Not only will you want to know about the cost for different sized storage units, you'll also want to ask about the cost for extras such as climate control or an interior unit. Keep in mind that not every facility will offer the same sizes or the same features.

Climate control

Ask for details on how your self-storage company handles climate control. There is temperature control, which only has a set temperature, and there is climate control, which is humidity and temperature control. Typically units are kept between a range of temperatures to avoid extremes in the winter and summer months. Some valuables may require stringent climate control, so be sure to discuss what you'll be storing with the facility.

Indoor vs. outdoor units

Find out if your facility offers both types. Indoor units require access into a building first (similar to an apartment) whereas outdoor units are more like a garage and are accessible by walking or driving directly up to the storage unit.

Self-storage hours

Some self-storage facilities may offer 24/7 access to units while others may restrict access to specific business hours. Find out what kind of hours your facility offers. There may be different office hours and gate hours. Office hours are the hours a manager is available on-site to assist with any issues that may arise. Gate hours are the hours you are able to gain access to the facility and your unit.

Security

You'll want to know what kind of security measures are in place to protect your belongings. Aside from the lock you'll use on your unit, many self-storage facilities offer extra security measures including door alarms, gated key access, secure building access, on-site managers, 24/7 security guards, security cameras and more.

Moving in or out details

Find out if there are moving carts available to transport your items to/from your storage unit. Ask if the facility sells any packing & moving supplies such as boxes, packing tape or packing materials. If your unit is on the second floor, find out if you can have elevator access.

Deliveries

How are deliveries handled? Ask if the office is able to let a driver through the security gate and if they can hold packages for you.

Unit access

Discuss with the facility manager if you want to grant access to another individual. While you can generally provide anyone you want with a key and gate code, only the names listed on the rental agreement will be given access by management to your unit.

Documentation and insurance

Ask the facility manager about any required documents. Typically, you'll need a valid photo ID, a current address and an emergency contact when signing your lease. You'll also want to ask about self-storage insurance. The self-storage industry generally requires renters to have insurance on their belongings. This can be provided through a homeowners or rental policy or the facility may offer its own protection plan, so be sure to ask.

Payments and lease terms

When discussing the terms of your lease, ask about payments. Can you pay with a credit card, cash, check or money order? Can you pay online? Does the facility offer automatic payments? How much notice is required when ending your lease? Be sure to ask about your options for self-storage cost-by-lease length. Are contracts month-to-month or yearly? Is there a monthly discount if you sign a full-year lease? Are there any short-term lease options? How much notice is needed to reserve a unit?