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Questions to Ask about Self-Storage Services before Renting

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Whether you need to store for the short or long term, you’ll want to learn more before you sign the lease. As you begin researching storage solutions there are a few items you’ll want to know upfront. Know the answer to these three questions before you begin the process:

  1. What do you want to store?
  2. How long will you stay?
  3. How much space will you need?

This will allow you to make the most informed decision possible. 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. Learn how much different size storage units will cost. How much extra will that 10×10 cost compared to a 5×5? Also, know how much features such as climate control cost. How much extra will having a climate controlled storage unit cost you?

Climate control

Ask for details on how your self-storage company handles climate control. Know the difference between temperature and climate control. Temperature control does not impact the humidity.

Climate controlled storage units keep storage units at stable temperature and humidity levels. Some valuables need strict climate control! 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 mean you’ll need access into a building first (like an apartment). Outdoor units are accessible by walking or driving up to the storage unit.

Self-storage hours

Some self-storage facilities may offer 24/7 access to storage units. Other companies may restrict access to specific business hours (such as 9am to 5pm). 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.


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; there are other security features to look for:

  • Door alarms
  • Gated key access
  • Secure building access
  • On-site managers
  • 24/7 security guards
  • Security cameras
  • And more!

Moving in or out and other details

How much “heads up” do you need to give before moving in or out? Knowing this will help make moving day a breeze.

Also 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. Supplies such as boxes, packing tape or packing materials are usually standard. If your unit is on the second floor, find out if you can have elevator access.


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. Please note, management will grant access only for the names on your rental agreement. You may still give anyone your key and gate code. Be aware that if that person gets locked out, management may be unable to help.

Documentation and insurance

Ask the facility manager about any required documents. You’ll usually need a valid photo ID, a current address and an emergency contact. You’ll also want to ask about self-storage insurance. The self-storage industry generally requires renters to have insurance on their belongings. Your 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?

Get the answers to all of your self-storage questions today. No matter where you are in MD, VA or DC, there is bound to be an ezStorage near you.

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