Renting a Storage Unit? Here’s What You Need to Know

Posted on Jul 14 2020 - 3:56pm by Bill Gassett

By Bill Gassett

Are you considering renting a storage unit? If you need to rent storage during your move, there are a few things you need to consider. One storage facility might appear to be the same as any other, but there could be some differences that will affect you. Picking a storage unit should be something you research and not just choose randomly.

Here are some of the crucial things you need to know when renting a storage unit:

Which Storage Type Is Right for You?

The most popular option is self-storage, but a full-service plan may be more useful to you. They offer extra services beyond just renting a storage unit. This could include collecting your possessions and filling the unit. You can then ask them to bring your things back to you when you need them.

Many companies allow you to do this through an app on your cell phone. Other services offered could include taking photos of your items, so that you know what you have in storage and can more easily request anything you need to be returned to you.

But self-storage is what most people choose to go with. Self-storage has the advantage of being more cost-effective for most people if they can transport their possessions in their own vehicle. However, this will require you to do all the hard work of moving your stuff to the storage unit.

If you don't have your own transportation, the full-service option may work out much better. Understandably, this is more popular in urban areas where fewer people own cars.

Things to Check When Looking for a Storage Unit

Not all storage locations will offer the same features, and this may be reflected in the price. Compare what's available to make sure you get the things you need from your storage provider.

Access: Do they provide access to your unit when you need it? It may be more convenient for you to access your things out of office hours, but this could cost you more even if it's offered. Some storage companies will actually offer 24-hour service, which can be a great feature, especially for those who work odd hours.

Security: How secure will your things be when stored? Do they have a person on-site around the clock? How good is the video surveillance? Is the facility well-lit? How many locks can you use, and do they supply these?

Climate control: Do you need a climate-controlled storage unit? If you're planning to store things like furniture, papers or clothes for a long period of time, climate control will protect them from mold.

Feedback: What do other customers think of the business? Check online to find out if people are happy with the service offered.

Contracts: Do they offer an agreement and pricing to meet your needs? If you know how long you need to rent storage for it'll be easier to find the right contract and storage business.

Which Storage Size to Pick?

Storage companies will typically offer a range of unit sizes for you to choose from. The more space you need, the more it's going to cost you. The length of time you need to store your things will determine whether a long-term contract or a more flexible service is right for you.

It's essential to assess the amount of room you need so that you don't spend more on renting storage than is necessary. The amount of space you need will depend on the number of boxes you have to store. If you're uncertain about which unit is best for you, the storage company should be able to advise you.

What Can Be Stored?

Ordinary household items can be stored in a unit. If you have vehicles, like an RV or a boat, that you need to store, most facilities can offer that as well. If you have large furniture items to store, you may need a larger unit. The storage business will be able to advise you about items that can't be stored, like hazardous or flammable materials.

Is Insurance Required When Renting Storage?

The storage facility may include some insurance cover in your rental fees. This might not be enough to cover the cost of replacing your items, however. It also might not cover you for transporting your possessions to and from the rental unit.

If you have homeowners insurance, you might already be covered. Check the details of your policy to see what protection you have for your belongings when using storage. You may find that your coverage is very limited, perhaps only offering $1,000. The storage facility might offer extra insurance, but you'll likely be better off searching for your own insurance coverage.

How Much Will Storage Companies Charge?

Of course, one of the most essential considerations for choosing a storage company will be price. Believe it or not, prices for renting storage units have actually been dropping in recent years. Competition has been fierce, with new storage companies being built in many markets.

In fact, the price per square foot has dropped from just over a dollar in 2017 to 92 cents in 2019. The average cost to rent a storage unit across the country is $87 per month.

Keep in mind these prices are averages, not necessarily what you'll pay when you move. How much you will pay to rent a storage unit depends on lots of factors and could be higher or lower than the average costs across the country. Learn more about what storage units cost here.

Final Thoughts on Renting Storage

Renting a storage unit is something that should be researched before a final decision is made. Quite often, there are specials and deals that local storage companies will offer when business is slower. It's worth your time looking around. Hopefully, you've found this guide to finding a storage unit useful.

Other Helpful Housecall Moving Resources

Get more trustworthy moving guidance in these previously published Housecall moving articles:

  • How to forward your mail with the post office: One of the most vital tasks when moving is getting your address changed and your mail forwarded with the post office. See these excellent tips on how to make the process go smoothly.
  • Moving out of state checklist: Are you going to be making a long-distance move across the country? If so, there is some sound advice for you in this comprehensive article. Take a look for some terrific moving tips.

Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized real estate leader who has been helping people buy and sell MetroWest Massachusetts real estate for the past 33 years. He has been one of the top RE/MAX REALTORS® in New England for the past decade. Gassett works for RE/MAX Executive Realty in Hopkinton, Mass. In 2018, he was the No. 1 RE/MAX real estate agent in Massachusetts.


2 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Tile installer July 22, 2020 at 7:31 am -

    Great article! I once signed an agreement for a storage unit only to find out afterward that I couldn’t store my work supplies in there. Needless to say, it didn’t go over real well. live and learn

  2. Zoe Campos November 28, 2020 at 8:02 am -

    Thanks for letting me know that renting more space usually means that it is more costly. It is also a good thing that I only need a small room that can accommodate my toy collection while my apartment is getting renovated. I’ll try to look for facilities that offer self-storage units and inquire about their rates.