Space, Time and Insurance – the basics of Self Storage Pricing


How a self storage unit is priced can sometimes seem a tad complicated, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to demystify it. We can’t speak for other operators, but at ABC Selfstore there’s no complex sorcery to our pricing, just the basic factors of Space, Time and Insurance. It’s a personal thing too, which is why you won’t find self storage on Price Comparison websites. So here’s our inside take on how we price up our storage units and how you can keep your storage costs down…

When we talk about Time and Space in pricing a storage unit we haven’t gone all Stephen Hawking or Dr Who.  In our world they’re much simpler concepts.

Let’s start with Space – In self storage we measure space in square footage. The more room you require, the more square footage you will need.   The price per square foot will vary from location to location, which is down to local running costs and demand.

As a general rule price per square foot gets cheaper the more you have. Think about it like bulk or multi-buy in the shops – per 100ml a single can of Coke usually works out  more expensive than a large 3 litre bottle or a case of cans.

Hint 1: Avoid end up paying for square feet you aren’t going to use – making sure you rent a Unit that’s exactly the right amount of space (check out our handy space estimator)  is important for keeping your storage costs as low as possible.

Next up is Time – The cost per square foot is usually given in weeks (for example 50 sqft @ £33 per week) and billed in advance (by credit/debit card or direct debit) on a 4 weekly basis.

Most companies also have a term of minimum stay – usually a week, sometimes a month. Regardless of how long you’re using your unit that can add costs when you move out. For example – if  you have your unit for 9 weeks, but leave your unit on day 3 of week 8 you’ll be paying for the 4 days you haven’t used.  You can be stung for more by companies with monthly minimum terms…

At ABC Selfstore we don’t think that’s very fair. You shouldn’t have to pay what you don’t need.  Since day one our ‘Only pay for the days you stay’ guarantee has meant we’ve always refunded our customers for any time paid for but not used.  There are no strings attached to that – we don’t require any prior-notice of move out and the are no early cancellation fees.

You also find most operators offer discounts for long-term storage (which brings us back to that multi-buy analogy again).

Hint 2: ensure you find a storage provider with an only pay for the days you stay billing policy – that way you won’t ever end up playing for days you haven’t used or don’t need.

OK, Space and Time, simple so far…  but there’s one other key aspect to factor in when pricing Self Storage – Insurance.

In addition to Space and Time almost all reputable storage companies require you have Insurance for the things you keep in your unit.  It’s a standard industry practice that ensures you are covered for any loss if something unforseen happens – like a fire spreading from a neighbouring building.

Your insurance cost is calculated against the replacement value of the goods you are storing. As such it is impossible for any company to include insurance in their storage costs until you have given them a figure. Most (ourselves included) will be really happy to help you calculate that replacement value of the things you are storing.

Hint 3: The storage company will have done the hard work. Most home insurance policies don’t cover self storage so many Storage providers have arrangements with insurance companies and offer ‘in-house’ policies alongside the unit rental. They make a lot of sense, because they are specifically tailored for the storage industry.

So that’s it, the basics of pricing a storage unit: Space, Time and Insurance.

Of course – you’ll find plenty of introductory discounts, price promises and special deals on offer. Make the most of them, but always keep the basics in mind, so you don’t end up paying later. Our best advice here is calculate the cost of your storage – including any discounts – across the entire time you’re expecting to store for.  Factor in the discounts and see if they really are cheaper long-term.

Finally, don’t go looking for Self Storage on Price Comparison sites… the differences in geography and technical systems for comparing prices across the industry make it difficult. More importantly all operators like to ensure their customers get the best possible deal, which is much easier if you’re not paying big commissions to 3rd parties.

And if you’re ready to get a quote – get stuck in on our storage pricing page

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