If you’re experienced in the world of self storage and have rented a storage unit before you might know that there’s quite a bit of difference between storage operators – or you might have just plumped for the first brightly coloured company you stumbled across. Likewise, if you’re new to self storage it might all look the same – after all it’s simply renting some space somewhere to keep stuff you haven’t got enough room for – right? Well, not exactly. There are a multitude of differences – some big, some small – between self storage providers. It can be difficult to decipher, so here is our quick guide to comparing self storage and how to ensure you get the very best deal on your extra space.
Just like different brands of most products or services, self storage providers are different in the way they do things. For some, the lowest offer price point is the be-all-and-end-all. Others like to be all modern and bold with bright corporate colours. Whilst for some (like us) it’s about maintaining a healthy balance of great prices and customer service. When it comes to choosing where to store, your personal values will be at the core of your decision.
Are you Price or Service lead?
Are you a lowest-possible-price hunter or more of a don’t-mind-paying-a-little-more-for-great-service mindset? If it is the former make sure you really are getting the best deal available. As is so often the case – it can pay to read the small print. Examine and weigh up offers along with the all important terms and conditions. How long is the minimum storage term? What is the minimum notice period if you want to move out? Are there any additional freebies that would otherwise cost you more? Is there a lowest price guarantee? They are kinds of questions you should be asking.
How good are the facilities?
It’s all well and good getting the cheapest price, but not if the storage you are renting is un-secure and poor quality. Modern self storage operators should have (at the very least) CCTV coverage, key-card entry, private parking/loading bays with an array of manual handling trolleys, and, of course, lockable units that only you can access.
What are the staff like?
If you’re researching storage facilities properly, you’ll probably check a couple out, which means you’ll get given a tour by a member of staff. That’ll give you an idea of the sort of operation and service you can expect. If they come over all reading-from-a-sheet-robot-like you might decide that it’s not the venue for you to store at. On the other hand if they’re warm, welcoming and actually interested in you then it could make all the difference to your self storage experience.
Corporate or Indy?
Some like the security of a big brand, knowing that they’ll be getting a service that has a consistent wider national network behind it. Others prefer the more welcoming, perhaps less corporate approach of the independent operator.
As with many walks of business some self storage companies are national or global corporate players – which often means the profits are going to shareholders. It does mean that there are usually resources available to ensure tip-top facilities and industry leading process – through the drawback is that staff can sometimes seem a bit disenfranchised from the company. Your average independent operator on the other hand won’t necessarily have the slick marketing and cutting-edge systems. But what they usually lack on that front they make up for in genuine customer service.
If you’ve shortlisted your final two and are still struggling to choose then look at the little extras – look out for great ‘added value’ services – like staff taking care of despatch and receiving of post and packages (really useful if you’re running a mail order business from your storage unit). Freebies like wifi and tea and coffee are common place – so you never know, it might even come down to the quality of the biscuits.
With all that said, we’re independent, our prices are as competitive as you’ll find (we offer a price promise), we’ve got the very latest booking and management systems and a loyal staff who’ve been with us a very long time. So, it is possible to tick all the boxes after all.