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The 7 Self Storage Secrets You Must Know Before Renting From Anyone!

Aug 17, 2007
These Seven Secrets of Self Storage will help you save money, get the best deal possible, and will help you make a great decision, no matter where you rent self storage.

Secret #1:
Some facilities make it a practice to move you in at a low rate only to raise the rent a few months later. Before you decide to rent, ask the manager how often they raise their rates. If the answer sounds good to you, ask them to put it in writing. If they are not willing to do this, you may be better off looking somewhere else.

Secret #2:
This is a good one. No matter how much or little it rains in your area, if at all possible, visit the Storage Facility the day after a rain storm and ask to see the actual unit you would be renting. Once inside, check for any puddles on the floor or water marks on the walls. Many times water stains will remain on the walls for months after the last rain. Since storage facilities are not responsible for water damage to your goods, this Secret could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Secret #3:
Will you need to access your storage space frequently? Answer this question first and it will help you rent the unit size that is not too small and not too big, either saving you much frustration or a good deal of money.

If you plan to access your unit frequently, rent a unit ONE SIZE LARGER than the Site Manager recommends. By doing this, you'll have some elbow room to make narrow hallways in and around your boxes and furniture. This way, you'll be able to reach the back, the middle and the sides of your unit with ease. (Your blood pressure probably dropped a few points just thinking about it!)

If you plan to "store and run" and won't be needing access often, select the unit size recommended, or even one size smaller. With proper box stacking and item arrangement (standing a sofa on end, for example), leaving no extra room as you pack and stack, you'll be able to save money month after month by renting a smaller unit size.

WARNING: We must offer this word of warning. Experience has proven that if you do rent a smaller unit and find that you need to retrieve something quickly, "Murphy's Law" dictates that the item you seek will be located in the back and bottom of the storage unit. Plan your packing carefully to save frustration later!!!

Secret #4:
Most facilities still charge a deposit (which may be refundable months or years later when you move out, if either of you remember), or even worse, some places charge 'Administration Fees' just to fill out some paperwork and punch your name into the computer. These fees can easily add up to over $30 dollars.

Ridiculous! And to make it worse, many times you do not find this out until you are ready to sign up, your rental truck full of possessions waiting in the parking lot.

Be sure to ask over the phone before you visit if there are any 'hidden charges' in additional to the rental rate you are quoted.

Secret #5:
If you don't have access to a moving truck, you will probably have to rent one. Some facilities offer rental trucks along with storage units. Since it is they who are renting you the vehicle, it never hurts to ask for a kick-back on the rental of the truck.

If they really want your business bad enough, they might consider waiving the deposit, giving you a credit for free miles or at best even a complimentary truck with no charge at all. The business of self storage can be very competitive at times. So remember, it never hurts to ask.

Secret #6:
As I mentioned in Secret #2, storage facilities are not responsible for the contents of your unit. It is always a good idea to insure the goods you're intending to store. Storage insurance is almost always available to you when you first sign up to rent.

Some times the facility collects the premium from you directly. When they do this, they usually have a financial interest in doing so. Before the manager at the front desk tries to sell you insurance paid on the spot, check with your own insurance agent because many times your home owner's or renter's insurance policy will cover you for no extra cost.

Secret #7:
The 7th and final Secret: If for any reason you decide not to take out insurance, here are a few ways to prevent the possible loss of items due to theft.

When packing your storage unit, place valuable items such as electronics, tools, unloaded guns, etc. near the back of the unit, out of sight and difficult to reach quickly. When your door is open, be alert other people trying to get a good look inside your unit. They won't be tempted by what they don't see.

If you see somebody lurking around your unit, report them to the site manager immediately. These are just a few of many tips to help you store smarter, safer and less expensively.

BONUS Secret #8:
Well, I couldn't resist. I had to throw in a "freebee" Secret just for good measure. Ok, now that you are ready to shop around, I can't stress this enough.

You MUST visit the storage facilities and not just call.

When you visit, get to know the managers and MAKE SURE THEY LIVE ONSITE! If the managers don't live onsite, move on to the next facility. Experience has proven that when the facility has live-in managers, much less "bad stuff" happens. It only makes sense. Onsite managers are keeping an eye on your stuff 24/7.

While at the facility, have the managers give you a tour of the facility. Take a good look around and make your own judgment based on the appearance of each facility you visit and the conditions of the units the managers show you. You must feel comfortable with the Storage Managers, and you must feel confident in the site's ability to protect your interests.

Well, there they are, the Seven (well, actually 8) Self Storage Secrets You MUST KNOW Before Renting From ANYONE!

Please remember, no matter who you decide to store with, I hope these Self Storage Secrets help you make a more informed decision when renting a self storage unit. Thanks for reading and I wish you the best Storage Success!
About the Author
David Luce is the Operations Manager for AAA Storage, a private storage company specializing in building and managing clean, safe storage facilities. AAA Storage provides affordable, hassle-free storage in all sizes so that customers only pay for the space that they need. Receive Self Storage Tips and FREE Self Storage Coupons at aaa-storage.com
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