5 Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Self-Storage Facility
When you’re choosing a storage unit there are a lot of variables to consider. Too often price seems to overshadow a variety of other important selection criteria when choosing a self-storage facility. Not all storage facilities are the same in terms of their; location, building design, construction, and management. Here are some things you really should consider before price! These are the top 5 mistakes people make when choosing a storage facility.
1. Not studying the neighborhood around the facility:
Storage facilities are often put in low-cost per square foot locations. Municipalities don’t like the look of metal buildings, so they are often buried behind larger buildings. Some facilities are placed in low-income areas because the cost of the building is so low. This is also why many storage facilities are in rural areas.
All three of our AppleWood Self-Storage facilities are in the City of Madison, supported by full police and fire protection. Building our facilities in quality neighborhoods was a large portion of the criteria for us. We want our customers to feel safe visiting our facilities whenever they need to.
2. Not considering the building construction itself:
There are two types of self-storage facility builds. One is that it is built for the use of storage while the other is a conversion project. So, what is the difference and how can you tell which is which. Many big box stores that went out of business become conversions into storage. Cities don’t like it when a large store leaves and they have a large building left empty. These old stores often become storage facilities.
Built for storage:
The benefits of a storage facility built for storage are that it was designed with you in mind. You can usually access your storage unit from your car or within a few steps. Many of these storage facilities are on one level so you don’t have to deal with stairs. Typically, these are the buildings you can see the doors from the outside. They don’t have steps to deal with or elevators to lug your items up to your unit. Instead, the 1-story building design like all our AppleWood Storage facilities is designed for quick, easy ground-floor access.
Many conversions are old warehouses or big box stores that have closed. They weren’t designed for storage and that can cause some issues with how they are designed. As business owners try to make this work, they want to get the most money possible out of the conversion. This means they can be stuck with the building layout. Sometimes the issues are ventilation or lighting. Too often you have only one main entrance to park, unload and bring your items through that one door, then off through the maze somewhere to find your unit. If using a professional mover, movers into and out of this type of access will take more time, costing you more money!
Ask yourself these questions. If you are just storing small items or don’t access your unit often either one could work. If you are accessing a lot, having the convenience of a drive-up ground-floor unit would make your storage life, much easier. Making the mistake of the one that doesn’t fit your needs can end up costing a lot of money and time. Look at how far away from your storage unit you had to park. How much more costly was it for your professional mover to spend more time moving in, then later, moving out. Did you have to walk some distance to get to your storage unit? Were there stairs involved or an elevator that is not working needed to use to get to your storage unit? Also, look at security, do they have cameras or was there someone on-site?
3. Big National Chain vs. Local, Family-Owned Facility:
Bigger is not always better. Big companies have decision-making paralysis and often staff can’t be flexible because the corporate policy won’t allow it. Working with a smaller, locally-owned facility can often provide you a degree of empathy and flexibility with specific needs your situation may call for. You will also find their pricing is managed by an algorithm that dictates pricing changes daily, similar to trying to go online and search for airline flights. Also, once you move in you will learn quickly that they raise prices numerous times throughout the year!
4. Giving Back, Being Part of the Community:
If civic involvement and giving back to the community is important to you, a facility’s involvement should be on their website.
Being local and family-owned we have supported the Madison Police Department and Dane County Sheriff in a variety of ways. All facilities are approved K9 training locations for MPD and Dane County Sheriff’s K9 teams. We also are financial sponsors of the Freeway Service Truck and Dane County Sheriff’s Safety App Environmentally, our newest Marsh Rd location is 96% solar self-sufficient.
5. Being Guided Solely By Price:
The reality is that like most purchases, you get what you pay for and most likely you are paying the lowest price for a reason. There are costs associated with time and effort to manage professionally any business. Would you choose a facility where corners are cut in professional security, pest control services, facility maintenance practices? Also, being civic conscious, giving back to the community, and being environmentally responsible have costs associated with them. The byproduct of low price is often a result of cutting corners in some way. Are your possessions worth cutting corners on? This is by far the most common of the 5 mistakes people make when choosing a self-storage facility.