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Industry Report
 
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU RENT A STORAGE UNIT…
 
Self-Storage is on the rise, but does the consumer know what to look  for when renting a storage unit?
 
Save money by using the most optimal size!
When shopping around for self-storage make sure the facility you choose specializes in self-storage.  They need to be experts in renting storage units and must be able to help you choose the correct size for your needs. Not only should they be able to save you money in selecting the correct size, but also
in making recommendations on the most efficient way to utilize your unit.  This will be of great service in helping you protect your sensitive items and it will allow for a much easier move out from your storage unit.

Do they offer a packing guide or professional advice on using self-storage?
It is important to find a storage facility that is knowledgeable and willing to give you advice on the most efficient way of packing your unit. Offering a packing guide is a good indication that management is proactive and ready to educate you on the best and most effective way of utilizing your storage area. This guide will be of great value, as it will make suggestions on how to pack the unit to allow access to items you will need while utilizing the storage space.  In addition, the packing guide will give you helpful hints on how to move, store and protect your sensitive items.

What security features are most important?
Security is one of the top three reasons a customer chooses a self-storage facility.  This is a valid consideration as many locations are inferior in terms of what they offer in the way of security features.  Even if you live in a safe area, it is critical that you choose a location that will do everything possible to protect your belongings.  Be sure the
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location you select has security fencing and lighting all around the storage area.  The fencing will help keep intruders from entering the storage area, while the lighting will help prevent after-hours crime as a result of the increased visibility. Ask if the storage facility offers an electronic access system. Electronic access systems are great for protecting your belongings and deterring crime. These systems only allow access to current customers, they provide a printout of who is entering and exiting the storage area and they help to monitor any suspicious activity. Lastly, make sure you ask the manager what services they will provide to help protect your valuables. For example, do they conduct an on-site security check each day to ensure the safety of every storage unit?  Have they given the local authorities a twenty-four hour gate code to conduct drive thru security checks, anytime, day or night?  These are just a few considerations to investigate when looking at the security of a self-storage facility.

Is customer service really important when using self-storage?
When selecting a self-storage location, be sure the management is helpful and willing to take care of your every need.  This can be easily determined from the initial phone call or visit to the facility. Is the manager friendly, helpful and available on-site during business hours?  Do they make suggestions on how to store and pack your belongings?  How are they at assessing your needs and making recommendations on the correct unit size (which will save you money and/or frustration caused by moving into a unit that is too small or too large)?  Does the management
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appear to be proactive and helpful in collecting rent on time – i.e. sending out monthly invoices as friendly reminders?  This is especially useful in helping you to avoid paying late charges that, over a period of time, increase the cost of your storage unit. Does the facility offer services to help you take care of all your moving needs in one location – such as free use of a truck, supplying moving supplies, boxes and locks?  As the self-storage industry continues to become more retail oriented, the need for these types of customer service will become a necessity.

Do you need climate-controlled storage?
The demand for climate-controlled storage continues to grow as the consumer becomes better educated on how to use it. This type of storage is used primarily by a company storing documents, pharmaceutical sales reps, individuals storing antiques, electronics, pictures or items that are sensitive to fluctuations in temperature or humidity levels. The vast majority of self-storage users can store their belongings in a non-climate controlled storage unit, especially if it is insulated properly. If you only have a few items that are sensitive to temperature or humidity change, you might consider renting two units.  A small climate controlled unit can house those few sensitive items and an additional non-climate unit can be utilized for everything else.
 
 
This report was written by Brad North, founder of Advantage Business Consulting.  Mr. North specializes in consulting to the self-storage industry.  For more information contact: www.AdvantageBusiness
Consulting.com
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