Get the Most Out of Your Storage Unit

When choosing a facility for self-storage, residents should be aware of a number of important considerations. Since you will entrust the company you select with your belongings, knowing what to expect from your self-storage provider is crucial. These tips from the Better Business Bureau will help you ask the right questions in order to ensure that you pick the ideal storage company for your lifestyle.

Access to Your Belongings
If having daily, 24-hour access to your personal or business items is important, be sure to ask about this feature when shopping for self-storage. Some facilities limit clients’ access, especially overnight. Even if you don’t anticipate a need to be able to visit your storage unit at all times, it’s good to know ahead of time whether you can do so. If you require easy access to your unit from your vehicle, find out if this is allowed as well.

Climate Controlled Storage Units
Self-storage is in high demand around the country and is essential in certain cities with high sea levels. Residents in the states of Virginia and South Carolina are subjected to high risk of flooding. For these reasons, basements and other common storage areas in the home can be poor choices for safeguarding your belongings. Consider choosing a climate-controlled storage facility as an added precaution to prevent mold or water damage to your clothing, papers, books and other business or household items.

Self-Storage Prices
As with any consumer or business service, it pays to shop around for the best storage facility rates. Compare the prices of at least three self-storage companies in your area before making a choice. Many facilities offer promotional rates from time to time, as well as special ongoing discounts, so be sure to inquire about those.

Other Services
In addition to monthly rates, ask about pest control and tenant insurance. These commonly overlooked items can really pay off in terms of protecting your items if natural disaster strikes or pest infestation occurs. Some facilities also offer packing, transportation and related supplies, so consider checking prices if these items might be helpful to you.

Storage Restrictions
Most self-storage companies have rules in place regarding items that can be stored in their units. Perishable items may not be allowed in order to prevent attracting rodents and insects. Aerosol cans can be hazardous or cause damage if they leak, and fragrances can wreak havoc on personal belongings as well. Firearms are banned in some places — an important consideration for hunters.

Other Important Self-Storage Issues
When calling facilities, ask whether an on-site manager is available. Many companies also offer surveillance and other forms of security to protect your belongings. Finally, be sure you can afford to pay your bill on time. The company you choose will have access to your items, and they have the right to auction them off and/or evict you for nonpayment.When it comes to self-storage in areas prone to flooding like Richmond , Alexandria and even New Orleans, asking the right questions and having realistic expectations prevents misunderstandings and helps you get the maximum value for your money.

Mercedes Potter is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow her @CedesPotter.

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