You’ve decided to rent a storage unit. Good news! There are currently over 2 billion square feet of storage in the United States. Your chances of finding a reliable facility close to home are pretty solid.
If this is the first time you’ve considered self storage, you probably have several questions. Here are some of the most common inquiries – and if you don’t find the answer below, please feel free to reach out to us in the Comments section.
Cheat Sheet: The Answers to 10 Important Storage Questions
1. When I call my self-storage center, will I talk to the on-site manager or someone in another time zone?
Dealing with someone who cannot offer direct help when you have an immediate issue is frustrating. When vetting storage providers, be sure to ask how you can reach a local manager when you have site-specific questions.
Current Life Storage customers can speak with store managers during regular business hours. Our telephone system identifies customer phone numbers and automatically reroutes the caller directly to the store. However, for emergencies when our storage offices are closed, our Customer Care Center is open 24 hours to answer calls and assist customers.
2. I’m busy! Is the facility accessible seven days a week, 24 hours a day?
If you want the freedom to come and go from your self storage facility as you please, you need to ask — the answer will vary at different outlets.
Life Storage facilities are open for access 365 days a year. Most facilities offer access from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m, but some do allow 24/7 access. For a full list of Life Storage locations, check our online map.
3. I’d like to know what other people think. Where can I read customer reviews?
Taking the time to research self storage options makes sense. Pay a visit to consumer-focused sites like Angie’s List (a subscription is needed to access reviews), a hub for reviews like Yelp, a public watchdog like Consumer Affairs and others before committing to a storage provider.
For what it’s worth, out of over 100,000 responses, Life Storage learned that 9 out of 10 customers would recommend us to friends and family. “Everything was explained thoroughly, and service was quick and accurate. Service was also polite, professional, and courteous,” writes Jasmine from Buffalo, NY. Thanks, Jasmine!
4. I have some valuable stuff. How secure are the storage units?
Last year, a study of thousands of customer reviews concluded that renters believe U.S. storage facilities are very secure. We agree, and Life Storage maintains several systems to help keep our customers and their belongings safe.
Life Storage facilities have heavy perimeter fencing, bright facility lighting, and offer surveillance monitoring at most locations. Storage customers receive a personalized access code for the keypads that open the gates and interior buildings. For visibility and safety, each hall and isle is brightly lit. The renter owns their lock — only they have keys to unlock and access the storage unit
“We check the property daily and use the best locks for our storage units,” says Don Favreau, area manager for Arizona and Colorado. “We take pride in the security at all of our locations, so our customer’s don’t have to worry about this.”
5. Do on-site managers know who is on the premises at each facility at all times?
Check with the staff at a prospective storage facility to make sure they are aware of who is on the property at all times. All Life Storage facilities, for instance, have cameras pointing towards the pedestrian gate. When customers enter their access code, the entry is recorded so our team always knows who is accessing the grounds.
6. How do you prevent pest problems?
Life Storage facilities are routinely treated by professional, third-party pest control companies. These services help keep outside pests from entering our facilities.
We also have to do our best to be sure customers don’t bring pests in with the items they store. Customers may not store food of any form – it doesn’t matter if it is canned or otherwise packaged or sealed. Also, living organisms may not be kept in a storage unit. Violation of these terms in our rental agreement are grounds termination of the rental.
Containers can sometimes be an issue with pests. People sometimes use boxes from supermarkets or convenience stores to pack their goods – a terrible idea, since these boxes may attract insects and other tiny pests because of the scent of food.
A storage unit should have a thick rubber lining around the bottom and tight sealing around the sides. If a storage unit looks like it would fail the “wiggle” test – meaning a tiny space could be wiggled between the ground and the door – keep looking. Once a space is vacated at Life Storage, the door seal will be inspected to be sure it is functioning properly.
7. Am I obligated to rent a storage unit for a specific length of time?
Rental agreements are typically on a month-to-month basis, often with no long-term commitment or minimum stay. Always read your contract carefully. Life Storage provides monthly storage agreements, as well as several discounts and special deals.
8. How much does storage cost?
Price will depend on size of the storage space, location and availability, so there’s no blanket answer. Call to speak with a representative to learn exactly how much you’d be paying for your ideal storage unit.
Storage facilities often run specials, so don’t miss out. Life Storage, for example, offers free truck rentals with each storage rental.
9. Do I need insurance? Does Life Storage offer insurance?
Insurance may not be a requirement everywhere, but it’s certainly recommended. If you don’t carry your own insurance on your homeowner’s or rental policy, storage providers often provide their own forms of insurance.
“Typically, standard homeowners and renters insurance policies do include off-premises property protection for theft and damage from fires and other disasters,” Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, told Jay McDonald in an interview for Bankrate.com. “But to what extent the coverage applies to a storage facility really depends on the insurance company.”
Life Storage requires all customers to provide proof of insurance. We also offer inexpensive coverage through a third party provider. The payment will be taken out each month with your rental payment.
10. How do I know how much space I need?
Storage typically comes in these standard sizes:
- 5’ x 5’ (25 sq ft.)
- 5’ x 10’ (50 sq ft.)
- 10’ x 10’ (100 sq ft.)
- 10’ x 15’ (150 sq ft.)
- 10’ x 20’ (200 sq ft.)
- 10’ x 30’ (300 sq. ft).
“We offer tons of sizes and environments,” Favreau says. “The beauty of variation is that you can get exactly what you need. Make sure you’re not getting ripped off by companies trying to sell you space you don’t need.”
Life Storage also offers a handy space estimator, so you can play around with different storage unit sizes and see what will work best.