Self Storage vs. Mobile Storage

When choosing between storage options, you have several choices. You may want to opt for one of the various types of standard self storage facilities, or you may find that the level of convenience offered by mobile storage units better suits your needs. What is the difference? Both self storage and mobile storage companies rent different sized rooms to store items. Mobile storage companies go one step further, however. They bring the storage unit to you and will take it away and store it at their facility if you like. They also will move the unit to another location, even across the country, if you so choose.

Both self storage and mobile storage companies offer some of the same features in their units, but they also have notable differences...

  1. Both come in various sizes. You can rent a self storage unit as small as a closet or big enough to hold your RV. Mobile storage units can be small 5-feet by 8-feet metal containers or large ones that extend to 45-feet. Sizes vary by company.
  2. Both offer different levels of security. Some self storage units are in buildings with drive-up doors or outdoor lots with partitioned sections. You provide your own lock. Most self storage units are surrounded by a fence with a security gate. Some self storage units are housed in buildings that add an extra level of protection by providing external security doors in addition to internal locks on each unit. Some companies provide security guards, cameras and onsite, 24-hour management. Mobile units are held within a secure facility when at the company. While at your home, security features can include different types of locks and different types of doors. Some of these are very sophisticated and specially designed to protect valuables. Normally, only you have the key. Check with the storage provider you choose for their specific security measures.
  3. Both self storage and mobile storage companies have options to fit different price needs. Prices for mobile storage will include transportation fees and gas costs. If you plan to move, check to see how this compares to the cost of renting a truck or mover.
  4. You can rent or lease both types of units, but some mobile storage companies also offer the option to buy the mobile units.
  5. Mobile storage units can be packed at a leisurely pace at home while self storage units require goods to be transported every time you want to pack or unpack items. Your vehicle size will determine the amount you may store on each trip.
  6. Mobile storage units are immediately accessible while at your home, but when they are at the storage facility, you may have to call ahead, maybe even provide a day or two's notice. Units are stacked and may have to be moved for you to reach them. On the other hand, self storage units are never as close as your driveway, but they can normally be accessed at any time once you drive there. You don't usually have to provide advanced notice. Check with your company to be sure of their policy.
  7. Some self storage units offer temperature or climate control features as do some mobile units. This comes at a premium but will allow you to protect items that are sensitive to temperature or humidity.
  8. Self storage units are usually entered through one door while you can choose mobile units with doors on one end, both ends, or one or more doors in the middle.
  9. Self storage units may be covered outdoor plots divided into units by mesh fencing, buildings that house rows of drive-up units or buildings with internal rooms. They often have roll-up doors. Mobile storage units are metal containers that may look like small train cars or semi-trailers without the wheels. Doors can open like a standard door on your home or come with different configurations to enhance security.

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