You wouldn’t sign a lease to an apartment without making sure it had a bathroom first, would you? I challenge you to apply that same logic to renting your storage unit in regard to its amenities.
That isn’t an easy task if you don’t know what climate control protects or what a resident manager is. So, we’ve trolled through our thousands of clients’ amenities to make this comprehensive list with descriptions and situations where they are a must for renters.
If you are storing antiques, important documents or anything that could be warped by extreme temperatures, a climate-controlled unit is right for you. These units are kept between a specified temperature range year-round. The downside is that they are usually more expensive than a traditional unit. You might also see this listed as “interior storage” but that doesn’t always mean its climate controlled. Double check with the manager to make sure.
If you are an avid wine collector but don’t have the space at home or you have kids running around, you can find a storage facility that has wine storage. The facility staff should be experts in wine storage so you can be confident that your wine will be stored properly.
Some facilities have limited access hours during the day while others will allow you to come and go at anytime. This is important for renters that work wonky hours or want the peace of mind knowing they can pick up heirlooms or tools without waiting.
Mobile storage basically brings the storage unit to you, which is perfect for someone who doesn’t want to drive a moving truck around town. Each mobile storage company offers different features, but the main idea stays the same. The company will bring you the unit then drive it back to its facility or to your next destination.
Boxes and supplies
When you see this on a storage facility’s website, it means the facility sells moving and packing material at their office. It’s perfect for renters that don’t want to run around town searching for supplies.
A resident manager lives onsite, but don’t be concerned, they aren’t living in a unit. They’ll have a home or apartment on the facility, which means if you’re moving in the middle of the night and have an emergency, someone will be there to hear your screams. Or just to answer your questions.
If you hate interacting with other human beings (or you’re busy during regular office hours), the 24-hour kiosk is the way to go. You can rent a unit and/or pay your bill anytime without having to talk to another person or rearranging your schedule.
These are perfect for moving in and out of interior storage. They eliminate the need for you to carry your heavy belongings up stairs. Plus, ramps make it much easier to use dollies and handcarts.
These are units that you can literally back your truck up to. If you have a bad back or knees and don’t want to carry your boxes or belongings far, this would be a great option for you. Drive-up access may also be important if you’re on a tight schedule since you can pull up, load up and get going.
If you want to rent your moving truck from the same place you’re renting your unit, look out for this amenity. It eliminates the chaos of dropping your car off and picking up a moving truck somewhere else then having to go back to that business after a tiring move. Some facilities will offer free truck rental, while others will provide a discount. You may want to check with the manager about pricing before you assume the truck is free.
24-hour security cameras
A big concern for most renters is that storage facilities can be a hotbed for crime. One way to protect your unit is to rent from a facility that keeps its security cameras running 24/7. Pair this with a resident manager to look over a fully fenced facility and you’ve found the safety trifecta.
Fenced and gated facility
This is another security measure. An electronic gate will allow only renters to enter the facility. If you’re searching online or over the phone, make sure to ask about the height and material of the fence. You don’t want it to be short enough for criminals to easily jump
Online bill pay
If you value convenience and have an Internet connection, online bill pay is right down your alley. Some facilities will still make you drop off a check or call in your payment. Don’t get stuck in the Stone Age if you like to keep things fast paced.
Some facilities will boast RV, car and boat parking but it will just be in a parking lot. Covered parking will keep your vehicles safe from the elements like rain, snow, hail and anything else that falls from the sky and tries to damage your vehicle.
Many storage facilities have embraced the green movement and put solar panels on their facilities. Texan Self Storage in Wimberley, Texas has a 30,000 gallon rainwater collection system and a 10kw wind turbine. So, if the sustaining the earth is something you’re passionate about, ask if the facility has made any environmentally friendly strides.
Our favorite fun amenities
We’ve been in the self storage game for a while so we’ve seen some funny and brilliant amenities. Here are our top five favorite:
- Free coffee
- Document shredding
- Free smiles
- Friendly dog
- Charity drop off
- Ice cream truck parking
Don’t go with the first facility you find in a Google search, phonebook or storage facility aggregator. Figure out what amenities you couldn’t live without while taking into account price and location. It would be a pain to move in and realize they didn’t have everything you wanted and have to move again.
With approximately 48,500 storage facilities in the United States, chances are there are several to choose from in your market. Make sure you ask the managers hard-hitting questions and compare cost, location and amenities so you can be confident that you are getting the right storage unit for you.