According to the Self Storage Association, there are more than 52,000 storage facilities across the US. That’s approximately 2.86 million units! So with all of those choices, how do you find the one that’s right for you?
Your first move is probably to search for the storage facilities that are closest to you. Go ahead; we’ll wait. Did that search yield way too many options? If your next instinct is to narrow it down by looking at reviews on Google or Yelp, here’s how to weed through the various rants and raves and use that information to find the perfect storage facility.
Look in More Than One Place
There are a ton of review sites out there, so be sure to check out all of them. That includes Yelp, Google and the storage facility’s Facebook page. This is the best way to find recent reviews, so be sure to check the dates when scrolling through. A review from five months ago is way more relevant than a review from five years ago.
Take Negative Reviews with a Grain of Salt
People are more inclined to take the time to review storage facilities if they’re really fired up. Occasionally, that’s the result of a very positive experience, but more often than not, that’s the result of a negative experience. While you should definitely take the time to read the words of unhappy customers, be wary of certain reviews. If the review is written by someone who never actually rented a unit at the storage facility, had their unit auctioned off due to inability to pay rent or is using discriminatory language in their review, disregard it.
Look for Responses and Updated Reviews
It’s always a good sign when you see the manager of a storage facility responding to reviews. Ideally, you’ll see the manager thanking customers who left positive reviews and apologizing to (and offering to further assist) customers who left negative reviews. Another promising sign is a number of updated reviews that demonstrate the storage facility’s ability to address and fix problems. On the other hand, if the storage facility’s manager is responding to negative reviews in a manner that’s unprofessional, stay away.
Be Wary of Fake Reviews
Unfortunately, some businesses hire people to write glowing reviews in order to trick savvy consumers like you. Fortunately, these same businesses are rarely smart enough to do a convincing job of it. Here are just a few of the many, many ways to spot a fake review:
Multiple reviews use the same key phrases (and those key phrases sound a lot like ad copy).
You click on the reviewer’s Yelp profile and notice that they only write extremely glowing reviews for businesses.
The reviewer knows way too much about self storage and is listing features and amenities from the facility’s website.
You see multiple reviews with similar themes posted within hours of each other.
In addition to trusting your gut when reading self storage reviews, you can use Fakespot to analyze the facility’s Yelp page for you.
Identify a Theme
After reading Yelp, Google and Facebook reviews, you’ll probably notice a trend in reviews. Sometimes that will be a positive trend, other times it will be a negative one. Either way, be aware of it. Pay attention to things like a specific person on staff being mentioned either for great customer service or terrible customer service as well as recurring praise of the facility or reoccurring problems. Are there five different reviews from people complaining about their storage units being broken into? Stay away. Are there five different reviews from people complimenting the storage facility’s awesome employees? Go ahead and book a storage unit.