What You Need to Know About Self Storage Prices

Jon Fesmire | Jun 30, 2021 @ 11:41 AM

So, you’re ready to rent a self storage unit. There are so many great reasons to do so. A storage unit can help you move, act as an off-season closet for clothing and sports equipment, provide extra space for your business, and a lot more.

You’re probably wondering how much it’s going to cost and why prices can vary so much. Well, that has to do with a plethora of factors, which we’ll cover here.

Inflation

Because of inflation, everything rises in price at some point. The same is true for self storage rental prices. Expect rental prices to increase at about the same rate. If inflation one year is 1.2%, then on average, storage rental prices will go up by that much.

Supply and Demand

We’ve all learned in elementary school about supply and demand, and this economic rule holds true most of the time. At the beginning of COVID, when people were hoarding hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and paper towels, you could find them on resale sites like eBay for absurdly high prices.

Speaking of COVID, as the pandemic took over the world in 2020, the demand for self storage grew. People had to move into smaller homes and therefore needed somewhere to keep a lot of their stuff until they could afford larger homes again. Because of increased demand, some properties raised their prices.

We’ll see supply and demand reflected in other price factors, too.

New Property Construction

The self storage industry keeps growing, and to meet demand, growing companies build new properties. When that happens, supply and demand come into closer alignment, and prices lower so that properties can remain competitive. As more people fill those facilities with their belongings, demand increases, supply lowers, and prices rise.

Space Sizes

In a grocery store, prices for smaller packages are less than prices for larger packages. However, the larger the package, the less you pay per space. The same idea applies to self storage units.

Small spaces rent for less than large units, but the larger the space, the less you’ll pay per square foot.

Let’s take a case study. We looked up a random storage facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, and will use their listed prices. All the units quoted here are standard, drive-up units. The prices are as follows.

  • Small, 5’x10’ space - $68 per month
  • Medium, 10’x10’ space - $90 per month
  • Medium, 10’x15’ space - $127 per month
  • Large, 10’x20’ space - $145 per month
  • X-Large, 10’x30’ space - $198 per month
  • X-Large, 10’x40’ space - $227 per month

To calculate the rental price per square foot, multiply the dimensions of the unit. That will give you the square footage. Then, divide the rental price by the square footage. The results for the examples above are as follows.

  • Small, 5’x10’ space  - $1.36 per square foot per month
  • Medium, 10’x10’ space  - $0.90 per square foot per month
  • Medium, 10’x15’ space  - $0.85 per square foot per month
  • Large, 10’x20’ space - $0.72 per square foot per month
  • X-Large, 10’x30’ space  - $0.66 per square foot per month
  • X-Large, 10’x40’ space - $0.56 per square foot per month

Climate Control

Anywhere that the weather gets hot and humid, cold and dry, or both, we recommend tenants rent units with climate control. Yes, these do rent for more than standard units, usually between 30% and 50% more. However, they offer superior protection for your stuff against cracking, warping, mold, and other damaging conditions. Properties keep the temperatures in their climate-controlled units between 50 and 80 degrees, and the humidity between 30% and 50%, excellent conditions for almost all your stuff.

Depending on the climate in your area, you may pay less for a standard unit, but you may end up paying more later to replace items or have them repaired.

The Area

The location of a property contributes to the rental prices, too, and this goes back to supply and demand. There’s more demand for storage in urban areas, so storage spaces in cities are cheaper than units in rural areas.

Also, the cost of living in an area affects storage rental prices. The higher the cost of living, the higher the rent, the same as with residences and offices.

The Time of Year

If you rent a storage space in the summer, when more people are moving between school semesters and such, expect self storage rental prices to rise. With the increased demand between May and September, self storage prices go up.

If you need a space long term, consider renting one in the off-season months. Your rent will be less likely to go up.

Discounts

It’s easy to find discounts and special offers from storage facilities. For example, you may find a $1 move-in special, where if you rent for two months, you pay just $1 for the first month’s rent. Or, you may find a special where the second month is half off. These are examples of deals that require an initial two-month commitment, but there are other deals out there.

Military members often get a discount on everything, including rent every month and purchases on items in the office store. Usually, this is 10% off. Some facilities may offer discounts to students, or you may find special deals on storage from your car insurance company.

Don’t Forget Protection/Insurance

Remember that the property will require you to have self storage protection/insurance. However, you don’t have to find it yourself. They can provide it for you. Expect to pay $10 to $15 for $2000 in insurance, and around $30 for $5000.

Amenities

Expect prices to be higher at newer properties and those with more modern technology. A property with 24-hour camera surveillance will charge over one that doesn’t have this feature. One with individually alarmed spaces rather than a general alarm system, with Bluetooth locks rather than standard keyed locks, and other state-of-the-art features will rent their spaces for more as well.

Those are the largest factors affecting your monthly self storage rental price. When searching for a property, keep all these in mind, and weigh cost versus location, features, and so on.