1. How much space do you need?
How much room do you actually need?
It’s a common mistake for people to take out – and pay for – more space than they need. So, best to air on the side of too small rather than too big. Most purpose built self storage facilities will allow you to change room size pretty easily, so if you need somewhere bigger at a later date it shouldn’t be a problem. Another consideration is what you’re planning to use the space for. If you’ll be dipping in and out to access your stuff on a regular basis, it’s probably better to have a little bit of extra space so you can lay things out so they’re easier to find. If you’re simply storing stuff for a few months then collecting it at the end, finding things won’t be important so you can pack your stuff tight and high, meaning you can probably get away with less space.
2. How much contract flexibility do you need?
Once you know how much space you need, the need thing to consider is what sort of flexibility do you want on your booking? Some facilities might offer you discounts for a longer term. If you want the flexibility to leave when you want, also check the notice period. Most self storage facilities allow you to cancel within a month, but it’s worth checking if there’s a notice period and, if so, what it is.
3. What days and times will you want to access your stuff?
It’s an obvious one, but always check the opening hours of the storage facility. Many close at 5pm on weekdays, have limited opening hours on Saturday and are closed all day on Sunday. That’s fine if you only want to access your stuff during business hours, but many people will want to move stuff in and out during the weekends or in the evenings. The Vault is open every day, 365 days a year from 6am until 11pm.
4. If you need to give other people access (like family, colleagues or delivery drivers) how easy is it?
If you’re a business or wanting family or friends to be able to access your unit sometimes, this is a really important, but often overlooked, question. Will you need other people, friends, family, colleagues or even regular delivery drivers to access your unit? If so, how is this done? In a traditional facility you will have a padlock on your unit and you’ll need to get the key to whoever you want to give access to. A good alternative to this is a combination padlock, so you only need to share the combination.
5. How close to your house/business?
Are you planning to access the facility on a regular basis or is it a one-off drop and store situation? If it’s a one-off, the location isn’t as important and it’s probably better to be more concerned about finding a safe, secure and low-cost facility even if it means more of a drive (especially if the price is significantly lower). On the other hand, if you intend to access it regularly, proximity is much more important and it may be worth paying a bit more.