Things to consider before choosing the right storage company for your belongings

11th November 2019
Things to consider before choosing the right storage company for your belongings

Whether you’re downsizing to a smaller property, moving in with a partner and combining households, renting for a short time while you look for a new home or moving out of your own house temporarily while building work takes place, there are many good reasons for requiring a storage facility.

Choosing the right one will ensure that you don’t pay over the odds for the space you need, while ensuring that your belongings are safe and secure during their time in storage.

Here are some key things to consider when choosing a reputable storage company:

What kind of items do you need to store?

Knowing the type of items you’ll be storing will help you make basic decisions about the type of storage facility you need.

If you have anything that’s temperature sensitive or generally more sensitive it’s important that you opt for indoor storage in a high quality storage facility, as opposed to a generic garage-style or shipping container outdoor facility. Or if you’re planning on storing any valuable items, you’ll need to check the security offered by the storage facility to find out how units are monitored and protected.

Whatever you’re storing, you’ll need to ask what the facility’s policies are in regards to insurance and liability cover. It is important to understand what is and isn’t covered in order to decide whether this is adequate for your needs or whether you should purchase additional cover. More reputable providers are likely to have better security and more robust cover – that will of course be reflected in the price of the storage.

Do you need access to the your items or not?

If you don’t need access to your items or it is unlikely that you will need access, then you’ll have the option of lower cost containerised storage available to you.

Containerised storage is where your items are stored securely for you in a wooden storage container. The container is then stored in a dedicated storage warehouse. As long as you don’t require regular access to your items, this is often the lowest cost and most convenient way to store your items. Your chosen company will usually load the container and move your items into storage for you, that can save you time and effort.

Even with the added convenience of the collection and delivery of your items, containerised storage is often cheaper than self-storage.

How much space do you need for your items?

In order to choose the right size of storage unit or container (and avoid paying for space you don’t need) it’s important to either box up your items in advance to be measured or, if this isn’t practical, make a detailed list of items so that your shortlist of storage providers can give you an estimate of the space you need. Our storage is mainly containerised and this is in cuft. One container is about 220 cuft. Maybe replace or supplement the info on square feet with number of storage containers required. Typically one bed flat could be two to three containers. Two bed four containers. Three bed five containers plus.

Many people choose the smallest storage space possible in order to cut costs. This is understandable, but if items are tightly squeezed in with no space around them, you may find yourself in cramped conditions, unpacking an entire unit to reach one small box at the back.

However, when you select containerised storage having your items packed more tightly is fine as you won’t be requiring access to them until you are ready for them to come out of storage.

If you do need to access your storage regularly, choose a storage space to give yourself space to move around inside the unit easily. If access isn’t required, or if you’ll only be storing items for a short time, packing your boxes tightly together without ventilation around them is perfectly fine.

If you have a few larger items that need storage, you can also select racked storage from certain providers. These are often used for items such as large scale artworks and sculptures, that are difficult to store in standard unit or containers. Again the storage providers will often be able to provide moving services to move your items into and out of store.

How long will you need storage for?

It’s helpful to have a rough idea of how long you’ll need storage for or whether your booking will need to be open-ended. If it’s likely that you’ll be adding items along the way, you’ll also need to factor in some additional space for these.

Depending on the type of storage you opt for, it is worth considering how you want to pack the unit or container you have chosen. Your storage provider, should be able to give you recommendations with this.

Gather quotes from several different providers – and consider location

Rather than asking for information and/or a quote from only your nearest storage provider, cast your net a little further afield as this will allow you to compare facilities and prices to ensure you find the right provider to suit your requirements.

If you live in an inner-city area, it’s also sensible to look for providers that service your area. If you are opting for containerised storage where they will move your items into and out of store, the provider will need to arrange for pick-up. Choosing a provider that works in your area regularly will make things like organising parking permits simpler.

Check out online reviews

Once you have a couple of units in mind, check out their customer reviews on sites like Google Places. If these are universally awful or mention the same negative points repeatedly, you may want to tread carefully, it will certainly be worth speaking with the provider to understand their take on the reviews, so that you can make up your own mind.

Reviews can also give you a good idea of what questions to ask when you visit a facility – which leads us neatly to our next point…

Understand the units where your items will be stored

If you choosing a storage unit that you’ll have access to, it is always advisable to visit the facility in person to see the space available, meet staff and ask questions face-to-face (taking a list along with you so you don’t forget any important ones.) Don’t feel pressured to sign up for anything during your visit, even if staff tell you that space is limited, and you may miss out if you walk away. If you’re interested in a unit, ask to reserve it for 24 hours while you consider your options – most reputable companies will be happy to do this.

Ask to see the actual unit you would be allocated (or at least one on the same floor or in the same area) as this avoids the likelihood of you being shown a lovely clean space on the first floor then being given a dirty third floor unit when you sign on the dotted line. This is especially important if you have any access issues such as being a wheelchair user or having a medical condition that means you find climbing stairs difficult.

Of course if you are opting for containerised storage from a reputable company, these considerations will be less important. However, it is still important to understand where you containers will be stored, so that you can make sure you’re happy that the facilities are up to scratch.

Fire protection

Following on from the point above, whichever storage option you choose, fire protection is a consideration that is often forgotten.

It is important to understand what fire protection measures are in place at the storage facility? For example Cadogan Tate have a comprehensive fire protection and control system monitored 24/7 by an off-site control room. Do the storage facilities you are considering offer a similar level of fire protection.

Water and weather proofing

Most items that you will be storing will be susceptible to weather damage. This makes it important for you to understand the facility where your items will be stored even when this is being taken care of by your storage provider.

Will your items be stored in a leaky barn or a water and weather proof professional storage facility? The most reputable storage facilities will of course be fully water and weather proof.

Collection and delivery service

Collection and delivery of your items into and out of store, is an area that can be overlooked when organising storage. Is this something that you want to do yourself or organise yourself, or would you prefer it to be taken care of for you?

Does the storage company offer a professional collection and delivery service? Or will you be responsible for moving your items to and from the storage facility?

If you’d prefer not to be moving your items yourself, make sure that you select a provider that offers fully trained operatives who can cater for all your moving needs to and from storage. When you select containerised storage, the collection and delivery will typically be taken care of for you.

Minimum contract period

There can often be more to your storage agreement than initially meets the eye. It is important that you understand the small print.

One of the most important areas to understand is to check whether you are tied into a contract for a minimum period. As a comparison, Cadogan Tate will charge you to the day for the amount of time you are in storage for and has no minimum contract period.

Temperature and climate control If you have particularly delicate items, temperature control and potentially climate control can both be important.

Understand if the storage company you are looking at offers temperature and climate-controlled facilities?

If you do need either temperature controlled or climate controlled storage, Cadogan Tate offers both temperature controlled and climate controlled storage rooms for items that need a specialist storage environment.

Don’t be afraid to talk about money

Shop around for a good deal and ask for any special rates or discounts that might be available for new customers.

Ask what will happen if you make a late payment or miss one altogether, as in some cases, failing to make your payments on time could result in your unit’s contents being auctioned off to the highest bidder or you could be charged a daily or weekly fee. Find out how payments can be made too, as each facility has its own rules, and some may be unable to accept your preferred method.

You should also ask storage providers to see a copy of the contract you’ll be asked to sign and whether this will commit you to giving a notice period when you want to remove your items and stop paying your bill. Some companies are happy to let you pay week to week or month to month while others will require a long-term commitment.

Ask about access

When seeking quotes for storage, it’s vital to find out when you’ll be able to access your items, should you need to do so. Some facilities require notice before a visit is arranged and limit the days and hours they’re open while others allow free access around the clock. Understanding the access that you’re likely to require will be helpful when considering your storage options.

Viewing facilities

Does the storage company offer viewing facilities so you can inspect and sort through your storage? This is especially important when you are opting for containerised storage. Some companies are not well set-up to give you access to your items in store should you require it. So it’s important to choose a storage provider that is set-up to offer this.

These are some of the important factors to consider when choosing a storage company. Cadogan Tate offers a range of modern, high security storage options with electronic access control, sophisticated fire detection and suppression systems, recorded CCTV with sound and central station monitoring. Whether you need a quick fix in-between moving homes or a long-term solution, we can help you with your storage requirements, whatever they might be. We also offer full handling capacity and inventory management, as required.

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