A Guide to 24-Hour Storage Units
For those with limited home space or changing needs—a move on the horizon or transitioning from a residential property to a rental property, for example—storage units can be a valuable tool. Providing a safe, secure way to store possessions that no longer fit within a home or office space, storage units are a good option for those looking for flexibility, affordability, and ease of use.
For people who desire the ultimate in flexibility, 24-hour storage can be a major benefit. Unlike standard storage units that have set hours for access, a 24-hour unit is, as the name implies, accessible 24 hours a day and generally seven days a week. Holidays may or may not be included. This means that if you find yourself searching for something stored in your unit at midnight, you will be able to access your storage space without issue.
If you are considering choosing a storage unit for personal or professional use, read on to see if a 24-hour storage solution is the right fit for you.
Key Point Module
- 1 Choose a storage unit that is convenient to your home or business, ensuring you can access your possessions without complication should you need immediate access.
- 2 Properly label everything in your storage unit. Avoid the hassle of searching for a needle in a haystack by clearly displaying which items are in which containers.
- 3 Organize your unit from least important to most important. If you have items you believe you may need sooner rather than later, you likely will not want to spend hours digging through boxes, especially if you are accessing your unit at night.
- 4 Prioritize properties with adequate security. With people coming and going at all hours, day and night, you want to be sure your property is properly protected from both intruders and those accessing nearby units.
What Is a 24-Hour Storage Unit?
A 24-hour storage unit is a unit that is accessible day or night, regardless of office hours. For those who have varying needs or are simply concerned about being barred from possessions in the evenings or on weekends, this option can make the process of self-storage easier and more convenient while also providing peace of mind.
Those renting storage units that are available all day, every day, are often granted alternate means of identification or access that go beyond a unit key. This can mean a swipe card or a pin code to get through a locked checkpoint, or a way to verify one’s identity to a guard at a gate. Security at 24-hour storage facilities may or may not involve human monitoring at all hours. While some properties employ security guards to man cameras and walk the premises, others do not. In some facilities, a staff member is required to escort customers to units during off hours.
What to Look for In 24-Hour Storage Units
As a designated 24-hour storage unit, companies that meet this description must provide access around the clock, but this is essentially the only parameter. To your benefit, 24-hour storage units can offer a wide range of additional services, providing many ways to compare and contrast companies in your area. When evaluating storage options nearby, keep these points in mind:
- Strong security: The items you are storing are likely valuable to you, whether on the basis of price or on a sentimental level, so keeping them safe should be a priority. Good storage solutions take security seriously, using techniques like cameras, guards, and entry checkpoints to ensure only qualified people are able to enter at all times. When touring a facility, ask for evidence of strong security measures and check the location of cameras near your potential unit.
- Unit sizes: Storage units vary in size, from a space the size of a small closet to a space large enough to park a truck or van. Pricing is strongly influenced by unit size, so be sure the facility you choose can accommodate your specific needs. Many storage companies offer a wide range of sizes to ensure customers only pay for what they need. Make sure the place you choose won’t leave you paying extra for unnecessary space.
- Pricing: In most cases, pricing for storage units is based on a combination of cost of living in the town where the facility resides and unit size. Before choosing a unit, be sure pricing is consistent with the norms in your area and is affordable for your budget. If rent is month-to-month, you may pay slightly higher rates, but will, in turn, be able to cease use of a unit on your own schedule, which can be an advantage should your needs change.
- Climate control: Climate control is a popular feature in many storage units. By using air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter, facilities can regulate temperature to avoid property damage. For those storing things like expensive furniture, musical instruments, antiques, or anything else that could be affected by temperature swings, this is an important feature. However, a climate controlled unit is often more expensive than a standard unit, so if you don’t feel it’s necessary, paying elevated rent may not be worthwhile.
- Insurance: Some properties offer insurance coverage to users. This may or may not be required and can result in higher costs. If you are storing more expensive items, this may be a benefit to you to ensure you will be compensated or otherwise covered should something happen.
Warning Signs to Consider
Not all storage units are made equal. When evaluating 24-hour storage facilities in your area, keep these potential red flags in mind.
- Poor security: Security is an important part of keeping your possessions safe while in storage, particularly in facilities with 24-hour access. With people coming and going at all times, your unit is at an elevated risk of a break-in. When choosing a 24-hour storage unit, be sure proper security measures are in place and that you are comfortable with the level or attention your unit will receive.
- Bad customer service: When you rent a unit, you are putting your belongings in the hands of someone else. If the people you speak to are rude or dismissive, seem uninterested in your questions, or do not want to accommodate things like a property tour, move forward with caution. You are trusting these people to protect your possessions, so if you are not satisfied with customer service, consider looking elsewhere.
- High prices: High prices aren’t always a bad thing, but high prices for seemingly no reason may make a property not worth your while. If the storage company you are considering charges significantly more than other units in the area without any major advantages to offset higher rates, you may end up paying far more than is necessary. Some facilities also charge administration fees or deposits, which can be costly and should be evaluated as well.
- Poor reviews: Online reviews are a trusted resource for consumers in virtually all areas of the market, and storage solutions are no exception. Before committing, check customer reviews across as many sites as possible, like Google and Yelp! to make sure other customers have had positive experiences. Some people leave excessively negative reviews for minor reasons, so take all reviews with a grain of salt, but if reviews are by and large negative or call out serious flaws with a property, like incidents of vandalism, keep this in mind when making your choice.
- Contracts: Contracts for storage units aren’t always a bad thing, but are generally put in place to force customers to rent for longer periods of time than may be necessary. If a contract seems excessively long, like over a year, you may end up paying for more time than you need.
Shopping for 24-Hour Storage Units
Choosing a storage unit is an important decision. When touring units, be sure to ask these questions.
- What is the pricing structure for your units? Can I rent month to month or will I be locked into a contract? What are the consequences for breaking a contract?
- How is 24-hour access managed? Will I need a key, passcode, or ID to enter the facility at night or on the weekends?
- How is access to units managed? Do you use standard keys or can I personalize a key code?
- What is your pricing? Do you charge administrative fees or deposits to rent a unit? Are any discounts available?
- What is your approach to security? Do you use cameras and security guards to maintain a secure facility?
- Have there been any recent break-ins? If so, have you changed your operating procedures to prevent against future issues?
- Can I choose my own unit or will I be assigned a unit at random?
- Do you offer climate-controlled units? Are all units utilizing climate control measures or are there standard units on the property? Does pricing vary between different kinds of units?
- Is insurance available for the property stored on the premises? If so, is it mandatory? Do prices vary based on unit size or is insurance billed at a flat rate? Is insurance variable based on the value of items kept in storage?
- What size units are available? If I require more space in the future, will I be able to easily change units? What about less space?
- Is lighting adequate at night? Will I be able to see well when accessing my unit during off-hours?
- What are your office hours? When will employees be available to assist me with potential storage needs? Is your facility staffed around the clock or just during business hours?
- Do you have equipment like dollies available to help me move property between my unit and my vehicle?
- What makes your property stand out from the competition?
The Bottom Line
24-hour storage units can be a benefit for many reasons, from increased flexibility to more convenient access. With the proper due diligence, it’s possible to find the perfect property for all of your storage needs.