A Guide to Full Service Storage

Full-service storage is like having a team of movers and a personal assistant available on call to take your things away and keep them safe until needed again. It's a great idea for people living in big cities and anyone else who doesn't have a vehicle that's suited to moving large objects.

Key Points

  • 1 The work is all taken care of with this service, so you can relax. Trained staff load your goods, store them safely and bring them back when needed.
  • 2 Pricing is competitive. Full-service storage is a relatively new trend with many companies trying to make their mark and fill units.
  • 3 Great for property management and other business. It’s a convenient choice for people who need to get things moving while not physically being there.
  • 4 Keep track of your possessions. Technology is catching up to the storage business, and some facilities let you track and request items from your phone.

This kind of storage is also popular when speed is required – for a sudden move or other unexpected moments in life when you’d rather leave this to professionals.

Having said that, it’s important to find the right full-service storage company and know what to look for. Keep reading and learn more about the benefits of this type of storage and what questions you should be asking before trusting anyone with your goods.

What Is Full-Service Storage?

This premium storage lets you take care of other things while an experienced team does the hard work. This generally includes packing, boxing, carrying, driving, storing and bringing items back when needed. In short, it’s an all-inclusive package deal that serves many purposes.

It’s important to choose the right company that has clean and safe facilities, just like you would with any other kind of storage. If you can’t be there to tour the facility to see for yourself, try to find a reputable company online and ask the right questions. We’ll get into that later in this guide.

Many traditional storage facilities are beginning to offer this service, and there are also quite a few newcomers who have made it their specialty. The cost of full-service storage is usually higher than you would pay if you hauled your things to a unit yourself, but the difference may be negligible in highly competitive areas of the country.

What Features and Benefits Should You Expect?

Full-service storage is about convenience and support. Let’s look at some of the main reasons why people choose this type of storage.

Safer and Stress-free

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how often you hit the gym, nothing beats the professionals when it comes to getting that heavy piece of furniture down the stairs and onto a truck. It’s much easier to avoid breaking your walls or your possessions or hurting yourself by simply hiring people who know what they’re doing, and sometimes it only costs a little more than doing it yourself.

Full-service storage also lets you avoid the stress involved, which is why it has become a much-needed service for people who are under a lot of pressure at move time. They need things to get done and they don’t want to think about it too much, so they leave moving and storage to the professionals.

Luxury Service at Competitive Prices

Full-service storage gives you more features, and it requires more manpower and logistics than the traditional storage model, so it may cost a little extra. However, rates can be competitive due to innovation, recent investments and new names in the storage world.

The difference in price that you should expect to pay depends on your location and specific storage needs. For example, some companies won’t pack your goods, so you’ll be responsible for that. The more you do yourself, the lower the cost should be.

Full-service storage eliminates the need to maintain large plots of expensive land, such as in major cities, which is why some companies can offer affordable rates. Now, these companies can buy cheaper land toward the outskirts of the city to use for storage, and the customer doesn’t notice because they aren’t doing the driving.

For When You’re Not There

Sometimes you just can’t be there, but things still need to get done. Whether you’re managing out-of-town properties or otherwise conducting business, or you just need to get that old piano moved out of your parents’ house, you can most likely find a full-service storage company in the area.

In this case, you’ll need to make sure that the company truly offers an all-inclusive service that will get the job done without you being there. They’ll need a way to get into the building, and you should call to let the folks know they’re coming.

Make sure you’re choosing a company you can trust while you’re not around, and ask plenty of questions to make sure everything is taken care of at each step of the process.

Technology is Changing Storage

It has always been important to control the temperature and humidity in storage to prevent damage. Some companies now let you monitor the storage environment on your phone, which is great for anyone worried about delicate items.

It’s also much easier to keep track of your possessions with detailed inventories available instantly from a phone or computer. In the case of full-service storage, this means many customers will never see the unit personally and they can simply request items remotely. However, it never hurts to take a tour of the facility and see where your goods are kept, as we’ll find out next.

How To Find a Trustworthy Full-Service Storage Company

As with anything else in life, a recommendation from friends or family is often a good way to find a trustworthy business. Another option is to check on a company in person to make sure the units are clean, safe and secure.

However, if you don’t know anyone to ask and you can’t get there to take a tour of the facility yourself, turn to the internet.

You can find a lot of information about any company you’re considering, so do a little research and see what people are saying. Search the company name and you’ll find Google reviews, their Yelp page and other bits and pieces you may find interesting.

Questions to Consider Asking

Here are some questions you should find answers to before deciding on a company. Either do your research online and try to find the answers through their website or app or contact them and ask directly. Many businesses can be contacted through social media now, so check for them on Facebook or elsewhere if you’re more comfortable doing it that way.

  • Can I come and see the storage facility? It would be unusual for them to refuse such a simple request, so this is a sign that something may be amiss.
  • Do you have a climate control system? Temperature is important, but humidity can be critical depending on what you’re storing. Ask questions about it related to your needs.
  • How long does it take to retrieve my items? Eventually, you’ll want your things back, so it’s good to know how much time you should expect to wait after making a request.
  • Who is responsible for moving and storage? If anything goes wrong, it’s best to know beforehand who is responsible. Some full-service storage companies handle everything in-house, which means they own the trucks, employ the drivers and movers, and own the storage facilities. However, some companies have a contract with a separate moving company to handle that part.
  • What happens to my possessions if I miss a payment? If no payment is made, storage companies will eventually need to sell your possessions to clear out space and reclaim lost revenue. Find out how long you would have between missing a payment and the sale of items. It should be in their written policy.

What Are the Danger Signs to Look For?

While you’re evaluating your options and looking at various companies online, and if you take a tour of the facility, there are a few things to look out for.

  • Bad reviews. Most websites and apps allow people to rate businesses and leave comments about the service, which can be useful when making a choice. It’s normal for all businesses to have a few bad reviews here and there, but too much negativity is a warning sign.
  • Unusually cheap. Anything that appears unusually cheap probably has hidden costs. With full-service storage, they may be hiding something in the fine print that you thought would be included. For example, you may be required to pack and box everything yourself, which would allow a company to advertise lower prices.
  • No tour. If they refuse to let you visit the facility and see where your possessions would be stored, then that’s another warning sign. It’s not an unreasonable request to make, so don’t feel bad about asking. While you’re there, make sure it looks safe, clean and contained. The building and individual units should be secured against theft and protected against fire and environmental factors.
  • Bad communication. If a storage company’s employees can’t take a few minutes to have a conversation and answer questions, or they don’t return phone calls and messages, then you’re probably better off leaving them alone.