How Can I Get a Discount on Self Storage Units?

Buying extra storage can get expensive. Larger units might cost hundreds of dollars each month, particularly if you need state-of-the-art security and climate-control. Paying less is possible, as long as you do some research before you sign on the dotted line. Here are a few tips to help you find the most inexpensive self-storage options in your area.

Key Points

  • 1 Don’t buy too much space. With storage, you pay by the square foot, so a smaller unit is less expensive.
  • 2 Expand your search area. Convenient locations may come with premium prices. To get the most affordable unit, search in a wider area.
  • 3 Ask about discounts. Some units might offer new renters great terms for the first few months or special price savings for students or military service members.
  • 4 Get a long-term discount. If you need long-term storage, be upfront about your needs and ask about extended rates. Many facilities offer discounts for long-term customers.

Get the Smallest Unit that Works

Size is usually the biggest factor in self-storage unit pricing. The larger the unit, the more you will pay to rent it. If you can pack your things into a smaller unit, you can save significantly over the course of the rental. When packing your storage unit, think in cubic feet since you can stack your belongings up to the ceiling. Packing into stackable containers like plastic totes protects your belongings while also making it easier to get everything into the unit. Additionally, you can label a storage tote, helping to keep your items organized. For an idea of how much space you might need, here’s a quick guide to what you can fit into some standard-sized storage units.

  • 5′ x 5′ – This 25 square foot unit usually accommodates small pieces of furniture like an end table or dresser and some boxes. These units are often ideal for seasonal storage like holiday decorations or lawn care equipment.
  • 5′ x 10′ – At 50 square feet, this unit is equivalent to a large walk-in closet. You can fit in a mattress set, sofa and plenty of boxes. Essentially, if you can squeeze it into a cargo van, it will likely fit into a 5′ x 10′ unit.
  • 10′ x 10′ – A 100 square foot storage unit can fit the entire contents of a one-bedroom apartment, complete with appliances.
  • 10′ x 15′ – All the furnishings from a small house or two-bedroom apartment can fit into this 150 square foot unit, but the appliances likely won’t.
  • 10′ x 20′ – Everything from a standard two- to three-bedroom house or apartment can fit into this. Essentially, the contents of a 24′ moving truck should fit comfortably into a 200 square foot storage unit.
  • 10’x 30′ – If your belongings fit into a 40′ foot moving truck, they will fit into a 300 square foot storage unit. Generally, this size accommodates a four- to five-bedroom house and all of the appliances.

Minimize the Amenities

Climate-control adds to the price of a unit. If you don’t need it, it’s probably best to avoid paying for a climate-controlled unit. If you are renting short-term storage during mild weather months, there’s no need to pay extra for heat or air conditioning. Also, if the items you need to store are hardy and could go in the garage, you don’t need to add extras in a storage unit.

Be Flexible About Location

Where you rent a unit can also dramatically impact the cost. If you don’t need regular access to the contents, consider shopping for a unit further away from your address. Look for rentals at new locations that may be trying to fill spaces or in areas where the real estate prices are lower. Lower housing costs often translate into lower costs for storage units.

Load-in Via an Elevator

Drive-up access may come with premium pricing. Sure, it’s more convenient to load-in directly from your moving truck, but if you need long term storage, you might want to consider an upper floor. Any time you have to deal with an elevator or flight of stairs, the price of a unit usually drops. Multistory storage buildings have a smaller physical footprint and can pack more units onto the same square footage.

Work with Limited Office Hours

Facilities that offer extended office hours also have higher costs. While it might be more secure to have a manned desk operated during all open hours, it is also more expensive. Units that use security systems for entry and offer limited office hours are often less expensive. Plus, you might be able to get 24/7 access to your unit, all with a lower price point.

Pay All At Once

When you can pay for your entire rental term upfront, many places may offer a discount on the total cost. For example, some facilities might offer six months for the price of five. Other units might have move-in specials that give you a break on the first several months if you pay in advance. By paying in advance, you also avoid the risk of a missed payment and foreclosure that could put your unit up for auction.

Rent for a Longer Term

The longer you rent the space, the less you might pay per month, particularly if you can pay for the term in advance. Year-round renters might only pay for ten months or might get a rolling discount on space. Be sure to ask about extended-term rates when signing for your storage unit.

Ask about Student and Military Discounts

Student, senior and military discounts are often available at many service providers, and self-storage is no exception. Military service members might get as much as 15% off on the cost of a unit. Some employers may also have promotional rates negotiated with a local storage facility. Check with your work and school to see what might be available to you.

Look for Service Bundles

Some storage facilities maintain their own fleet of moving trucks and offer them free to new renters. If you can deduct the cost of a moving truck from your total expenses, you can get some significant savings. A moving truck can run hundreds of dollars, so it might make a slightly more expensive unit a better package with the right services bundle.

Drop the Security Concerns

Compare high-security units with the cost of a good insurance policy. If you are paying to insure the contents of your unit, you may not need a state-of-the-art security system. After all, if your policy covers loss, theft and damage, you may be reimbursed for any replacement items you need to buy. If insurance is expensive, you might want to look for a more secure facility.

Compare Prices

The best way to get a discount on a storage unit is by doing some upfront research. Many facilities post their rates publicly, so you can do some comparison shopping before you arrange a facility tour. Be sure to expand your search area to include more distant units and sort the results by price. Facilities that specialize in unusual sizes may have a unit that is more affordable than one that specializes in larger units or lockers.