If yours is a home packed to the gills with seasonal clothing and gear that is currently unused, boxes of sentimental toys and outfits belonging to your children, or mountains of clothing you’re determined to fit into again at some point in the future, you may be ready to rent a storage unit to free up some much-needed space.

When that crowded feeling shifts over into claustrophobia you may be tempted to run a quick online search for the nearest storage facility and book a unit right away…

But, not so fast.

Though the temptation to take the first unit available may be strong, it’s important to pause, take a breath, and take the time to ask a few important questions about the facility before you rent your unit.

What are these important questions, you may ask? Excellent question! As one of Sydney’s top storage facilities, we know exactly what questions need answering…so, we thought we’d share them with you today. Here are the top 5 questions you should ask of any facility you’re considering.

1. What will my total cost be to rent a unit from you?

This question is deserving of the number one spot because so many customers get tricked by unscrupulous facilities advertising incredibly low rental rates. What these facilities don’t tell you is that they will make up for their paltry rent by charging exorbitant administration fees and/or requiring outrageous security deposits.

When you request a quote from a storage facility, ask them to include the rent, admin fees, and security deposit into the total. You may also want to ask them about their late fees (we all forget to make a payment now and then) and, if you are a notorious loser of keys, what they charge to cut off locks on a unit.

2. What kind of access will I have to my unit?

This may not be as important to those of you who plan to store items long-term and won’t need regular access to them. But many people use storage for business purposes—to store business documents or excess inventory that they will need to access regularly. In these cases, it is important to ask your storage company when you will have access to your unit. Do they keep the standard 9 – 5 hours? Will you have 24-hour access should you need it? Inquiring minds want to know, so be sure to ask.

3. What sort of security do you have on-site?

This is a biggie, particularly if you are storing things of monetary (or even highly sentimental) value. Security features can vary widely between storage companies, so it is important to ask upfront what measures they are taking to keep your belongings safe.

When you call a security facility ask them if:

  • Their property is fully fenced
  • Access is limited to employees and tenants only
  • They have a security gate that requires tenants to enter an access code to gain entry
  • They employ on-site security staff

Keep in mind that the most secure facility may not be the one closest to your home, but it is usually worth a longer drive to know your belongings are protected.

4. Do you offer climate-controlled storage?

Some items won’t do well if stored in a conventional storage unit. If you will be storing things like antiques, wooden furniture, mattresses, sheets and other bedding, artwork, wine (you’d be surprised how many people do!), or photographs, you’ll need to rent a climate-controlled storage unit.

Unlike conventional units (whose temperature and humidity levels fluctuate with the environment), climate-controlled units maintain a steady temperature and humidity level regardless of the weather. This, in turn, prevents mattresses, fabrics, artwork, and photos from developing mildew and wooden furniture from drying, warping, and/or cracking.

5. What discounts are you currently offering?

Don’t be afraid to ask! Oftentimes storage facilities run specials (particularly in off-season months), and many are happy to price match if you’ve received a lower offer from a nearby competitor. You may also want to take a peek at a facility’s website or social media pages, as many offer “online-only” specials to followers or visitors to their site.

Other discounts that may be available to you include:

  • Teacher discounts
  • College student
  • Military
  • If you’re moving, many moving companies offer discount codes for storage so be sure to ask them
  • AAA members

Bonus question: Do you accept online bill pay or autopay?

There is nothing worse than booking with a storage facility that only accepts old-school checks or cash that must be sent via snail mail or delivered in person. Make sure any facility you’re considering accepts autopay or offers online billing.

And there you have it—five questions to ask storage facilities that will ensure your items are stored in the safest place possible at the best price for you.