Despite what you may or may not have seen on “Storage Wars,” self storage is not where most people deposit—and then forget about—all of their junk.
Rather, it’s a place where people keep things that are either useful or valuable. That could mean anything from lawn care equipment to priceless antiques.
But, really, it doesn’t matter how valuable the items in your storage unit actually are. The bottom line is you want—and expect—that anything you store will be stored securely. Your stuff is valuable to you—or else you wouldn’t have kept it.
According to some estimates, there are some 2.5 billion square feet of storage units in the United States—and that number keeps growing. It would be naïve—and wrong—to think that all self storage facilities adhere to the same standards when it comes to security.
So how do you find a facility guaranteed to keep your vinyl collection, baseball cards, or artwork safe? How can you be sure that your business records will be protected? You ask questions.
Six Storage Security Questions
• Is the facility well lit? In addition to asking this, you can take a look around for yourself. The entire place should be clearly lit, without shadows or dark corners. Both the property and the storage unit itself should have easy visibility to help ease any nerves or concerns.
• Is there 24-hour video surveillance? A well lit facility coupled with 24-hour video surveillance is the one-two punch that’ll keep your belongings secure. Make sure there are plenty of cameras—and not just at the entry to the facility.
• Is there controlled access? Ideally, you’ll want to find a facility that’s gated with keypad entry to ensure that only customers and employees have access to the units. Also, take a look at the kind of gate used. Is it a chain-link fence that’s seen better days? Or is it a taller and sturdier border, perhaps an iron rod fence or even a brick barrier?
• Does the facility use padlocks (like you had on your locker in high school) or a keypad entry? Almost any kind of lock can be picked—and without all that much effort. What’s more, a keypad entry ensures that you never have to worry about a key that’s been lost or misplaced.
• How long has the facility (or the chain it’s part of) been in business? Unless you know Jack personally (and trust him), it’s probably best to stay away from facilities like “Jack’s Super Storage.” Instead, look to do business with companies that have a long and established reputation.
• Have there been any incidents of theft? This question really cuts to the heart of the matter. If all of the above conditions have been met, a facility is as secure as possible. However, this question will help paint a fuller picture of the facility you’re considering.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Sure, you want your unit to be safe, but you want more than that. Are all of the units clean? Not just kind of clean, but a level of clean your mother would approve of.
Is the staff friendly and helpful? Are climate controlled units available? (This is extremely important for items that can be damaged by temperature and humidity swings, such as electronics, art, antiques, and books.)
Are you locked into a contract or can you rent your unit on a month-by-month basis? Does your facility have a covered loading bay? Is the facility all on one floor? Is there on-site parking available?
You might think many of these things would be a given—and they are at some facilities—but it’s always wise to double check any assumptions you might have.
At StorageMart, we take pride in offering units that are as bright and clean as your own home, with video surveillance and keypad locks, of course. You’ll find units as small as a coat closet and as big as a garage. Perhaps best of all, you’ll never be locked into a long-term commitment. Interested in learning more? Check out our storage unit guide to find the ideal set-up for you or contact us to rent a unit online today or to get more information.