When choosing a self-storage facility, it’s important to mine information that’s not readily available on company websites.
Rather than asking a laundry list of obvious questions, it’s best to be ready with a few short, sharp and concise enquiries. The responses should help you choose the best possible self-storage provider for your needs.
We recommend this collection of questions, to reveal exactly what you want to know about a storage facility and the service it provides.
What security measures are in place at your facility?
With South Africa’s escalating crime rate, security is a vital consideration when choosing a self-storage company. You’ll want to be assured that your stored belongings are protected.
Any provider is likely to say “yes” if simply asked whether their premises are secure. Instead, ask an open-ended question about what security measures the provider has in place at the facility you’re considering.
What you want to hear: Some of the features that help protect belongings in self-storage are CCTV monitoring, armed response, perimeter fencing, access control, patrols and outdoor lighting at night. Also, confirm whether you’ll be able to lock your own storage unit and keep the key.
What is the total charge for a storage unit, upfront and month by month?
Many storage providers charge a refundable deposit upfront. They may also impose certain, additional fees, along with a fixed monthly charge for a storage unit of a particular size.
Be sure to ask about both initial and monthly costs. Requesting a firm quote, in rand, removes any ambiguity.
What you want to hear: Opt for a company that gives you a clear, straight answer, explaining exactly what the once-off and monthly charges are. If the consultant you speak to isn’t prepared to give an immediate quote over the phone, this individual should at least be helpful, informative and prompt in ensuring that a quote is sent to you.
When can I access a storage unit I book?
Make sure you won’t arrive to a locked gate, or find that you can’t retrieve an item from storage when you need it.
What you want to hear: You should be able to access your stored belongings any time you choose, within reasonable business hours.
Some storage providers will also let you access your unit at certain times over weekends or after hours by prior arrangement.
What happens if I want to cancel?
Circumstances can change, and when that happens, flexibility is key. Make sure you’re clearly informed about the rental terms, including what happens if you want to cancel.
What you want to hear: Opt for a storage facility that offers flexible terms and that will let you cancel (or move to a bigger or smaller storage unit) with just a month’s notice.
Do I qualify for any storage promotions or rental discounts?
It never hurts to ask, especially in the form of a simple, polite enquiry. You might be eligible for an existing special deal. Alternatively, you might be offered advice on a more cost-effective unit size that will still meet your needs.
What you want to hear: Even if there are no current discounts or promotions, a consultant who takes the time to enquire about your situation and needs is a great sign.