Dear Angie: What's a reasonable price range for a storage unit? What other key factors should I consider in choosing a provider? — David B., Middleburg, Va.
Dear David: The cost to rent a storage unit can vary greatly. Some smaller ones may run $50 to $55 per month, while larger units can be $300. And there are other types of units where fees are based on items' weight and volume.
What you pay will depend on your local market, as well as on factors you mentioned, including the amount of space you need, what your items weigh and whether you want a temperature-controlled unit. The length of time you plan to rent is also a factor. Many storage facilities will let you rent month-to-month, though same may require a minimum rental-time commitment.
Here are important considerations before you decide where to store your goods:
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Determine exactly how much you have to store. This sounds basic, but movers — many of whom operate storage facilities — regularly meet customers who underestimated. Reputable moving and storage companies should be willing to send a representative to assess your storage needs.
How will you get items to the facility? Of course, many moving and storage companies will load, transport and unload your belongings, for an additional fee. Expect to pay at least several hundred dollars to move an apartment's worth of stuff and a few thousand to move what's in a house.
Decide if you want a climate-controlled unit. This isn't considered a standard feature, so ask storage companies if they offer it and how much it costs. Expect to pay $20 to $30 a month extra for climate control. Keep in mind that some possessions can withstand years in a container with fluctuating temperatures, but others cannot. Also, furniture or mattresses might mildew later if loaded during a cold rain and stored in a warmer unit.
Figure out what kind of access you'll need. While some units are available to you 24/7, others, especially in a warehouse, require appointments. That could be inconvenient for some people, but others might appreciate that fewer folks will wander by where their items are stored.
Ask what security measures the facility considers standard. These are what would be included in the monthly rate. They can include motion detectors and 24-hour surveillance monitored by a security company.
Be clear about various fees. Determine if the storage facility requires a security deposit, or charges an administration fee. Ask if such one-time payments are returnable or refundable. Also, find out what happens if you miss or are late with a regular monthly payment, and what fees are applicable if you choose to cancel the rental contract early.
When considering storage companies, investigate several options, make sure they're appropriately licensed, insured and bonded, and check consumer reviews on a trusted site. If you like a particular facility, but aren't ready to commit, ask if you can put a hold on the space. Don't be swayed by high-pressure sales tactics, and be sure to review contract details.
Angie Hicks compiles the best advice from the most highly rated service pros on Angieslist.com to answer your questions. Ask Angie your question at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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