The self-storage industry is growing due to small apartments in cities, people moving back in with their parents, and others sharing living spaces. Costs for homes and rents continue to rise, so many people have to take smaller accommodations, or share living space to pay all the bills. That means storing personal belongings, requiring separate storage space for seasonal items, and having extra furniture after combining households. Container storage facilities vary in pricing, conditions, and security so associations that promote the industry and set standards and guidelines recommend customers consider a few components before signing any contracts.
The Self-Storage Association United Kingdom (ssauk), for example, suggests customers find facilities that meet minimum standards for conditions and security. Those facilities that are members of the association are inspected to ensure they meet specific standards. Adequate ventilation is one standard put in place to avoid a buildup of moisture, mold, and odors. Insurance should be taken out to protect all items stored against flooding and damage, but basic ventilation will help keep belongings from rotting in the containers. Minimum security measures include closed circuit cameras at all entrances, and staff available during hours of operation. Some facilities have full-time security guards on the premises at all times.
Once a container is rented, the only person who should have access to it is the customer. If the business owner has access to units, find another facility. Most require the customer to supply a padlock and keep the only key. That protects the owner, the staff, and the customer. Find out when staff is available and what hours units are accessible. That varies greatly from facility to facility. Some, for example, are open at certain hours each day, while others are accessible twenty-four hours a day. Pricing is typically higher with unlimited access. Most facilities have different sized containers to accommodate the needs and budgets of customers. It makes no sense to pay rent on a container that is bigger than necessary. Facilities typically rent units for medium to long term usage, although there are a few that provide short-term rentals. Inquire about contract lengths before committing to a unit. Compare a few facilities to make sure needs will be met.