Whether it’s for long-term or short-term storage, when you’re in the rush of needing to store items, it can be easy to forget to stop and think before choosing a commercial storage company.
Choose the wrong commercial storage facility, however, and you can find yourself in a year-long contract with a company that doesn’t meet your storage needs. The next time you need storage space, do the following before you sign any contracts:
Even if it seems like you and your team don’t have a minute to spare, taking some time to understand your needs can make a huge difference in how successful your storage experience is. Be sure to:
- Make a list of everything you’ll need to store. This will help you evaluate how much square footage you’ll need.
- Estimate how many boxes you’ll need. You’ll want to box anything that isn’t very large and to which you won’t need regular access.
- Remember to plan for extra room for walking within the unit if staff will need to be able to access items. For instance, if you’re storing files and documents that may need occasional review, workers will need enough space to retrieve those boxes when the time comes.
- Remember to label boxes. This is especially critical if you plan on storing paperwork that has not been scanned or digitally recorded in any way. The last thing that you want is a storage unit full of unlabeled paperwork.
Tour the Facility
Before your company signs any contracts or makes any commitments, take a tour. Taking an in-person tour of the entire storage facility that you are considering allows you to ascertain the following:
- Is there adequate security? For instance, are there security measures around the outer perimeter (such as a fence and gate) as well as inside (such as locks and cameras)?
- Are there broken locks on the units or do any appear to be damaged?
- Are there signs of infestation issues? Do you see evidence of mice, rats or raccoons?
- What about staffing? Does it appear to be adequate, and if you ask to speak to a manager, is one available?
Assess Your Needs
Making the best choice for your needs is impossible if you don’t truly understand what your needs are. As you think about your storage requirements, consider the following:
- When will you want to be able to access your stored items? Will you need 24-hour access, or are the listed business hours acceptable?
- Are you storing electronic or office equipment that may need heated or temperature-controlled storage units?
- Will you need to visit the storage unit on a regular basis? If so, it may be better to choose a storage facility that is close to your place of business rather than far away.