If you have more possessions than places to put them, keeping your things secure in a rented storage unit is often a convenient solution. However, it’s important to make sure that your belongings will be not just secure but easily accessible. Security measures vary according to geographic location, facility policy and cost, so here are some things to keep in mind when looking for the right kind of storage for you.
For security purposes, the majority of self-storage properties have set hours during which renters can enter the property and access their storage unit. The property’s security system will prevent you from entering the property other than during these hours. If your schedule is different than the hours the storage facility is open, storage may become more of a headache than a help. Be sure to know up front what times and days you will be allowed to access your belongings.
In some cases, you can rent a storage unit with 24-hour access for an increased fee.
Locks & Security Systems
Although no security system is totally foolproof, there are security features that the facility should have to make sure both you and your stored items are as safe as possible:
- When possible, choose a property that is completely fenced in. It should also be well lit. This is especially important if you will be accessing your storage unit when it’s dark, or at times when no managers are on duty.
- Almost all storage facilities have a keypad entry system at the main gate. When you rent a storage unit you will be given a unique access code, which you’ll use to gain entry to the facility via the main gate’s keypad system. In addition to using the code, you will be responsible for supplying some sort of lock for your individual storage unit. Remember that you will have the only key to your individual lock, unless you ask the facility manager to “hold harmless” a key on file for you. That way, if you forget your key or if you need to have something delivered to you storage unit in your absence, the manager will have a copy.
- Finally, there should be at least one video surveillance camera at the main gate. This backs up the keypad entry system with a chronological visual history of all individuals who have entered and exited the facility. Some storage facilities have video cameras – sometimes as many as 15 or more – at other spots around the site, too.
Manager on Duty
If you’re storing your belongings at a facility in a major city such as New York or Boston, ask the storage manager if the property is a “lock-down facility.” This means that a manager will be present whenever you have access to your storage, adding another level of security for you and your belongings.
Manager on Site
Some storage facilities are managed by a staff member or owner who lives on site. Although this provides additional security, it does not mean that someone is monitoring security at all times.
If you’re a business owner, and will need to have deliveries accepted at the self-storage unit, there are several additional questions you should ask before renting a storage unit:
- Can the storage facility accept deliveries on your behalf?
- Are deliveries limited to specific times and days?
- If deliveries are accepted, can they be delivered right to your storage unit?
- If they can be delivered right to your storage unit, what is the maximum size of the delivery trucks that can enter the property and drive up to your unit?
- Does the property manager need to be present or can the delivery be made without the manager there?
The peace of mind that comes from secured storage is an important benefit for both individuals and business owners, but security policies can become a hassle if you don’t know what you’re signing up for. Take the extra step to investigate the security options available at the storage facility of your choosing, and maximize the convenience of your storage solution.