According to the latest UK Self Storage Annual Industry Report (compiled for the Self Storage Association UK), turnover for the industry increased by 4.5% to £930 million in 2021. Industry figures appear to confirm that the sector has gone from strength to strength with business (and providers) actually increasing during and after COVID.
There are now more self storage providers than ever before in the UK and with a huge range of premises and facilities available, how do you ensure that you are choosing the best self storage provider for your needs? Are some providers really better than others? How do you decide?
Here at Store Insure we have put together some guidelines regarding what to look for when choosing a self storage provider, ensuring, as far as possible, that your goods are kept safe and in good condition by the provider and that they are working to the SSA UK and European guidelines.
#1 Reputation is everything
The internet has become a great tool for customers by offering a platform where honest and open reviews can be left about any type of service or goods received, including self storage providers. Taking the time to research your chosen storage provider online will enable you to gain some honest and invaluable feedback from others that have used the service. Searching for your chosen storage provider on websites such as TrustPilot and Google will help you to identify any immediate red flags. If the self storage provider has social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter then take some time to look at the most recent posts and reviews.
#2 Industry standards
Ensure your chosen self storage provider meets the European Self Storage Standard - members of the Self Storage Association UK (SSA UK) will automatically adhere to this. The European Standard is a list of criteria that has been put into place to safeguard customers’ goods when in self storage with any of their association members. It ensures that the business meets industry standards in terms of security, construction and management.
#3 No sharing!
It is not best practice to share storage space with another individual or business so if this is offered turn around and walk away. Take a look around the self storage facility to ensure that your goods are being stored in a private area which only you have access to. They should be in a locked area and away from others’ belongings.
#4 Fresh Air
Ensuring that your chosen storage unit has adequate ventilation will lessen the risk of moisture build-up which, over time, could turn to mould. Encourage air flow in the unit by making sure to not pack items from floor to ceiling or wall to wall. You can check any issues in this area when visiting any potential site by using your nose - the storage unit should not be stuffy or smelly and there should be fresh air circulating in the space.
Do some research online beforehand and don’t be afraid to ask questions when you arrive at your chosen storage location. Find out what security measures the self storage provider has installed at the site. Does the site have CCTV installed? Does it cover the entrance to your storage area? Is site access supervised? Take a look around the storage location and see for yourself, more often than not you will have a gut-feeling and in this instance we would say go with your instincts, if it does not feel secure then walk away. More information on keeping your self storage unit secure can be found in our recent blog post titled ‘Self Storage Security’.
#6 Access and Location
Take the time to check on the access arrangements to your chosen storage unit - can you access the unit by vehicle in order to unload/reload? Depending on the type of storage you choose, some self storage providers will have loading bays nearby if space is tight. Work out beforehand what access you are likely to need and whether the storage provider can accommodate this - it is unlikely that any self storage site will be open and supervised 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, however it is a good idea to make sure, if possible, that the unit is staffed at some point during a working day.
All storage units will be rented in cubic feet so make sure beforehand that you understand the space you are renting - cubic feet includes all of the height internally so if you have a lot of goods that won’t or can’t stack then you may be paying for vertical space that you are not using. Knowing how much you want to store beforehand and having some idea of space/size required will help with correctly estimating what you need.
#8 Self Storage Insurance
Whatever your reasons are for renting self storage, it is absolutely vital that you get the correct storage insurance cover for your possessions. The majority of self storage facilities in the UK have now made it compulsory for customers to have storage insurance and will offer it as part of their lease. However, unfortunately much of the insurance offered by these storage providers is poor value for money in comparison to a specialist provider like Store Insure. Store Insure provides customers with a fuss-free, friendly and efficient claims service as well as a wide acceptance criteria, you can even receive instant confirmation of cover with our Quote and Buy online service.
Following these guidelines will ensure, as far as possible, that your goods are kept safe and in good condition by the provider and that they are working to the SSA UK guidelines.