How self storage works for home and business

Self storage is a simple idea - just think of a storage centre as a hotel for your belongings.The principle is the same - book a room for as long as you need that’s in the right location and offers the facilities you want. Move your stuff in and when you have finished, pack up and leave.

No complicated contracts, tie-ins, hassle or red tape.

When you come right down to basics, a storage centre is a pile of secure boxes where people and businesses put stuff they don’t need for a while when they have run out of space.

Self storage centres are a relatively new business in the UK. The idea started in the USA and crossed the Atlantic back in the 1960s. Self storage is popular in the UK, where most homes have at least one storage facility within driving distance, but they are rarer in Europe.

Storage space for any purpose

Storage is for anyone who needs  somewhere to keep clutter - from families outgrowing their rooms to businesses putting aside business data, stock and materials.

Terms of business are generally straightforward for everyone. Agreements self renew by rolling over weeks or months, are easy to cancel at short notice and just as easy to upgrade to extra storage space.

What to look for from self storage

The best self storage centres offer security, clean strong rooms and excellent customer service.

Many storage facilities offer packing advice, sell boxes and packing materials and can help with insuring your property while it is on site.

Like any service, cost is only part of the equation - self storage customers should consider other points along with price:

  • Security - Not only should storage space have a lock and strong doors, but the storage centre should have 24-hour CCTV monitoring foot and vehicle access plus sophisticated alarms to detect intruders and fire.
  • Clean site - The storage centre should be free from rubbish with clean and brightly lit corridors and store rooms
  • Easy access - Good parking for the size of vehicle you intend to use, which is especially important for a business with large lorries
  • Large loading bays - The minimum is plenty of free trolleys for shifting boxes plus a  fork-lift for business customers
  • Lifts - for shifting loads to upper floors
  • Long opening hours - You need a storage centre that opens when you need access. It's no good if the storage firm keeps office hours, but you need late night or weekend access to your room.
  • Efficient and friendly staff - If you have a problem, you need to know someone picks up the phone or reads email

If a householder or business has specific storage needs that are outside the normal scope - make sure these are clarified and agreed in writing before any payment is made or contracts are signed.