If you’ve never used self-storage before it can be a little daunting. There are lots of things to consider to make sure you get the best deal and the most convenient use of space. But fear not, London’s most trusted storage firm Metro Storage has got the only checklist you’ll ever need; here are nine questions to ask yourself before you take the leap.

The 9 Key Questions

Before you start looking for the right storage for you and your things, you should ask yourself the following 9 questions.

We believe that once you’ve thought about the answers to these 9 questions it should (hopefully!) be much easier to decide who the best company is to look after your things for you.

How long will I need the storage for?

One of the first questions you should be asking is how long you’ll need storage for as this will have a big impact on the cost.

Most customers tend to just hire a unit for a few months, and will often pop back every now and then to add or remove items, so it makes sense to get a space that is as convenient as possible.

If you’re going away for work, moving abroad, or have no intention of accessing your belongings for some time it may be more cost-effective to look away from London altogether, as storage outside the city is cheaper.

How close do I need my items to be to me?

The proximity factor again. Are you looking for a spare room practically on your doorstep, where you can pop in whenever you like to grab some things? Or are your stored items the kind of stuff you want to pack away and not think about for some time?

For some people with growing families (or jobs that they now do from home), temporary self-storage has become a cheaper option than looking for a bigger house.

Large items that are rarely used, such as seasonal sports and leisure equipment (think skis, snowboards or bicycles) can be locked away in a small unit near enough that you can pop in and grab them whenever you like. Metro Storage has 24/7 access with advanced security, so if there’s an impromptu trip to the beach in the offing you’ll be able to drop by and pick up your surfboard with no fuss.

How often will I need to access my things?

 This leads us on to another important factor; the regularity of access. Make sure you check the opening hours of the unit you want to use and find out if you’re allowed in seven days a week. Some spaces are cheap because the access hours are restricted – but they might not tell you that until after you’ve signed up.

Simple things like checking you can get to your belongings after office or factory hours can also make a huge difference, that way you aren’t wasting your weekend making journeys you could make any time. At Metro Storage access is free 24/7; talk to us about the level of access when you get in touch and we’ll set it up for you.

What level of security is there?

In today’s world, most self-storage companies have truly excellent security. Keeping items safe is the business, and you’ll probably find the level of security is better than what you have at home.

However, it’s definitely worth asking questions when you get in touch and make sure the basics like locks and CCTV are covered. You’ll want a dry environment, digital CCTV, and individual storage rooms or units that you can lock.

At Metro Storage we have all this and more; strict ID checks, no cash payments, smoke and intruder alarms, security patrols, you name it. We take the security of your things very seriously!

Will I need moving aids – such as trollies or pallet trucks – to move my things?

When people think about storage, they often just imagine the unit itself and not how to get things to and from the space. If you have large items, you’re going to need help getting them to the storage room. Lots of spaces now have moving aids such as trolleys on-site, and it’s also worth checking how long the distance is from the car park to the units, and if there are lifts to use if a unit is on another floor.

You can drive right up to the entrance at Metro Storage and there is free parking for all customers. No storage unit is more than a minute walk from the front entrance and all units are on the same level, no lifts necessary. We also keep plenty of trollies and pallet trucks around for you to use.

How much will it cost to insure my things?

A very important question! Reputable storage operators require customers to have their things fully insured whilst in storage with them. Most storage operators, however, require you to use their own in-house insurance and charge quite a premium for the pleasure.

At Metro Storage, FREE insurance comes as standard. The only variant you’ll find is regarding the size of the storage room you use. So, if you’re using a smaller room (say, 25sq ft, for example) we include £2,000 worth of cover for free.  If you are using a larger room (like a 100sq ft) then we include £8,000 worth of cover for free. We like to keep it simple!

Are there any hidden extras?

Similar to the point about insurance. Always consider the small print. The first price you’re quoted may not be the price you end up paying.  There is usually a security deposit to pay when you start, but if you’re fully paid up when you vacate the storage room and don’t leave any rubbish anywhere in the store then this is fully refunded at the end. There can sometimes be hidden extras, however, such as a signing up fee or admin fee for example. We’ve even seen some firms charge fees for accessing belongings, so make sure you question the added extras before you sign up.

We believe self-storage is a simple business and so things should be kept that way. The price you are quoted is the price you will pay, and we include FREE insurance and the free use of a padlock whilst you store if you want.

Can I pay online?

It wasn’t always like this, but in the modern era, being able to keep on top of your billing while away from the unit is very handy. Make sure your storage operator allows you to keep your account up to date by offering online payments.

At Metro Storage you can pay over the phone and online by card, you can set up reoccurring card payments and use our Direct Debit service as well.

Are these nice people who are going to look after my things properly?

Let’s be honest, life’s just too short and busy as it is without having to deal with difficult people to look after your things. Is the company courteous, and do they care about being entrusted with your belongings? How responsive are they to questions or problems?

As a family-manged business, our valued customers are the lifeblood of our business. We take customer care personally and aim to offer the best service we possibly can every time.

And that’s it!

Hopefully, this list has given you plenty to think about as you embark on your self-storage journey. We’ve been doing this for decades, and pride ourselves on our service, knowing that a customer will only be happy if we match the right storage unit and deal to meet their personal needs.

If you have any questions or just want a chat about storage, we’re here any time to talk you through it and are happy to give guidance and help where we can.