About this calculator: This provides a ballpark estimate of the price you will pay to rent a self storage unit. There are MANY factors that contribute to unit cost, especially any deals and coupons being offered by storage companies. This calculator applies to traditional and portable storage only – not boat or RV storage.
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8 Factors Affect the Cost of Self-Storage Units
Many of us have needed a storage unit at one point for some reason, but we may not have known the vast variance in cost between different facilities and the amenities they offer. Luckily, most storage facilities offer a wide array of options for customers, and while some are pricier than others, there is a high probability you can find one that you need. Typically, storage unit prices vary between $60/month and $300/month, but the price is highly dependent on where the unit is, what features it comes with, the size, and more.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that affect the cost of self-storage units.
Of course, larger self-storage units usually cost more than smaller ones. Units approximately 5’ x 5’ normally run the cheapest, averaging $60 per month ($75 for climate-controlled). If you only have a few items such as boxes and maybe a small piece of furniture, you may be able to just rent out a 5’ x 5’; however, if you have more items than that, expect to pay more. One of the most popular size options is a 10’ x 10’ unit, which averages out at $110 per month ($138 for climate-controlled). The price of the largest self-storage units can vary greatly but generally average out at about $200 per month. These can store large items including cars, boats, and furniture for a multi-bedroom home. Seeing as self-storage can be costly, it is important to remember that with strategic packing and storing, you may be able to settle for a smaller unit and save yourself some money. It is best to go check out the different sizes for yourself before signing up for a unit, as you may be surprised at how roomy (or not) each unit is.
Climate Control Options
Secondly, you’ll pay more for a self-storage unit that is in a climate-controlled facility. Many users opt for climate-controlled units because they can protect their items from extreme weather conditions, including both heat and cold. Valuable items including large electronics as well as furniture and clothing can get ruined if they are not stored in a climate-controlled unit, so many people sign up for one to protect their belongings. While you may be able to find deals and special rates, climate-controlled self-storage units typically run around 40% more expensive than non-climate-controlled units. While this may increase the price quite a bit, individuals living in areas where the temperature reaches scorching highs or freezing lows should highly consider renting a climate-controlled one.
Time of Year
Self-storage units are in high demand during the summer months, as college students are needing a place to stash their stuff and families are moving to new areas between school years. Demand is normally lower in the Fall and Winter months, so you may be able to find lower prices during that time. If you are wanting to pay less and your timeline is flexible, you may want to rent a unit during the “off-peak” seasons.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked factors that affects storage costs is the location of the facility. If you live in a big city such as Los Angeles and your apartment or home is very small, you may need a place to store things. Guess what, though? So does everyone else! Self-storage unit costs are more expensive in high-demand areas, so facilities that are farther away from “hot spots” and out in suburbs are normally cheaper and can save customers money. Therefore, as you would expect, if your self-storage unit is in a more isolated area, it may cost a lot less.
Location Within the Facility
Not only can the general location of the facility affect the cost of self-storage units, the location of the unit within the facility can also affect costs greatly. Units that are on the first floor and/or near an elevator or ramp are more costly due to the increased convenience and decreased need for long walks or burdensome stairs, and bear in mind that indoor units will cost more than outdoor units due to the security factor, too.
Speaking of security, the price of a self-storage unit can vary due to the facility’s security procedures. Most facilities are open certain hours of the day and have minimal security offerings, but some are gated, open 24/7, and have security guards and cameras on the premises at all times. The cost of a self-storage unit can rise significantly as safety and security features increase, but many people need to be sure their valuable belongings are safe where they are stored (e.g., equipment, cars, etc.) and are oftentimes willing to pay more.
As with most rentals, storage units may either offer or require insurance options. The price of insurance generally is not outrageous, ranging from $5/month to $25/month depending on coverage, but this can still add up. Just like home insurance, self-storage insurance can financially protect you from unforeseen events like security breaches, flood, vermin, or fire damage.
If the self-storage unit you choose is within a facility that offers discounts, your overall cost for the unit will be lower than it would normally be. Many storage units offer discounts for certain people including students, military members, and senior citizens. Newly opened facilities looking to get customers usually offer lower prices so that they can build a customer base. Other facilities may offer special introductory discounts or discounts to people who pre-pay for a set number of months. This may include a free or reduced cost first month and/or signing a longer lease may get you a lower monthly price. If you do this, however, be aware of what the terms are should you break the lease early, as sometimes early lease terminations carry hefty fines.
Ultimately, the price of a self-storage unit can vary greatly. You’ll want to be aware of what features you need and be willing to pay more for more amenities and better safety offerings if you need them. Note that you may be able to find lower-cost units if you are willing to drive a bit farther to get there, and many storage units offer discounts that might benefit you. Like you would with a house or car, be sure to shop around before choosing a self-storage unit that is right for you.
How much do you pay for self storage?
Let us know how accurate the self storage cost estimate on this page is. Do you pay more? Less? Let us know in the comments below.