Self storage units are wonderful for helping you move, holding overstock for your company, or providing an extra, secure space for all the things that don’t quite fit in your home. But, if your local storage facility isn’t secured with a variety of safety features, your precious or expensive items could be at risk of theft. The following is a list of necessities for any storage unit and for the facility that it’s in.
A stellar example for the Toronto area is Abacus Self Storage which is a recipient of a 2018 Consumer Choice Award. Their property is fully-fenced with an electronic security gate, has monitored intrusion alarms, and customers have personalized, unique access codes. The facility is monitored by security cameras, and the Property Manager and staff perform regular security checks. The building has a generator, so even in the case of a power failure, the systems stay running.
The storage facility should be clean, climate-controlled, and have special maintenance routines that include proper attention to pest control. These qualities all keep your belongings in good condition and protected from environmental damage. For extra peace-of-mind,a quality storage company will offer contents insurance.Make sure to check what your personal home or apartment insurance covers in terms of off-site valuables. A combination of protection is best to increase your coverage.
A good quality lock is a good investment. Cylinder locks can’t be broken by bolt cutters and are a solid choice. Restrict who has access to your unit and the ability to open your lock. Don’t leave extra keys lying around.
For ease of access, to locate your items quickly, and for insurance purposes, it’s wise to keep an inventory of the items in your unit. These should be accompanied by photos of the contents that show their condition and their place in the unit. If you do end up needing to make a claim, you’ll have both documented and photographic evidence of your possessions, which insurance companies will likely require as proof of ownership and as proof of their condition.
To keep items extra safe in storage, pack them properly with cushioning and label their contents with fragile and ‘this side up’ notes. Don’t store explosives, flammable or hazardous material, animals, or perishables. Arrange your unit with heavier boxes and items on the bottom. Sometimes heavy things can be fragile, so, to keep them safe, reserve an extra space where they can sit on their own.
Visit the facility beforehand and ask a lot of questions. A friendly and knowledgeable staff will be able to help you with details about sizing, pricing, flexibility, changing circumstances, insurance, and every security feature in place. Keep an eye on what the staff is up to while they’re at work and ask yourself if you want them in charge of looking after your most valuable possessions.
As a final note, access to your things should be efficient. You should be able to park easily, have access to an appropriately-sized dolly, get in and out using your secured access with ease, and not have to travel through a long labyrinth to access your unit.
All of the above are necessities. If anything is missing, think twice about storing your valuables, some that are irreplaceable, in that specific facility.
Ryan Yarbrough is a small business consultant, speaker, and the manager at Davis Financial Services, a small business consulting firm.