Whenever you need to keep your belongings outside your home, it makes sense to look for a good deal on storage units. The cost of self storage varies according to factors such as size and location and many others. As you’d expect, rates differ depending on the size of the unit – the larger the unit the higher the price – and the city it’s located in makes a big difference too. Additional amenities also mean you’ll pay higher rates.
Regardless of whether you rented a storage unit before or not, you are probably wondering how much it will cost to rent the one you want right now. Here, at StorageCafe, we investigated the major factors that shape the cost of storage.
Costs Vary by Unit Size
While there are many considerations that influence the price of renting a self storage unit, the most significant one is its size. Try to clearly determine how much space you need before you consider what kind of storage unit will benefit you most. Make sure that you really need those belongings before putting them into storage. We looked at the most common unit sizes and also at the national average rates for each size, using Yardi Matrix data.
Extra Small Storage Unit: 5’ X 5’
Average Cost: $51
A 5’ X 5’ unit is the size of a small walk-in closet. You should go with this size storage unit if:
- You want to store seasonal décor, sports equipment or garden tools
- You want to store a small piece of furniture, tall narrow items like lamps and some boxes
Small Storage Unit: 5’ X 10’
Average Cost: $72
A 5’ X 10’ unit is about the size of a larger walk-in closet or a small utility room. Here’s when this size of storage unit works great for you:
- You’re downsizing and you need to temporarily store some belongings
- You need to store some boxes and one large piece of furniture
Medium Storage Unit: 10’ X 10’
Average Cost: $114
A 10’ X 10’ unit space is as large as a small bedroom. You’ll want to go with this storage unit size if:
- You’re remodeling your home and need temporary storage for your furniture
- You need to store an extra bed or couch and a few medium-to-large boxes
Extra Large Unit: 10’ X 20’
Average Cost: $180
A 10’ X 20’ storage unit is about the size of a one-car garage. This storage unit size is perfect if:
- You need to store a vehicle such as a car or a small boat
- You need to store your home’s contents while downsizing
- You have to temporarily house furnishings and appliances for an average 1,500 square feet home
Jumbo Unit: 10’ X 30’
Average Cost: $235
A 10’ X 30’ storage unit is about the size of a one and a half regular garages. This storage unit is perfect if:
- You need to store bedroom sets, living room furniture, refrigerators, washers and dryers, large flat screen TVs and several boxes
- You can store a pickup truck or an RV if the ceiling height permits it
Customers Pay a Pretty Penny for Location
The location of a specific storage facility is a big factor in determining the price of a storage unit. Those in large urban areas may cost more than those in a nearby suburb as the demand is higher in cities. Rates might be more accessible in less-densely populated areas.
While, nationally, average rates for a standard 10X10 non-climate-controlled unit hover at around $114, per Yardi Matrix data, the largest markets in the US show large differences in the price spectrum. As such, renting a storage unit in San Francisco costs $254 on a monthly basis, while Los Angeles is not too far behind it, with $243 per month. Residents of the Big Apple would also have to pay through the nose if they’re considering renting a storage unit in Manhattan ($386/month). Storage units in Queens ($238/month) offer lower prices than Manhattan’s, but they’re still high compared to the national average. On the opposite end of the spectrum, San Antonio ($98/month) and Dallas ($106/month) offer affordable storage rates. If you live in either Charlotte ($85/month) or Raleigh ($80/month), you will see an even lower self storage bill.
We’ve looked into the self storage inventory across the US and we came up with the list of most expensive cities for self storage.
Facility Type Also Spills Into the Rental Rates
In terms of access, there are two types of storage facilities: indoor and outdoor. The former offer storage units inside a larger building, which means increased security as compared to outdoor facilities.
Interior units are less exposed to pests and theft and they are an excellent choice for fragile and valuable belongings. You can usually get the climate-control feature, but that means renting a self storage unit will cost you more. This type of facility is especially common in urban areas, since they’re geared towards offering storage for household belongings and they’re typically smaller.
Outdoor facilities often offer their customers drive-up access, and so are more convenient for people who want to get their vehicle up close to the unit’s door for loading and unloading. However, they do not offer climate control. More akin to garages, this type of facility is ideal for vehicle and large equipment storage and is typically found in rural areas.
Besides type, the condition and age of facilities play an important role in determining prices for storage units. If they’re newer and offer indoor storage, facilities will be pricier than their drive-up counterparts.
Some facilities offer additional amenities to cater to the various storage needs of all their customers.
- Climate control
Whenever you’re considering the cost of renting a storage unit, you should determine if climate control is a feature you need. Climate control regulates air temperature, protecting stored items from the damaging effects of extreme heat or cold. Additionally, climate-controlled units also keep humidity to about 55% in order to shield items stored from the dangers of mold, rust and corrosion.
We all know that Wisconsin can get bitter cold in the wintertime, so renting a climate-controlled storage unit in Milwaukee is the sensible thing to do if you want to protect your belongings from the cold. On the other hand, if you reside in Florida and are looking for a self-storage unit in Miami, opting for the climate control feature could come in handy to keep your possessions away from the dangers of heat and humidity.
You should know that a standard climate-controlled unit typically costs $130 per month on average nationally, according to data from Yardi Matrix. As prices differ according to location, it’s worth looking into what opting for climate control units means for your wallet. New Yorkers pay a whopping $409 per month for a standard 10X10 climate-controlled self-storage unit in Manhattan. However, if you live in Brooklyn, you’d pay considerably less for the same commodity ($253/month). In the cases of Los Angeles ($302/month) and San Francisco ($259/month), residents also foot a high bill for climate control. Other cities such as Seattle ($196/month), Denver ($127/month) and San Antonio ($114/month) offer more affordable rates for the same amenity.
Renting a climate-controlled unit makes sense if the items you want to store include clothes, electronics, metal appliances or items made of wood or paper. Your sensitive items may be fine for a month without this amenity, but if you’re thinking about storing long-term, you shouldn’t go without climate control.
- Type of Unit Access Also Makes Rates Go Up
Consider renting a storage unit at a facility that offers 24-hour access. Before signing a lease, ask the property manager whether they offer this feature. This convenience might cost you extra, but it is well worth it, especially if you plan on storing expensive equipment. If you are in a music band and you use storage to keep your instruments, it makes it so much easier for you to have access to them whenever your touring schedule demands it.
- Levels of Security: Extra Fees for Peace of Mind
A good way of assessing the security level a storage facility offers is to check if they have video surveillance and keypad entry in place. However, having these kinds of amenities available is sure to increase the monthly cost of renting a storage unit. A storage facility that provides video coverage of the entire premises will charge more than one that doesn’t. An additional fee might accrue if you require regular access to the unit you are renting. Some are opting to offer customers a kiosk system to manage rentals. Such an arrangement will cut costs for the customers, since only one on-site manager is required to assist them. Besides, some storage facilities increase their safety by having 24/7 security guards so your late-night visits to your unit will feel safer.
- Add-ons Can Cost You More
Some storage facilities offer storage bins and packing supplies, but you will be charged extra for this service. Labor assistance is also available with some storage facilities, which naturally incurs additional costs.
Lease Duration Period Can Increase or Decrease Your Spending
The amount of time you decide to rent a storage unit for is another factor weighing heavily on the cost of storage. As a rule of thumb, the industry has a month-by-month rental policy, which allows customers to temporarily store their belongings without a long-term commitment.
Rates tend to be higher for month-by-month leases than for longer ones — the monthly cost for renting storage long-term decreases because storage providers will offer discounts for this option. For instance, providers may offer 15-30% off the monthly rate if you agree on renting a storage unit for six months or more.
Remember Specials and Discounts
It is very common for the storage industry to offer promotions and specials. A lot of companies offer the first month free or discounts to military personnel, for example. Remember to read the fine print, as such discounts usually mean you are required to rent for at least two months. Furthermore, some companies offer free use of a move-in truck, including covering gas costs. When comparing storage facilities’ offers, make sure to assess how these promos fit into the big picture of the actual budget you are planning to spend for this service.
Summertime is Hot for High Rates
As it happens, the self storage industry does not offer locked-in rates. Companies should notify you of any price alteration at least one month in advance. Self storage rates tend to fluctuate according to season. As such, prices tend to peak from May to September. For most Americans, this is the high season for moving, which is what drives most people to use self storage. Storage operators can capitalize on the increased demand and charge more. You will be able to save money if you’re renting during the off season.
Consider Insurance Costs
Prior to signing the lease, consult with the self storage company about whether you need to get insurance or not. If you decide to use a renter’s insurance policy, make sure it covers all the items placed in storage. You should also be aware that any damage caused by vermin or water is typically not covered under storage insurance. Dedicated self-storage policies are also an option in case some of the items stored aren’t fully covered. Monthly rates for this type of insurance go from $5 to $2,000. Most belongings are covered by a $10 or $20 policy.
Now that you’re familiar with the costs of renting a self-storage unit, you will be able to pick one that best suits your budget and your needs. Do you have any other cost-related concerns we haven’t covered? Let us know in the comments section below.