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Is a Do-It-Yourself Storage Option Right for You?

You have made the decision to use outside self service storage-Now what?

Many storage companies are specially designed so that you can drive directly to your unit and unload. In addition, some offer the option of receiving a free truck to help you move your belongings to your storage facility. However, there are always restrictions and this offer may be an incentive to draw in your business. Restrictions may include only being able to use a set number of miles for free and being unfairly charged for each additional mile or there may be restrictions on how long you are able to use the vehicle for free. Be cautious and make sure to read the fine print in your contract.

Select storage companies also offer a truck rental service at "exclusive" prices. However, inquire about the specifics to ensure you are actually getting the best deal for the price you are paying.

Mobile Storage Units
Storage companies generally offer the option of mobile storage. This is where a storage trailer, whose size is requested by you, is delivered to your home so that you may personally pack up your items and load them into the unit yourself. After you have organized your items in the trailer, the storage company arrives to collect it on an agreed upon date.

It is not unusual for people to run out of space when loading trailers themselves due to poor packing. For this reason, your storage company may also offer you a packing and loading service where they send professional movers to your home or office to do the work for you and deliver your goods to your reserved storage unit. However, you are responsible for securing the trailer yourself with your own lock. This service is the most convenient solution with the added advantage of having your items packed and loaded properly.

A few things to remember when considering mobile storage:

  1. The storage trailer should be moved to a storage unit when it is loaded. It cannot remain at the home or office location for a long period of time. In fact, most storage companies will insist on the trailer being moved as soon as possible after loading.
  2. If you live in a condo or apartment you may need to get permission from your homeowners association or landlord in order to have a trailer parked outside for a period of time.
  3. If your office or home is located on a steep hill it may not be a good idea to use a mobile unit unless you have a flat surface on which the unit can be loaded.
  4. If you happen to live or work in a city with underground parking, do not expect the storage company to drop off a trailer as this is not permitted.
  5. Rates for this service will differ depending on location and even the time of year.
  6. When compared to the option of renting a truck it offers additional advantages for those fearful of maneuvering a large vehicle.
  7. You are in total control of how the goods are packed so you will know exactly where everything is when you wish to remove items from storage.
  8. Insurance companies may not be willing to insure your goods in storage if you pack up the goods yourself so it may be a better idea to allow the professionals to do the packing for you.
Truck Rental:
The storage company you decide on may offer a free truck rental or have a deal with a specific truck rental company that will provide you with a discounted rate. You should be cautious of any offer that seems to good to be true and pay careful attention to the fine print in the contract before you agree to sign it. There is always the chance that the supposedly "free" rental may include extra charges if you go over a certain amount of miles or minutes. If there is a discounted rate through another truck rental service, compare the total cost to the prices of various other rental companies to ensure you have received the best deal possible. The following is a guide on what to look for when renting a truck yourself (DIY or Do It Yourself) to move your goods to storage.

Transporting the items to storage yourself? You will have to carefully plan out the details before you go ahead with the move to ensure it is hassle-free. Whether it be a few items or the contents of a four bedroom home, you will have to properly prepare for the process of renting a truck, packing your goods and loading them into the vehicle. You should keep in mind that the longer you rent the truck, the more money it will cost you. If possible, try asking friends or family to help you with your move; the more people you have helping you out, the faster and cheaper the move will be. Recruiting free assistance is a lot more cost efficient than hiring labor.

Once you have arrived at your storage unit, the storage company will most likely assist you with the unloading. However, as always, find out if there will be any additional charges applied for this service.

Tips, Tips and More Tips:
The following are some valuable tips when considering renting a truck to deliver your goods to storage:
  1. Book your truck rental early and save money.
  2. Try to rent a truck mid-week; you can save some needed cash as rates are generally more competitive during the weekdays.
  3. Obtain the right packing supplies. If your goods are not packed correctly they may become damaged in storage. Remember, your insurance will not cover items packed by you!
  4. Ask friends or family for help as soon as possible. Remind them a few days in advance so that they remember keep their schedule open.
  5. Check out the truck before you drive so you are comfortable with the various unfamiliar gauges and controls. If possible, practice driving the truck around your neighborhood to become a little more familiar with handling a large vehicle.
  6. Drive safely! Attempt to load your items early in the day so that you will not be driving to the storage facility at night.
There are advantages and disadvantages to any type of move. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of a DIY move.

  1. The move may be cheaper than a full-service or self-service move.
  2. You are in complete and total control of your move.
  3. You get the convenience of following your own schedule and are able to move on your own time.
  4. You get the chance to take a take a road trip!
  1. You will need pads and dollies which will add to your costs; the truck rental company may provide these for free, if not each pad will cost approximately $12 and each dolly will cost about $7 to rent, per day.
  2. If any of the goods are damaged in transit, then you are responsible.
  3. If you choose to get insurance, it will be more expensive than standard insurance offered by a truck rental company.
  4. There is a chance you may feel uncomfortable handling a larger vehicle.
  5. You will have the added costs of gas and tolls. If you do not return the truck with a full tank, you will be charged the premium rate for fuel.
  6. If it happens that you have to go over your allotted time, you may have to pay additional fees for extra miles or extra time.
  7. You will have to do all of the packing yourself. Since an expert will not be packing your valuables, there is a greater risk of them being damaged.
  8. The storage company may offer a packing service however, this is usually offered when you rent a truck from them directly or from a suggested vendor.
A Truck is Just a Truck?
This is not so! You will need to investigate and look into what size truck best suites your needs and size of your home or apartment. It is recommended to browse through various estimates to find the best price in exchange for quality service. To get the most accurate estimate you should supply the mover with a detailed list of the contents in your home that you wish to move.

The following is a list of a few other questions to ask when inquiring about renting a truck:
  • Do you need a permit to drive a commercial vehicle?
  • Are additional miles covered?
  • Does the truck run on gas or diesel?
  • How full does the gas tank need to be upon returning the truck?
  • Where is the most convenient drop off location near the storage unit?
  • Can the truck be used to tow your car or boat if you are planning to store these?
  • How do you operate the lift?
  • Is the cab or trailer air conditioned?
  • Does your auto insurance cover you while operating a truck?
If you will be driving your moving truck yourself, you will need to find out if your auto insurance company protects you while you drive a rented truck. However, is not common to come across an auto insurance company that does offer protection, so call your insurance provider to inquire about how much more it will cost you to insure yourself and the truck. Your current insurance policy may also offer you roadside assistance, even if you are using a different vehicle, but you will need to provide them with information about the type of truck, when you will be driving the truck and how far you will be traveling.

The items you will be moving to storage will also need to be insured and many companies offer little or no protection. If you will be using full or self service movers you will be able to obtain a more comprehensive insurance plan. In the event that you arrange to be covered by your household policy, find out when exactly the policy ends and what the restrictions are.

Smaller rental truck companies do not usually offer many extra services such as insurance or roadside assistance. For this reason, you should look at other factors when deciding on a moving company; other factors include services such as temperature control, pest control, facility maintenance and storage conditions. Price alone should not be the only consideration when comparing estimates.

Truck Size:
Paying for more space than you actually need can heavily weigh on your costs. For this reason you should rent a truck that is suitable for your belongings; you will need approximately 125 to 150 cubic feet for each furnished room. In order to know what size truck is appropriate, refer to the following guide to determine what you will need:
  • 10 ft truck - One bedroom or small apartment; approximately 350 cubic feet
  • 15 ft truck – Two bedroom house or apartment; approximately 750 cubic feet
  • 20 ft truck – Three to Four bedroom house; approximately 1250 cubic feet
  • 25 ft truck – Five to Eight bedroom house; approximately 1550 cubic feet

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