Shopping and trying to figure out how much storage units cost can be a challenge… especially when you’re trying to coordinate a move, too.
Prices are heavily influenced not only by availability but other factors that aren’t as obvious.
In episode 7 of Master Your Move, Corey, our Dallas manager draws upon his past expertise as a storage facility manager to guide you in getting the best storage unit deals.
Read on to learn how much storage units generally cost, the four main factors that influence cost, and tips for renting storage units with a winning combination of availability and price.
How Much Storage Units Cost in General
So what’s a good price for a storage unit?
Generally speaking, around $1 per square foot. Remember, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule since demand plays a role, and smaller units can cost more while larger units often run lower.
MASTER TIP: Use this chart to see how much a monthly storage unit may cost you:
|Storage Unit Size
||*General Starting Cost
|10 x 10
||*This is an estimate.
Prices could double or triple based on demand, location,
|10 x 15
|10 x 20
These 4 Factors Drive Storage Unit Prices
When you’re looking for the right storage unit, price is ultimately the deciding factor.
How much you’ll end up paying for a storage unit is almost exclusively influenced by:
- Size of the unit
- Area where the storage facility is located
- Demand and scarcity of local storage units
- Amenities and/or security features
Below, we’ll go into these factors deeper. Plus, you’ll find tips on how to get better storage unit deals.
1. Size of the Storage Units
“They often split up things by dollar-per-square-foot… but as the unit gets smaller, the dollar-per-square-foot goes up. So there is bulk pricing [built into] all storage.”
According to Corey, you’ll typically pay more with a smaller unit, where the price is frequently inflated. Larger units will often provide discounts.
Storage facilities usually price units by the square footage.
Luckily, if you need to tuck more things away—or, rather larger items—it goes both ways. For renting a larger storage unit, say, the size of a 10×20, you’ll often save money.
MASTER TIP: If you were expecting to need two storage units instead of one, ask for a larger size so you can pay less. This way, you’ll have only one unit to worry about and you’ll save money on rent in the long run.
2. Storage Facility Location
“Storage is real estate. They’re directly connected to the cost of the land. So if you’re in an expensive area and the land is more expensive, the storage is more expensive. If you’re out in the boonies where the land is cheaper, then the storage will be cheaper.”
The area where your storage facility is located will also significantly influence the cost of your unit.
So, pricier areas will host more expensive storage options, complete with features and amenities that justify the cost.
Newer storage facilities will often offer the best deals and security features, especially the kind of mechanisms that heavily rely on technology.
If you live in a swankier part of town, expect to pay a bit more for storage—but make sure the amenities are worth it! The alternative? Skip looking for local storage units and go a bit further out.
MASTER TIP: Live in a higher-priced area? Try to save money by looking for storage facilities in another neighboring (but less expensive) zipcode.
3. Demand & Availability of Local Storage Units
“[They] had systems in place where the computer would automatically increase the price of a unit size as we ran out. So, scarcity increases the price of a storage facility. If I only had one 10×20 drive-up [storage unit] left, it would be $500. It would be so much more expensive because we only had one left.”
As they say in basic economics, scarcity of an in-demand supply can increase the value.
It’s no different when it comes to storage. And there’s no negotiating the cost of a storage unit because price increases are oftentimes built into the system.
Seasonality greatly affects the demand, and consequently, the price, of renting storage units.
Summer, for instance, is peak moving season.
People are moving into new houses, breaking their leases, downsizing, and more. Right before summer, plenty of teachers also pack up their classrooms and need someplace to store supplies and decor.
Think about everyone you have to compete with to get a decent deal on storing your stuff. Then, start hunting early.
Many investors are simply trying to sell recently built and practically full storage locations.
Since tenants tend to book storage units for the longterm, brand-new facilities can be a cash cow and managers are looking to fill them as quickly as possible. That means they’ll usually offer better prices than more established storage facilities.
MASTER TIP: Look for a new storage unit facility to find the best deals. $100 for a 10 x 10 unit, or $200 for a 10 x 20 unit are both great prices!
4. Amenities & Security Features
“One storage unit I worked at had drive-up climate control. They had this huge door that you actually drove into, so you drove in the building, and you could unload into a drive-up unit. We charged a huge premium for that, because there were only 25-30 units on the ground floor where you could drive through.”
Most people will settle for having an alarm on their storage facility and be satisfied.
But is that all you need? You actually have plenty of storage options for moving, complete with the most cutting-edge and convenient amenities.
Considering how much amenities factor into your cost for a storage unit, seeking out lots of features will cost you more, while being too concerned with cost could put your valuables at risk.
Amenities are also tied to the storage location, so higher-priced areas will offer more security and features that increase your monthly rate.
When weighing features of a storage unit facility’s amenities, strongly consider what you really do and do not need:
- Is there a facility manager onsite? (This can impact your hourly rate if you’re moving and have storage issues.)
- Are there elevators? Are they standard or cargo elevators?
- Do you prefer certain locking mechanisms or automatic time logs?
- How often will you be visiting the storage unit?
- What kinds of items will you be storing there?
- Are the items highly valuable or temperature-sensitive?
- Will you need a climate-controlled unit?
- How long will you be storing the items?
- Are you planning to sell or donate the contents and need them in top condition?
- Will you need to drive your vehicle through a carport to load/unload?
MASTER TIP: Figure out what amenities are non-negotiable before you shop so you can quickly strike off facilities that don’t meet those standards.
Now that you have a general idea of how storage units are priced (and ways to get the best deals), you’re ready to choose the perfect fit for your needs.
Let us know if you still have questions about how much storage units cost or other tips on getting great prices!