Storage Unit Prices: What Does a Storage Unit Cost?
Are you running out of space and wondering how much is a storage unit? Storage unit prices range from $20 to $450 per month, with the national average at $250 per month.
- Typical Range: $20 to $450
- National Average: $250
If you’re running out of storage space in your home or need a location to store your belongings while transitioning from one place to another, it’s time for a storage unit. According to HomeAdvisor, storage unit prices can range from $90 to $450 per month, with the national average at $250 per month. The cost for a 10-foot by 10-foot storage unit can run between $80 and $160 per month, while a storage rental for an RV or car can run from $45 to $450 per month, depending on the size. If you need a climate-controlled storage space, expect to pay at least an additional $25 per month. The exact price of a storage unit depends on your geographic location, size of the unit, availability, taxes and fees, and what you need to store. To find an accurate estimate of what you’ll pay, search online for “storage units near me.”
Factors in Calculating Storage Unit Prices
Many factors impact storage unit prices. Prices can differ from the national average due to location, the size and accessibility of the unit, the purpose of the unit, seasonality, availability, rental contract length, taxes, fees, and insurance rates.
Storage units in a densely populated urban area will cost more than a storage facility in a more rural location. The higher price results from more demand in cities and suburban areas. To get a good idea of how much a storage unit costs in your area, search online for “storage unit near me.”
Unit Size and Accessibility
Storage unit prices vary by the size of the space. Typically, larger storage units cost more to rent than small storage units, although larger units usually cost less per square foot. Availability and demand for a specific size unit can also impact the overall price. Accessibility is another factor that affects storage unit prices. An older storage facility that has drive-up access usually costs less than a newer multilevel indoor facility. A location that has security cameras, 24-hour access, and employees that canvas the location may charge more than facilities that do not have those options.
While many people will use a storage unit to store furniture, boxes of books, and other housewares, others may need to store a car or an RV, or they may require a climate-controlled unit for delicate or valuable items. The cost to store a motor vehicle is different and typically more expensive than a standard storage unit, and you can expect to pay more for a climate-controlled space.
Seasonality and Availability
The most popular time of year to buy a new house and move is from May to September. Storage units are typically more expensive to rent during those months than other times of the year because of people needing the extra room to store their belongings between moves or overflow belongings that won’t fit in a new space. Increased demand means higher prices. Consider renting during the moving off-season to save some money. The most popular storage unit size is a 10-foot by 20-foot unit that can fit the belongings of a 2- to 3-bedroom residence. The availability and demand for this size unit can drive up the price in your area.
Rental Contract Length
The duration of the rental contract can affect storage unit prices. Some storage facilities will rent on a month-to-month basis, and others have a minimum rental period of a few months at a time (typically 3 or 6 months). Some facilities require payment in full at the time you sign the contract. Be sure to ask all the important questions you may have regarding the storage unit before you sign.
Taxes, Fees, and Insurance
Depending on your geographic location, there may be local and state taxes that are added on top of the monthly rental fee. Expect to pay administration fees as well. Some facilities charge a one-time fee, and others charge monthly fees. Some other fees that renters may experience are late fees, locksmith fees, and cleanup fees when the unit is emptied. Storage facilities typically require insurance coverage to protect your belongings, and they may ask for proof of insurance. If you don’t have renters or homeowners insurance that covers a storage unit, the facility may offer insurance that you may purchase through them. If that’s the case, the insurance premium will be added to your monthly rental fee.
Additional Costs and Considerations
When budgeting for storage unit prices, it’s helpful to know additional price factors and considerations that can increase the overall cost of the rental unit. These can include self-storage versus portable storage, full-service storage, indoor versus outdoor storage, storage unit delivery costs, whether you need a climate-controlled unit, security, and car and RV storage.
Self-Storage vs. Portable Storage
A self-storage unit is practical for those who are in between homes and need a place to store furniture and boxes, and it’s also useful for those who need to stash away seasonal decorations and reduce clutter or those who have a car or RV to store. For self-storage units, the renter is responsible for transporting and storing the items within the unit. Typically, self-storage units are accessible whenever you need to get to your belongings. Self-storage units are less expensive than full-service storage facilities, which makes them more budget-friendly.
Portable storage units are delivered to your home for ease of access and convenience. Portable units can also be used for storage on your property or for long-distance moves. The overall price is based on how long you’ll need the unit, where it will be stored, and the distance it will travel to get to your home.
Full-service storage companies, sometimes called valet storage or on-demand storage, will pick up your belongings and deliver them to a storage unit or warehouse. Many times the customer can schedule the pickup or return via a smartphone app. Going through a full-service storage company is more convenient and hassle-free than transporting your furniture and boxes to a storage unit on your own. Many valet storage facilities will photograph and catalog your belongings once they’re stored away. While some full-service storage companies offer competitive pricing with self-storage units, they’re typically more expensive.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Storage
Indoor storage units are located inside a building. The benefits of having an indoor storage space are the extra security and the option for a climate-controlled area. You’re also protected from the elements if you need to make a trip to your storage unit in inclement weather. Indoor units are typically more expensive than outdoor storage.
Outdoor storage units are often located behind a passcode-protected fence, so they are still secure. They’re convenient for car, RV, motorcycle, boat, or trailer storage since you can simply drive into the unit and drive out when needed. Outdoor options are good for those who don’t need a climate-controlled option. Some storage facilities may offer the extra option of a block heater for an outdoor unit if needed.
Storage Unit Delivery Costs
Delivery fees for portable storage units typically range from $100 to $500. Keep in mind that for a portable unit you’ll need a space for the unit as well as for the delivery vehicle to maneuver to unload the storage unit.
If you need a climate-controlled storage unit, prepare to pay at least an additional $25 to $30 per month, and some facilities may charge up to 50 percent more for this option. The price difference for climate-controlled units depends on the size of the storage space. A 10-foot by 20-foot climate-controlled storage unit can cost $50 more per month than a non-climate-controlled option. A climate-controlled storage unit ensures the temperature inside the unit stays below 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and above 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. The humidity level is also managed to stay below 65 percent. Temperature and humidity control is important if you store wooden or leather furniture, artwork, electronics, instruments, and antiques. Many people who need long-term storage options for valuable belongings or live in an area that experiences extreme temperatures opt for a climate-controlled storage unit.
When you rent a storage unit, you want to make sure it is safe and secure. Inquire about video monitoring, security gates and doors, in-person surveillance, and if the facility provides the lock or if you can supply your own.
Car and RV Storage
If a car needs to be stored for a short period of time, driving it into a storage unit may be the best solution. If you need a long-term solution, a space that’s dedicated to vehicle storage might be the best bet. Prices for car storage can range from $45 to $450 depending on the length of time the storage space is needed, the size of the storage unit, and whether the area is climate controlled. Storing an RV requires a space big enough to accommodate such a large vehicle. Fortunately, dedicated storage facilities for RVs, campers, and trailers are not difficult to find, even in more rural areas.
Storage Unit Prices: Types of Storage Units
Storage unit prices can vary depending on the availability, size, type of storage unit, the duration of the rental contract, taxes, fees, insurance, and any additional features. The types of storage units typically available are traditional, portable, self-storage, and storage in transit units.
Traditional storage units usually have drive-up access with a roll-up garage door. These storage spaces are typically used for short-term storage and for items that are not susceptible to temperature fluctuations. Some traditional storage facilities may offer access to your belongings whenever you need it, and others may store your property with no access available until you’re ready to move it to a new location.
Portable storage units are containers that are dropped off on your property so you can fill it on your own. The unit can stay there until you empty it, or it can be transported to a new location. The cost to rent a portable unit ranges between $90 per month for a 7-foot container and up to $250 per month for a 20-foot container. There are extra fees to deliver the unit, pick it up, and if needed, take it to a storage facility until you’re ready for the unit to be dropped off again.
Self-storage units typically have 24-hour access. The cost of a self-storage unit depends on the size of the unit and your location. The average cost can range from $20 to as much as $450 per month. In a rural area, a small 5-foot by 5-foot unit could be as low as $20 per month, while a 10-foot by 30-foot unit in a more urban area could run around $300 per month.
Storage in Transit
Storage in transit is an option that some moving and storage companies offer. This is when all of your belongings are stored right on the moving truck or in a moving company’s warehouse. This can be beneficial for those who have an extended period of time between moving out of the old space and before they can move into their new home. Some homeowners also choose this option when renovating their home or staying in a temporary space. When using a moving company, this can be a cheaper option than renting a separate storage unit and moving all the items on your own.
Do I Need a Storage Unit?
There are several reasons for needing to rent a storage unit. These include the process of moving into a new home, the need to declutter, needing a space to store furniture during a remodeling project or when staging a home to put on the market, off-season vehicle storage, having a place to sort and go through a loved one’s belongings, and an area to stash dorm room furniture during the summer.
Decluttering or Downsizing
Some people like to rent a storage space so they can go through the process of decluttering and downsizing at home and need storage ideas. Having a storage unit can allow someone to have an area to store items while they decide if they want to donate or sell.
A popular reason to rent a storage unit is during the moving process. Extra storage is needed if you move into a smaller home or if the space isn’t ready by the time you need to move out. If you find yourself consolidating homes or if you’re between homes, you’ll need space for sorting and storage.
When starting a renovation project, it’s best to clear the area so there are no obstacles in the way. Storage units allow homeowners the option to keep their belongings safe and out of the way until the renovations are finished.
If you are selling your home, you’ll need to stage the interior. By removing any unneeded or personal items and stashing them in a storage unit, you can make your home more attractive to potential buyers.
Off-Season Car Storage
People with multiple cars or with RVs, campers, trailers, or motorcycles may not have the extra driveway or garage space to store them during the off-season. A storage unit will keep them dry and safe when they’re not being used.
Family Personal Effects
When a loved one passes away, going through their belongings can be an overwhelming experience. If there is a rush to sell or rent their home, some family members might decide that renting a storage unit and waiting until the right moment to sort their belongings is the right move. Having a storage space during an emotional time can allow you to feel less rushed when deciding what to sell, donate, or keep.
Renting a storage unit is an excellent option for college students during the summer months when they can’t stay on campus. Recent graduates can also take advantage of a storage space while they’re applying for jobs and are in between apartments. If you decide to start a new hobby and know that the extra bedroom that is rarely used would make a great art studio or space to practice the guitar, a storage unit is a great idea when you need to store furniture that you’re not currently using.
How to Save Money on Storage Unit Prices
Storage unit prices can be high, and the additional costs associated with renting a space can quickly add up. One way to save money on storage unit prices is to rent the cheapest unit you can find, but there are other ways to save without giving up the options you want.
- Shop around. By comparing storage unit prices from several companies you can find the price and amenities that work the best for you and your storage needs.
- Check prices often. This process may take some time, but storage unit prices can fluctuate on a daily basis. By checking the prices of various companies every day, you may be able to find a cheaper price.
- Go online. Storage unit prices are cheaper when you shop online than when you go to the facility to rent a unit. You can save approximately 20 percent by reserving a space online.
- Location. If you’re willing to rent a storage unit outside the city limits, it may be less expensive. Storage units in a more urban area are typically more expensive due to the high demand. If you don’t mind driving a short distance, you may save some money.
- Stack it. Storage units usually have high ceilings. If you stack your belongings, arrange furniture, stash items in drawers and cubbies, and pack carefully to utilize the space, you can save money by renting a smaller unit.
- Look for discounts. Search for coupons and discounts when you search for “storage facility near me.” If you find a facility you like, always ask if they offer discounts or have any current promotions that can save you money. Some companies may also be open to price negotiation if you plan on a long-term rental.
Questions to Ask About Storage Unit Prices
Asking the right questions about storage unit prices can minimize miscommunication and save money. Here are some questions to ask about storage unit prices.
- What are the access hours for the facility?
- How often can I access my storage unit?
- How often are the smoke detectors and fire alarms checked?
- What type of security system is in place?
- Are there video cameras? Do they record?
- What is the history of theft at this location?
- Do you offer climate-controlled storage?
- What is the cost of the unit after the initial move-in rate special?
- How much are fees?
- Are there special rates for a long-term contract?
- What are the late-fee policies?
- What can I store?
- Do you carry insurance?
- Will you provide references?
Deciding on a storage unit while staying within your budget can be a bit of a challenge. Here are some frequently asked questions about storage unit prices to help guide you in your decisions.
Q. Can I store my vehicle in a storage unit?
Typically, yes. Be sure to ask the storage facility if they allow for vehicle storage and what their guidelines are for car storage.
Q. When can I access my storage unit?
Each storage facility has its own hours and access policies. Some allow for 24-hour access, and other companies limit storage unit access to their business hours. Check with the storage facility before renting and signing a contract.
Q. Do I need to pay for maintenance of my storage unit?
Some storage companies may charge a cleanup fee when you move out of the unit. If you want to avoid this fee, be sure to take all of your belongings out of the unit and ensure it’s swept and tidy before ending your contract.
Q. How long can I rent a storage unit?
Some storage facilities will rent on a month-to-month basis, and others may require a long-term commitment. Always inquire about rental durations when you research a rental space to make sure a unit is available for as long as you need it.
Q. What happens if someone steals something from my storage unit?
Most storage facilities require that you have insurance to protect your belongings. Technically, as long as a storage facility provides security features throughout the property, they’re not responsible for theft unless it’s a result of neglect. That’s why it’s important to check your renters or homeowners insurance policy to see if it covers a storage unit. If it doesn’t, some storage companies offer insurance coverage that can be added to your monthly bill.
Q. Do I pay for extra security for my storage unit?
Increased security features such as individual video cameras or alarms for each unit may cost more than the standard security protocols such as a gate keypad, fences, and desk personnel.
Q. Can I rent a storage unit for just 1 day?
For storage facilities that don’t require a contract or a minimum rental duration, it is possible to rent a unit for a day at a time. Keep in mind that renting for such a short period may be more expensive in the long run. Always check with the rental company about rental periods.
Q. What happens if I leave my stuff in a storage unit and forget it?
If you fail to make payments on a storage unit, the facility could seize your belongings and sell them at auction. This happens if a previously agreed-upon number of payments are missed. This is usually stipulated within the rental contract. Once a grace period ends, the facility can decide that the unit and its contents have been abandoned.
Q. What should I not put in a storage unit?
Certain items that cannot be put in a storage unit include drugs; living things such as plants, pets, or people; flammable or explosive items; pet supplies; stolen items; perishable food; and hazardous materials.