All containers are designed to withstand a lot, so your precious possessions are safe from outside physical damage.
Some self-storage providers also provide a high security padlock and — usually — two keys. Others only provide a standard padlock. You may get your padlock included as part of your self-storage agreement or you may need to pay for it. The Self Storage Association regulations mean that operators are can only keep copies of your keys under special circumstances – if you would like them to receive your deliveries for example. If you hold all the keys, you can control who has access to your unit. If you do lose your keys, however, you may have to pay for a locksmith to remove your padlock. You may also have to pay for a new padlock and keys.
So, ask the operator about their policy — and also ask whether anyone has ever managed to break a padlock or they’ve found any evidence of tampering.
For complete peace of mind, it makes sense to check out the full security record of the operators you’re considering using for your self-storage. Don’t be afraid to ask them what measures they have in place to keep your unit safe. Also, check to see if they are members of any professional organisations such as the Self Storage Association. You want to be sure you are dealing with someone reputable.
It’s also important to visit the operator’s location and find out for yourself how they will look after your possessions. Do they have security patrols, for example? Is the site fully enclosed? How is access controlled? Can anyone walk onto the site at any time, day or night? Or is there a gate, for example? If so, does it have keycode access?
Does the site have any cameras? If so, ask the operator whether they are monitored and how long CCTV recordings are kept.
And if you think you’re going to need round-the-clock access, just ask yourself how safe you’d feel visiting your container at night. What is the lighting like?
If the self-storage operator can’t give you 100% peace of mind, it makes sense to look elsewhere.