One of the hardest things to deal with when you sell storage units are the hidden fees that many companies tack on to their prices.

For example, many storage facilities advertise “first month free,” but there is almost always an asterisk and a bunch of fine print. And that’s just the beginning of the shenanigans that some places use against customers. Usually, that free first month doesn’t include tax or the administration fee or lock fee or insurance fee and whatever other fees that the company requires as part of doing business with them. And, it may not guarantee that you are getting the lowest price.

In fact, most move in specials come with a caveat that you must rent for a specified number of months or you end up owing that first month’s rent when you move out.

But because people are often in a hurry when they are looking for storage units, or in a financial bind, they don’t always look at all the costs of storage when comparing prices. Here are some tips for avoiding sneaky fees and paying the least when renting a storage unit.

Ask how often rates increase.

Here at Spacemall, we try to keep the rate increases to once every two years. While it is not always possible to do this, we are happy to tell our customers how often the rates have increased in the past and when they are likely to increase in the future.

We often hear horror stories from tenants about other facilities where the rental rate has doubled in six months, often because the tenant received a “move in special” and now is paying rates as high or higher than our usual rate.

Ask abut fees.
At Spacemall, we have some fees that you must pay and some that you could have to pay. We try to keep those reasonable. As of June, 2017, you have a one-time $15 fee when you move in that covers the administration fee and the lock. If you bounce a check, there is a $35 fee and if you need your lock cut, there is a $30 fee. Additional fees might apply if you were so late that your unit was being prepared for auction.

Other common fees that we don’t charge are fees for insurance and fees for paying with a credit card. Some charge fees for extended access hours and more.

Ask about required insurance.

If you have home owner’s or renter’s insurance, chances are the things in your storage unit are covered. We always recommend that our customers ask their insurance agent, but we also don’t demand that you prove to us that you have insurance coverage for your storage unit. As long as you understand that your things are your responsibility, we don’t need to know about your insurance and we certainly aren’t going to charge you for it.

When you are looking for the most affordable storage units in Norristown or Collegeville, don’t be fooled by move-in specials and one-time prices. Find out what you will be paying in the second, sixth or tenth month of your stay.

Many people move into storage assuming that they will need it for just a month or two, but our average tenant has been here 15 months! Moving your things is expensive, so when you choose a storage unit, you want to choose one that is most economical for the long term.