Planning an Upcoming Move

Renting A Storage Unit For Your Business? 2 Things You Should Ask Facility Managers First

If you are looking for a little extra space to store extra inventory or old equipment, you might be shopping around for a storage unit for your business. However, before you start grilling facility managers about cleanliness and security, you should consider the fact that other aspects might matter more on a day-to-day basis. Here are two things you should ask facility managers before you fill out rental paperwork so that you can have a great experience:

1. Accessibility

Accessing that storage unit might seem like a breeze when you initially visit the facility, but how easy will it be to use that space each day? Some facilities have strict security protocols that make it difficult for businesses to access, load, and unload their units on their own timetable. To avoid trouble, take the time to talk with your storage manager about unit accessibility. Here are a few things you should mention:

  • After Hours Access: If you need to access that unit in the early morning hours or after the office closes, you might be left locked out in the cold unless you get permission beforehand. Think carefully about your delivery schedule to decide whether or not you need after-hours access. Some facilities can grant extended or 24-hour access to businesses.
  • Access Levels for Different Employees: Some facilities use computerized gate systems that allow you to grant different levels of access to different employees. For example, you might want to give your delivery guys 24 hour access, but restrict facility usage to normal business hours for regular employees. Ask facility managers if you can grant different passcodes to each of your employees so that you can control who can access your unit.
  • Equipment Clearance: You might be able to get to that unit easily with your smart car, but will your delivery truck be able to make it down that narrow exterior storage corridor? Before you choose a storage facility, measure your delivery vehicles and forklifts carefully. Making sure that your equipment will fit inside the facility will be crucial to daily operations.

It also might be a good idea to ask facility managers about other businesses that use their storage facility. Ask if other large companies have problems sending employees to retrieve or deliver merchandise. If the facility currently rents to several other large businesses, it might be a sign that you are in the right place.

2. ACH Payments

A single late payment might not be that big of a deal if you are using that storage unit for personal use, but when it comes to storing for your business, late payments can cause a lot of trouble. Because most storage facilities overlock units that are linked with past-due accounts, missing an invoice might mean time delays for your employees.

Fortunately, you might be able to ward off trouble by using a storage facility that accepts ACH payments. Unlike credit card transactions, which rely on a valid card number, ACH transactions are simple electronic transfers between one bank account and another by using a routing number. These transactions occur automatically, eliminating the need for paper invoices and the attention of your accounting team. Also, because ACH transactions are tied to a routing number instead of a credit card, you won't have to worry about updating information whenever card information changes.     

If your storage facility accepts ACH transactions, you will need to fill out a little paperwork authorizing the monthly charge. However, after your account is all set up, you won't have to worry about forgetting your storage rent.  

By doing your research and setting up an easy way to make payments, you might be able to use that storage unit like an extension of your own business—without worrying about getting locked out.