Millions of people around the world use storage units, and it’s no surprise as they are incredibly useful for a huge range of things. Whether you own a business and need storage for additional stock, or you simply need a place to store your extra clutter, there is a unit that is ideal for your needs. Of course, one of the big things that comes up when a person goes to look for a unit is the price, and how transparent it is to potential renters. In this article, we aim to explore the truth behind self-storage price transparency, including what the term means. So before you go to rent a unit, make sure you have a good read of this article.
What is Price Transparency?
The definition of price transparency is quite simple: ‘A situation where both the buyer and seller know the price and no intermediary is involved.’
In terms of its relation to storage units and their prices, transparency is where a storage company has their prices clearly listed on their website for customers to see. It’s a practice that is growing quite rapidly among storage companies in the UK, and we are going to take a look and see why.
Why Display the Price?
It may surprise you to know that the majority of self-storage companies don’t actually display the price of their units on their websites. Instead, you have to give them a call to find out how much a service will cost you (we will take a look at why companies do this later). It’s a practice that has worked well for years, so why are companies starting to put their prices online?
The answer is simple – most people just don’t have the time to phone up a company and talk to them about their prices. Plus, a lot of people don’t want to. It’s extra hassle and time that could be spent doing other, more important things. As a result, 30% of storage companies now have their prices listed on their website.
It makes things easier for the customer, and allows them to see everything clearly. This also means that they can compare the cost of different types of unit easily with a visual reference, instead of trying to jot them down or constantly ask “what was the price of that last one again?” on the phone.
Why Do Most Companies Not Display the Price?
The main reasons companies don’t display the price of their units is so that they can offer customers a tailor made price that reflects their needs and tries to fit in with their budget. At the same time, they talk customers through the different units available and try to assess their needs over the phone.
This is particularly useful for new customers who aren’t entirely sure about what they want or need for their items. If a customer has never used self-storage before, this is the perfect opportunity to learn more about how it works and what they can expect to pay the company each month.
It also promotes customer interaction. If a person feels as though they need to call a company to discuss prices and how the process works, they are more likely to end up making the purchase if they have a good experience with the representative on the phone.
This is fantastic for the new customers, but it is also why more experienced ones prefer to have the prices listed online – they already know what they want and they want to be able to make price comparisons between self storage facilities and then make a quick purchase.
Why is Price Transparency Good?
Price transparency is a good thing for self-storage companies to promote because it makes them look more trustworthy. They are being honest and upfront about the cost of their services, which instils more confidence in customers and can encourage them to use that particular company.
A lack of price transparency can lead to unnecessary barriers between the customer and the company. After all, needing to call up for the price can cause irritation in some customers, especially if the service on the phone is below standard. So by being transparent and breaking these barriers, you’re making it easier for the customer.
Is There Anything Bad About Price Transparency?
The only possible negative that price transparency could have is the lack of tailored prices for individual customers. After all, one of the perks of renting a storage unit is negotiating the price on the phone.
However, the vast majority of storage companies want your custom and will do everything they can to provide what you need or keep you if you are an existing customer. Therefore, price negotiation is not completely out of the window. It may be potentially more difficult to get, but it certainly shouldn’t be ruled out.
So, there aren’t really any big downsides to having price transparency on your company website – it’s as simple as that.
How to Achieve Price Transparency
It’s very simple to achieve price transparency on your self storage website. Ensure that you have a page that is clearly labelled as ‘Pricing’ (or something similar), that customers can reach to view your prices. In addition to this, all of the costs of the unit should be included on this page.
This means things like the deposit on the unit, potential hidden costs, and any other fees that they will find themselves paying once they rent the unit. Providing total transparency is great both for business and gaining customer trust.
An easy to access webpage containing all of your pricing information in detail is the best way to go for total price transparency.
The Truth Behind Price Transparency
Generally speaking, the prices provided by self storage companies on their websites are very accurate. Many promise unbeatable prices with no hidden costs, which can leave room for negotiation if you find a competitor that is cheaper than them. This is great for you, as the customer, and also good for the company as they gain your custom.
Of course, you should always be aware of the small print. The majority of companies are honest and will stick to the prices that they provide on their website. However, you should always look at the small text close to the bottom of the page or discuss the pricing with a member of staff at the unit.
The same goes for reading your contract before you sign. You may have picked up this fantastic deal online, but the contract could contain hidden costs and the potential for unexpected price hikes – some self storage companies only have to give 28 days’ notice to put up the price. Companies can do this cleverly and in a way that is completely legal, so make sure you take the time to read before you sign.
While the vast majority of companies will be honest with you and provide you with the advertised cost and no hidden fees (if promised on their website), you should always be aware that there are companies out there that do not hold the same values. So read the contract and website small print before you sign it, and always do your research. Never jump straight in without asking questions and gathering all of the facts, particularly with respect to guarantees on the initial price you are given.
Finding a Company That Offers Price Transparency
The best way to find a company offering price transparency is to look on their websites to see if they have a clear pricing page. This way, you can see if the companies you know and have heard of offer this service.
If not, a quick internet search will also reveal which companies offer clear pricing. By searching for something along the lines of ‘self-storage price transparency’, you will receive a large number of results from actual storage companies that promise clear pricing with no hidden costs.
What’s the Issue with Hidden Costs?
Hidden costs can be found in a large number of self-storage companies, and they range from ones that are very small to quite large. This is why it was reiterated earlier on that it is vital the contract is read carefully before it is signed. So what do hidden costs include?
One potential hidden cost is having to purchase a padlock from the company. This is not usually a large cost, and will often be no more than £5 to £10 extra. However, it can be a little irritating to have to buy a padlock from the storage company as opposed to supplying and using your own.
The other main potential hidden cost is insurance, and this can add a substantial amount to your monthly rental bill. Some companies will insist that you insure your goods with them for a certain amount of money. While it has been mentioned that this can increase the cost of your monthly bill, it can also do the same for the upfront cost.
Of course, most companies will allow you to choose your own padlock from a range that they supply. Similarly, they will often have several insurance options for you to look through and choose from – allowing you to make the best decision for you and your goods. However, there are a few who do not offer choices and selections.
Price transparency is a great thing for those who wish to avoid hidden costs, as the majority of the time a company will promise that there are none included and that the price you see is what you pay. It offers a deeper level of security for the customer and ensures that the prices advertised are what the customer is charged. It’s another one of the great benefits to the system.
Compulsory hidden costs can sneak up on your quite quickly, which is why it is so important that you do your research before committing and read through all the documentation you are given very carefully. Many people find the concept of hidden costs to be misleading, which is quite fair.
Now We Know the Truth…
…about price transparency, we can take a look at how to determine if renting a storage unit is right for you. After all, if you are reading this article you are likely to be either a new customer or an old one looking for somewhere new. As a result, this final section will offer some advice on how to decide of you should rent a unit. Hopefully, it will provide you with some useful pointers.
For Personal Use
Many people rent units for personal use, and a lot of the time that involves storage for their clutter and items that no longer fit in their home. This can be great for those who do not have a great deal of space, but do have important items that they don’t want to part with. Self-storage offers a safe and secure solution to this common issue. Plus, if the items have sentimental value, you know they are safe in the unit with the CCTV system and other security measures.
However, many people use units for storing clutter they will never use, and so before you go and rent a unit for personal use, make sure to ask yourself if you need the items you are planning on storing and if you will use them again. If the answer is no, it might be worth donating them to charity, selling them, or throwing them away. After all, renting a unit, however cheap, still costs money.
If you are moving house it can cause you a lot of stress and hassle, after all it is in the top five most stressful events you can experience in life. So to make the process easier, renting a storage unit for a temporary period can help to relieve some of the pressure of moving day. This is because, you can transport large, bulky, items to the unit for safe storage until moving day.
You can even use the unit for the storage of packed boxes if you find yourself overwhelmed or running out of space. The vast majority of units have easy access for commercial vehicles, so you don’t need to worry about the moving van not being able to get in. If you use a 24/7 access unit as well, this can offer even more flexibility when it comes to moving house and transporting items to and from the unit.
It might seem like an unnecessary cost on top of everything else when it comes to moving but it really can take a lot of weight off your shoulders. Plus, many units will offer special prices for short term rentals that can make it a little easier on you. So if you have plans to move house, consider renting a unit to help things run a little smoother.
For Business Owners
There are quite a few benefits renting a storage unit can have for business owners. The first of these is a secure place to store stock and other important documentation. Storage units are guarded by security at night, as well as CCTV and other security systems 24/7. This way, you know your stock is safe and in good hands outside of office hours. Plus, it can be a very convenient place to have it, as you will see in the next point.
The majority of self-storage companies have offices to hire out to small business owners. These can vary in size, from ones that hold one or two people, to those that hold up to thirty. It depends on the total size of the facility as well as the demand for offices. As a result, storing your stock on site can make things much easier for you in terms of access. The rental prices for offices tend to be incredibly reasonable as well.
Often, it is much easier to get everything in a package deal like this, and it can offer you a lot more flexibility. These units will also offer a postal service and street address for your business a lot of the time. So any mail that needs to be delivered to your company will come to the unit and you will be alerted while in your office. The street address provided makes you appear more professional.
For business owners, there are nothing but good things to come from renting a unit. Even if you don’t want an office on site and prefer to work from home or other locations, there are huge benefits to having your stock guarded on site at all times. It’s a great way to go if you are looking for some easy and beneficial business solutions without the high cost and long-term commitment of warehouse space.
Self-storage price transparency is something that more and more companies have been embracing and incorporating into their websites. Having prices clearly displayed for all to see can be very comforting for new and old customers, but can also save them time when it comes to finding the best unit for them.
It’s also hugely beneficial for the storage company as it makes them appear honest and as if they have nothing to hide – especially if they are promising that there are no hidden costs involved in the rental of the unit. The truth behind self-storage price transparency is that it is an honest practice that has not only been incredibly well received, but has also risen in popularity as a result.