In Search Of – Self Storage

In Search Of – Self Storage

What are you doing for the next two weeks? If you said, “shopping for self storage”, you are not alone. A huge mistake people make when searching for self storage is wasting unnecessary time on the phone or in the car in search of the perfect facility at which to store their things. There is no need to spend unneeded hours on the phone when there are free shortcuts out there at your beck and call; if you know where to look.

Today’s modern technology is a wonderful thing. I am sure you have heard the old saying, “necessity is the mother of innovation”. Many innovative services have popped up over the last few years to save those looking for self storage the time it takes to find the self storage unit they need. I think to fully explain just how valuable these services are, it is important to look back and reflect on how people have traditionally found self storage.

In the beginning, there was no storage. If you had too much stuff, you had to either stick it in the garage, attic, backyard, or just throw it away. Many valuable antiques and much history have been lost because there was just not enough room for them. In the 60s a man named Russ Williams, who worked in the oil industry, saw a need for someplace at which to store his boat, fishing gear and extra equipment. Because of this, the first modern self storage facility was born in Odessa, TX. The facility’s success spread quickly; they were very handy.

A few years later, self storages were sprouting up everywhere. They were much less expensive than building extra storage on to a house or buying a bigger house for that matter. Business men and sales people found the new concept of self storage pretty handy as a staging ground for their businesses. Quickly, everybody was discovering the value in renting just that little extra space they needed; and the Self Storage Industry was born.

With more and more self storage facilities being built awareness was raised and demand grew. The internet and GPS had not yet been invented, so to find a self storage facility one had to pull out the Yellow Pages and a map. Archaic, I know; it is almost hard to imagine that we once lived in those “dark ages”.

The Yellow Pages played a pretty big part for a long time in how we as Americans found everything from self storage to plumbers to the zoo. The advantage of the Yellow Pages was that everything was in alphabetical order by name. This was great if you knew which business you were looking for (by name), but what if you didn’t? How would you know who was closest to your home if you weren’t familiar with the address at which that business was located? Ah, yes, you had to call each and every one of the names in the book and have a conversation!

Back in the old days the conversation that resulted from people calling out of the Yellow Pages was a businesses only chance to make a first impression. There were (and are) classes for business managers on how to ensure that business secured an appointment with a potential customer ON THAT CALL! This is a practice that still goes on today. So, once you called a self storage facility, the manager would do a verbal dance with you to convince you they were the best place for you. This process could last for tens of minutes per call, and added hours to the process of finding the right storage facility.

Thank goodness that whole “Yellow Pages” process is a thing of the past. Raise your hand if you use the Yellow Pages still. If you raised your hand, there is no doubt in my mind that you DO in fact still use the Yellow Pages. I cannot see you raise your hand. The Internet and Google do everything they Yellow Pages ever could, but better.

The internet changed the way we do almost everything. A study by comScore in 2009 showed 74% of people pre-shop on the internet before making an offline purchase. It is so convenient to just go online, type in what you are looking for, and find it. What makes it even more convenient is that your results are not in alphabetical order; they are in order by proximity to your home (or other address)! But the downside is you still have to call and have a conversation with the manager if you want the details of the facility regarding pricing and availability.

There are services out there that do provide more robust opportunities for you to search exclusively for self storage near your home, and even allow you to request a quote anonymously.