When looking into a new self-storage facility, you'll often be given the option of either renting month-to-month or signing a long-term storage lease. Just as with an apartment, renting a self-storage unit long-term conveys some benefits that renting month-to-month may not offer. Long-term storage leases are generally given on an annual basis, with three month or six month leases being available but rare.
1. You're Guaranteed a Locked-In Price
If you rent month-to-month, you may find your storage prices going up over time. With a long-term storage lease, you're usually locked in to a single price; you'll be able to secure the price for the entire term of the lease. If you already know that you will need a storage unit for that amount of time, you can save a lot of money this way. (Note that if you decide to change or upgrade your unit, the locked-in price usually won't remain.)
2. You Can Get a Significant Discount
When you sign a storage lease, you usually prepay for the entirety of the time all at once. When doing this, you usually get a substantial discount. You may only pay a fraction of what you would have paid month-to-month, or you may get the last months of your lease free, depending on the self-storage facility. Don't be afraid to negotiate your rates if you're paying for a large amount of time.
3. You Don't Need to Worry About Scheduled Payments
Because you pay for your long-term lease in advance, you don't have to worry about potentially being late. If you're a forgetful person -- or if you just prefer to manage your bills simply -- this can be critical, because items that become delinquent in a self-storage facility can be auctioned off. The amount of time it takes for a storage facility to auction off items will depend on your location, but once they are auctioned they usually cannot be recovered.
Even if you sign a long-term storage lease, you'll often still have the ability to switch storage sizes later on if you find that your current storage needs are not sufficient. Not all self-storage facilities require long-term leases, but most will give you the benefits (such as discounts) if you are willing to prepay for more months ahead of time. Every storage facility is different, so make sure you read the long-term lease carefully -- in particular, the clauses regarding canceling the service if it becomes unnecessary.