“ If you are moving, relocating or just need to offload to make more space storage facilities can be beneficial. Big Yellow offers personal and business storage. „
I read with amazement the only other review of Big Yellow Self Storage.
Frankly I think it must be written by the marketing department of BYSS. Read it carefully and it is so wonderful that it just does not seem realistic.
And well, unfortunately it is not.
But let's start with the positive aspects. The place is clean, very new and has electronic entry gadgets which probably provide a quite good security.
Access and availability is good. It is probably a good place if you need to go in and out of your self storage on a regular basis.
But realistically in most cases a self storage is visited very rarely, and the contents in the storage is left there for months if not years. What you really need is an easy check-in and check out and above all good rates.
On both these scores the place fails dismally.
Getting in there was time consuming and not helped by inadequate information as to the very particular requireemts the company has to new tenants. Irritating at the time, but something one can get over if the price is right.
But it is very high. And amazingly it automatically goes up if you remain a tenant. Just like that.
They have an introduction offer where the first two months are half price. OK after that it goes up. I understand that. But then they suddenly apply an increase after 24 week of 6%. Just like that and as a standard. They do not tell you that beforehand and I am nor sure how often they make such increases. Perhaps every 6 weeks??
Given that is already is expensive, this kind of business practice is unacceptable to me. So I will move out as soon as I can.
And I hope that somone else will read this review and realise that there are other and much better options out there. - Not least following the previous review of that same place.
It's sometimes difficult to imagine that you would need to use storage facilities. The need to have them tends to just spring up on you and it can be quite a surprise to learn about the good ones and the bad ones. I've got a couple of properties that I let out to private tenants and something I learnt a long time ago is the need to be flexible when it comes to furniture. Some people have their own, some people don't and if you want to get a tenant in quickly you need to be ultra-flexible. Both my let properties started life fully furnished, but both are currently furnished by the tenant, leaving me with two sets of apartment furniture. The nature of the market is such that when the existing tenants move out, the incoming tenants might be very different, at which point having a set of ready-to-go furniture in storage will be crucial. So I have a fairly good working knowledge of storage companies.
If you do need to use a storage company, go for a new one. Don't, whatever you do, go for a company that uses an old warehouse or similar. They're very often damp (regardless of what the company tells you about their air conditioning) the temperature tends to fluctuate massively and, crucially, they usually have really old, really slow lifts. These things will mean something to you if you have to make twenty trips up and down in an elevator car with things on trolleys. Trust me on this.
Big Yellow is a relatively new player in the storage market, but, for me, they're the market leader. They have something like 66 units around the country, 33 are in the London area the other 33 are around the UK. All the units (as far as I am aware) are purpose-built which means that they are in excellent condition and have good, modern facilities. They tend to be on major ring roads or other busy routes to maximise accessibility. (This can be another disadvantage with older units that seemed to be tucked away in dodgy, creaky parts of town.)
Big Yellow's approach to things is reasonably common sense and I find them very easy to deal with. If you want storage but you're not sure how much space you need, they have show units in all sites that you can inspect to decide for yourself. My advice is that you shouldn't be convinced only by the floor space. Remember the storage unit goes up as well as out and you should try and minimise the space you use by storing up as well as over the floor. The bigger the floor space, the more you pay. The depots that I use have a considerable variety of unit sizes (another advantage over older sites) and prices are reasonable. Most storage places have deals whereby the first four weeks are half price or the second four weeks are free and so on, so for short-term rental you can usually get a very good deal.
The arrangement is very simple and not unique to Big Yellow. Simply select the unit you want, fill out the paperwork and then pay an advance on the rent and a security deposit. The actual amounts differ according to the size of the unit and the method by which you intend to pay (you can pay by direct debit or recurring card payments) and for small businesses there are different rates to consumers. Prices at Big Yellow are competitive. There are cheaper companies out there, but they don't have the quality of units to offer so it's worth paying a little bit more. Once you've paid up, you are allocated a unit. You need to provide (or buy) a padlock to secure the unit and only you will have access to a key for this, so you should rest assured that nobody can get into your unit. Always buy a padlock in a DIY store. Big Yellow charge a comparably high fee for one of their own and it feels like a waste of money. When you rent a unit, you do sign a contract that will oblige you to give seven days' notice when you want to leave. This is no big deal but worth considering if you really want to minimise costs.
Security is a huge issue where your possessions are concerned, and Big Yellow units are without any doubt the most secure that I have ever used. The actual buildings are manned most of the time and have a network of cameras and alarms outside opening times. When you arrive, you have to punch a security code into a panel, which then grants you access to the lifts and units. If somebody accesses your unit without your code being entered at the entrance an alarm is activated. You also have to punch this code in as you leave, to maintain an accurate log of who is in the building. The unit doors are very sturdy (obviously choose a good padlock) but everywhere is visible to a security camera so nobody could get up to anything without being on film.
The staff members are very good. Big Yellow made it into the Times Top Companies To Work For awards this year and this seems to be reflected in the people you have to deal with. They're helpful, flexible and knowledgeable and don't seem to get caught up in process and detail at the expense of good customer service. They'll spend as much time explaining things as you need or, conversely, to the hardened storer, they'll just leave you alone.
There are strict guidelines about what you can and can't store and you have to itemise the contents of your unit. This is not down to every small item though so one box of miscellaneous kitchen items is listed as just that. Your home contents insurance may provide cover for your possessions whilst temporarily in storage, but if not, Big Yellow offer insurance on the units. It's convenient to do it all in one transaction but not the cheapest method and it's worth getting a quote from your insurer before you decide to sign up with Big Yellow. Also if you add stuff to your unit or take stuff out, you are supposed to amend the inventory.
The depots are very clean and well maintained, unlike some of the older units you find. There are plenty of trolleys (small and large) to help shifting gear backwards and forwards and access to the site tends to be very sensibly laid out. The benefit of building for purpose means that you can design the site appropriately and, again, older sites can often be very awkward with vans or estate cars. If you are moving home they do you quite good deals on boxes and bubble wrap, but you can get these things a lot cheaper still if you go to the likes of eBay. They also have a deal whereby if you hire a van through one of their preferred suppliers to move stuff into their unit, they'll refund the cost. They also do deals through Hertz for discounted rentals.
As standard, you can only access the unit during set opening times. These are reasonably accommodating (usually 0800-1800 midweek and 10:00-16:00 at weekends). You can pay extra for 24-hour access (quite a lot extra as it happens), which would probably only be necessary if you are storing things there for a business. Out-of-hours access is managed via the same secure system of PIN and password.
So all in, this is definitely the best storage company around. The benefit of having the units purpose built is untold and something you can only really appreciate if you've tried one of the manky old ones. If you ever find yourself needing to use storage facilities, my advice is to head straight to the nearest Big Yellow one.