When you are looking for storage, one of the factors you will want to consider is whether or not you need electricity. For the average person using self storage, electricity is not needed. Most modern facilities will have well lit hallways with ample lighting to access your belongings. There are a few instances, however, where you may need easy electrical access.
Do storage units have electrical outlets in them? Most storage units do not have electrical outlets. This is an upgrade option only offered by a handful of facilities.
To understand this concept more, let’s look at why storage facilities don’t offer electricity.
Reasons Why Storage Facilities Don’t Offer Electricity
You may wonder why most storage facilities don’t offer electricity as an option in their units. The reason for that is simple. They want to discourage your time spent on site.
You see, most storage is passive. People deposit their belongings in the unit and come “visit” them only once or twice a month at max. As a society of consumers, the need for storage typically arises because we have purchased more than we can store in our own homes.
Living In Unit
For the average person, living in a storage unit doesn’t even cross your mind. Unfortunately, there are quite a large number of individuals who have lost their housing for one reason or another. For this set of individuals, often moving into a car is the first step on the downward path to homelessness.
Once the mobility of a car is no longer an option, or if more space is desired, living in a storage unit is a big consideration. Think about it. If you have no home, sleeping in a 10×10 storage unit with a good roof, insulation, lighting and a clean bathroom sounds much better than living on the street.
Having electricity in the unit also acts as an attractant as it provides a way to then plug in a refrigerator, television or even hot plate. As you can imagine, this not only creates an expense for the facility but also poses a fire danger. Simply put, storage units are not designed to be lived in and not having electricity in units is one deterrent facilities use to discourage that use.
Another common reason why storage facilities don’t offer in unit electricity, or even access to electricity, is cost.
Electricity isn’t free. You know that and I know that. No business owner wants to add an additional expense when, by and large it isn’t necessary. For the small number of facilities that do allow storage tenants access to electricity, the cost must be accounted for. Typically this means either higher rates or an additional monthly fee.
Of course, there are other legitimate reasons for storage, and ones that would require the use of electricity in a unit.
Legitimate Reasons You May Need Electricity in Your Storage Unit
There are, of course, some legitimate reasons you may need electricity in your storage unit. Let’s look at a couple of them.
A storage unit can be a great asset for a business that is growing faster than intended. It is also a good resource for an “at home” business that needs to maintain any kind of inventory.
Any time you are running a business out of a storage unit, electricity can become an asset. You may need to plug in a laptop and printer to check and fill orders or even just have additional lighting to see better inside larger units. Whichever the case, you aren’t trying to do anything dangerous, but electricity will help you get in and get out faster.
Musically Inclined and Keeping Things Cool
Sometimes you just need a few tunes. At a storage facility I help manage, for example, we had a tenant that rented two units and spent a couple of weeks meticulously cataloging and neatly organizing her unit.
In this case, we granted her temporary access to electricity so that she could run a fan and plug in a radio while she was here. She wasn’t asking for after hours access and, quite frankly, her unit was a masterpiece of organization when done.
This served as a reminder that sometimes, power is needed by regular tenants, even if only on a temporary basis.
Tips for Finding Storage Facilities with Electricity
So what do you do if you need to find a storage facility with electricity. First, you need to have a valid reason for it. Keeping that in mind, think about what you need power for and be willing to help set any concerns the manager may have at ease.
To get started, you can take a few steps to increase the chances that you will be able to find a facility with the features you need.
- Look for storage facilities that cater to businesses.
- Some facilities may offer electricity as an additional, add-on fee. If not advertised, ask.
- Better to ask the manager in person than over the phone.
Don’t Raise Any Red Flags
You always want to be open and honest with the storage facility manager about why you need electrical access. At a lot of storage facilities, the manager lives on site. They don’t want any issues or trouble at their home.
Again, remember that the biggest concern with people asking for electricity is that they want to live in the unit or want to leave something plugged in that could create a fire hazard and, ultimately, a liability for the facility.
To help alleviate concerns, these tips should help:
- Always visit the facility in person. Be sure to dress nicely.
- Be willing to accept “office hours only” access.
- Let the manager know why you need electricity and even ask if it can be added for an additional monthly fee.
- If you have a business card, that is even better.
- Ask if you can have a unit with either visible access to the front office or that has a good vantage point for their surveillance cameras. This does two things. It reassures them that you aren’t worried about them watching you, and that you are more interested in the security for your business items.
- Let the manager know your normal schedule. Do you normally stock inventory on Mondays and process orders three days a week? Knowing that makes it easier to predict when you will be on site.
What to Do If the Manager Says No
What not to do is get upset or angry. Stay calm and understanding. After reading this article, you know some reasons why they may say no, but sometimes it isn’t even the manager’s decision. Sometimes things like this are mandated by the owner or management company.
Instead of getting upset, ask if they know of any storage facilities in the area that might be able to accommodate you. Let them know you would be happy to let that facility know you referred them.
Typically, storage facilities in a given area are well aware of what other facilities amenities are. They use that as part of their closing process to convince tenants to rent. If they don’t have a recommendation, thank them for their time and try the next facility on your list.
You see, if you do get upset and angry, it is very possible for them to call around to any neighboring facilities they are friendly with to give them a “heads up” about a potential problem tenant and you certainly don’t want that.
Tenants asking for electricity in a storage unit is a big red flag to most managers. Doing so over the phone will almost always get you an answer of “no.” There are some legitimate concerns managers have, but also some legitimate reasons that you, a potential tenant, might need access to electricity while utilizing storage.
There are some steps you can take to increase the chance that you are able to find a storage unit with the amenities you need. Be careful not to raise any red flags and be gracious and understanding if you are told no. It can be difficult to find the right storage facility when you need electricity but patience and persistence should pay off in the end.