Which is The Better Deal: U-Store-It or ExtraSpace?

Whether it’s group buying sites like Groupon or Living Social, deep discount mega sites like Amazon or customer review sites like Yelp, online shopping is all about comparison and getting the best deal.  That’s the whole philosophy behind Storitz – but with self-storage it’s a little more complicated than just paying the least for the same Blu-Ray or getting 57% off a mani/pedi at your favorite salon because the best deal for you might not be the best deal for another customer.  We’re going to dissect the deals at two of the biggest and most recognizable self storage companies, ExtraSpace and U-Store-It to shed some light on the subtle and complex process of self storage shopping.

Rental Terminology

If you’ve been reading our blog, you should already know a lot of the details that make up a self storage rental, including move-in cost, monthly rate and administrative facility fees.  For the sake of new readers, lets cover these quickly:

Move-In Cost: Exactly what it sounds like.  How much you will need to pay to be able to move in to your storage unit.  Many facilities have deals on move-ins like “$20 Move In” to get you in the door.

Monthly Rate: This is the cost of your storage unit each month.  Just like the rent you pay on an apartment, it’s due each month in full and the rate can fluctuate (eg, be raised) when the term of your lease ends.

Administrative Fee: This is the one time fee that some storage companies charge when you move in.  (Keep in mind, Storitz charges no fees to customers so this money goes right to the facility)

Jersey City, NY Price Comparison
The most prominent price and the one that storage facilities have been using for decades now to draw potential tenants in to rent is the Move In Cost.  If we take a look at the same 10×10 unit at three Jersey City self storage facilities we find 3 different prices:

Comparing Self Storage Prices in Jersey City, NJ

The move-in costs for SmartStop Self Storage on Mallory Ave and U-Store-It on Grand Street are virtually the same ($21.40 vs. $22.00), though you will see that the price at U-Store-It actually gets you an extra 13 days (4/30 vs. 5/13).  At ExtraSpace in Hoboken, your move in cost is much higher at $113, with no “$1 move-in” specials, but that facility does have lower rents than U-Store-It.

So what’s the best deal here?  Well it really depends on what you need storage for.  If you’re looking for short term storage, it makes the most sense to choose the lowest move-in cost.  You can move in and get one month for free at U-Store-It, so you’re spending the least initially.  But if you’re looking for longer term storage, you’ll want to compare the monthly rate.

As a matter of fact, let’s take a look at how the deals shake out depending on how long you rent for.

This chart offers interesting results, because as it turns out, the longer that you rent the storage unit for, the bigger the difference between the various facilities.  It is particularly striking that for the first month, SmartStop and U-Store-It are approximately the same price.  But as time goes on, the difference becomes more and more apparent.  By the 9th month of renting, you would pay near twice as much at U-Store-It ($1,000.20) than you would at SmartStop ($573.40).  That’s a huge difference!  Furthermore, if you rented at ExtraSpace, initially your cost would be much more ($113.00) than either SmartStop or U-Store-It, but by the end of 9 months, it would actually be cheaper to have rented from ExtraSpace ($857.00) than from U-Store-It.

This is all to say, that what look like comparable deals at first glance, and what cost virtually the same amount initially (SmartStop and U-Store-It) actually end up being hugely different if you end up paying for your storage unit for 6 or 9 months.

So even though U-Store-It and ExtraSpace, two of the biggest players in the self storage market, may have the benefit of brand recognition, larger marketing budgets, and better ability to offer steep discounts at facilities with low occupancies, you may actually find that a smaller local company, like SmartStop can offer you a better deal in the long run.
These subtle differences are what make comparison shopping when looking for self storage so important.  On Storitz, you can tell exactly what you’ll be paying both as a Move In Cost and as Monthly Rate.

Hopefully this was a helpful tutorial on comparison shopping for self storage.  With low move in costs meant to draw you in, it’s important to take the time to fully assess your storage needs before making a choice.

Please leave your questions and comments below!

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One Response

  1. JOhn R. Wharton May 17, 2011

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