As soon as you start shopping for a storage unit from a company like North Star Mini Storage, you might be tempted to focus more on price or location than you do about the actual self-storage facility itself. However, in the long run, a facility with just basic features might be more trouble than you realize. Here are two high-tech storage unit features you should look for, and how they might make your life a lot easier:
1: Smart Access Systems
Sure, that front gate might seem pretty high-tech, but if the system is older, that computerized gate might do nothing more than open when you punch in a code. Some older systems don't even provide helpful reporting tools to on-site managers, making it difficult to track who comes and goes. However, some facilities have invested in high-end smart access systems, which contain software that constantly monitors and matches front gate codes to the actual unit door key codes.
Smart access systems work by corresponding a gate key code with the unit number and entry code on the door unit. As soon as a gate code is entered at the front gate, the system automatically approves entry at the actual unit door. For example, if your storage unit is space A23, putting in your gate code would give permission for that actual storage door to open when you get to your space. After entering your correct unit door code, you would have access to your things. However, if you enter a front gate code that doesn't correspond with your actual unit door, a notification sends directly to the front office.
These notifications work in two ways. First and foremost, it alerts managers that someone is trying to open a door that isn't theirs. As soon as they are notified, managers have the option of using security cameras to research the incident or to call police. Second, gate code correspondence issues can also tell managers that their customers need help. If you forget your gate code or you have forgotten which door is yours, a manager can look up your proper information, guide you to your unit, and help you to gain access to your things.
After you find storage facilities with a smart access system, ask how well it works and how closely the system is monitored. After all, those extra controls and notifications won't help you much if there isn't a real-life manager manning the helm.
2: Consumer Kiosks
Few things are more frustrating than realizing that you have an urgent problem with your storage unit and not being able to get help from an on-site manager. Unfortunately, if managers don't live on site or it is after hours, you might be on your own to manage that issue until the business opens the next day. However, to remedy this age-old storage problem, facilities across the nation are installing consumer kiosks. These self-service kiosks are capable of helping customers to:
- Make Payments: Don't worry about mailing that check or getting to the office before it closes. Self-service kiosks can be used to make payments after hours—which might make it possible to avoid late fees.
- Report Service Calls: You can also use self-service kiosks to report service calls for your storage space. For example, if you notice that your door hasp isn't closing properly or that your unit roof seems to be leaking, you can use a kiosk to report the problem immediately and speed up the repair.
If you are worried about finding a unit in your area with these helpful systems, you shouldn't be. Self service kiosk sales jumped an astounding 53% in 2014, which means that if business owners haven't already invested, they are probably seriously considering the possibility.
By finding a storage facility with cutting-edge features, you might be able to keep a closer eye on your belongings—while avoiding extra trips and paperwork.