SELF STORAGE VS BOX STORAGE: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
Looking for storage in London? Wondering if you should choose self-storage or box storage, what the differences are, and most importantly, how much storage is going to cost you in London? If so, then look no further! We’ve put together all the information you will need to help you decide which kind of storage is right for you.
Self-storage is an abbreviation for self-service storage. In this industry, storage space such as rooms, lockers, containers and outdoor spaces, are also known as storage units. The storage units are rented to tenants, usually on a monthly basis, and they usually cater for business and personal use.
Although there is historical evidence of publicly available storage in ancient China, modern self-storage facilities did not appear until the late 1960s, when the first self-storage facility, called Chains, opened in Texas. Modern storage facilities grew slowly through the 90s, and from 2000 to 2005, over 3,000 new facilities were built every year in America.
The Federation of European Self-Storage Associations published a report in 2014, in which it was estimated that 975 storage facilities existed in the United Kingdom. Self-storage associations have been created around the world to support the industry in its growth. These associations offer support by providing information, education, networking, referrals, events, standardized agreements, data collection, marketing, advocacy, and publications for current and potential facility owners, managers, suppliers and investors.
The storage industry, just like any other, is evolving. Although the more traditional self-storage facilities are still available, the aim to make the storage experience smooth, problem-free, accessible and convenient, has led to there now being a range of options available to anyone looking for storage, whether it be long term, short term, small items or large. However, with such a range of choices comes the inevitable questions and decision making.
- How much space do I need?
- How will I get my goods there?
- Will my items be insured?
Deciding what type of storage is right for you can be quite confusing, with lots of hidden extras such as insurance, padlocks and deposits, packing materials and more. Depending on how much storage space you need and for how long, these extra charges can be avoided, keeping your storage costs in London at a minimum.
The location of your chosen storage facility can also affect how much you pay, companies with multiple branches offer different quotes depending on which area they are situated in. With quite a difference in fees between these areas, by shopping around you can save a small fortune on your storage costs in London!
SO, SELF-STORAGE OR BOX STORAGE, WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Self-storage is the traditional and original way of storing items. After booking the required storage area, you take your belongings to the storage facility. Once the items are stored you can return to the storage area anytime, subject to opening hours, and once your rental period is up you will need to collect the items yourself. Self-storage can range from 10ft to hundreds of feet and would be good for larger items, large house moves or if you need to regularly visit the storage area.
Some self-storage facilities now offer the added extra of collecting your goods from your location, too.
STORAGE BY THE BOX
Box storage is the more modern version of self-storage. After booking with your chosen company, boxes and packaging materials will be delivered to you. When your items are boxed and ready, the company will come and collect your items at a pre-booked time and will take them into storage for you. They will also return the items to you when you request them.
Storage by the box companies can also take larger items that will not fit in a box. Box storage would be a good choice if you have no transport, are a student that is going away for the holidays, a tourist that splits their time between London and other countries, or if you’re decluttering and making space.
If you are looking to rent a storage space in London over a long period of time, then you can save money by paying in advance and receiving rates which decrease each month, so the longer you choose to store your items for, the bigger the discount will be that you receive.
Some storage companies will also offer deals on the first 4 or 8 weeks of your storage rental period. Another way to cut the price you will pay for storage in London is to be sure of how much space you will need. Under or overestimating the overall size of the items that need storing, could leave you out of pocket.
To help, we have listed the self-storage unit sizes below and their estimated equivalent area.
10 SQ FT – The equivalent to a telephone box sized area
15 SQ FT – The equivalent of a double wardrobe
20 SQ FT – Equivalent to one small van load
25 SQ FT – Will hold the equivalent of the contents of a “post van” sized vehicle
30 SQ FT – The equivalent to a small garden shed
35 SQ FT – The equivalent to a standard-sized garden shed
40 SQ FT – Equivalent to a transit van load
45 SQ FT – Equivalent to a large garden shed
50 SQ FT – Equivalent to a large transit van load
55 SQ FT – Half the contents of a single garage
60 SQ FT – Approximately 10 ft by 6 ft
65 SQ FT – The equivalent of three-quarters of a single garage
70 SQ FT – Luton Van load equivalent
75 SQ FT – Contents of a 2 bedroom house
80 SQ FT – Contents of a 2 bedroom house +
100 SQ FT – Contents of 2 transit vans
125 SQ FT – Contents of a large garage
150 SQ FT – Contents of 3 transit vans
175 SQ FT – Contents of a 4 bedroom house
200 SQ FT – Contents of a double garage
300 SQ FT – Will hold the contents of 3 single garages
For more help deciding on which size to choose, visit our parent company’s website, Kelly’s Storage, where you will find a storage calculator that will allow you to enter the items you are looking to store and get an accurate representation of how much storage space you require.
THE COST OF SELF STORAGE IN LONDON
Storage pricing can differ greatly between different areas of London. The City of London has some of the highest real estate prices in the world, and this is of course reflected in other areas, such as storage costs. The locations average income, as well as factors such as the population and migration, all play a part in the demand for storage, and the higher the demand, the higher the prices you will pay. Here, we take a look at storage costs in London and compare the prices of the major players in each area.
Kings Cross Branch, 10sqft = £47.99 per week, 25sqft = £66.49, 35sqft = £61.99 per week
Fulham Branch, 10sqft = £15.99 per week, 25sqft = £42.99, 35sqft = £32.99 per week
Chingford – Walthamstow Branch, 10sqft = £23.20 per week, 25sqft = £32.99, 35sqft = £42.20 per week
Safestore is quite a large company with 117 stores in the UK. Safestore does not require a deposit and have a 1 week minimum stay period, however, you will need to purchase a padlock and insurance. They currently have an offer where you can save 50% on storage costs for the first 8 weeks. The figures we have quoted do not include any special offers. Your initial payment must be made by either credit or debit card, or cheque, and future payments will be taken via direct debit. Safestore does not offer a collection service.
Southwark Branch, 10sqft = £7.36 per week, 25sqft = £16.43, 35sqft = £21.14 per week
Staples Corner Branch, 10sqft = £4.72 per week, 25sqft = £14.77, 35sqft = £18.18 per week
Wimbledon Branch, 10sqft = £5.16 per week, 25sqft = £12.32, 35sqft = £17.21 per week
All customers at Henfield Storage are required to pay a security deposit which is fully refundable at the end of the rental period. The deposit amount will be equal to 1 month’s rental, less the VAT. A padlock will also have to be purchased separately, along with insurance, both of which are available from Henfield. Discounts are offered if you choose to prepay in advance for storage. If you prepay for 3 months you will receive a 5% discount, prepaying for 6 months will earn you a 10% discount, and if you prepay for 12 months you’ll receive a 15% discount. A free collection service is also offered to customers renting for 3 months or more. You will need to pack the items ready to be collected though as they do not provide packing or loading services.
Camden Branch, 10sqft = £26.31 per week, 30sqft = £42.37 per week, 50sqft = £47.91 per week
Kensington Branch, 10sqft = £26.86 per week, 35sqft = £38.49 per week, 50sqft = £44.31 per week
Kennington Branch, 10sqft = £26.03 per week, 35sqft = £34.62 per week, 50sqft = £48.74 per week
Shurgard self-storage is the largest self-storage provider in Europe and they opened the UK’s first self-storage centre in 1999 in Croydon. They now have 31 locations in London and the Thames Valley. With Shurgard, you do not need to pay a deposit. You will need to take out insurance though and buy a new sealed padlock, and there is a one-off admin fee of £15. They have a minimum rental period of 1 week, and you can buy a wide range of packaging materials at all Shurgard locations.
Shurgard does not offer a collection service.
Big Yellow Storage
Kennington Branch, 10sqft = £24.00 per week, 25sqft = £49.50 per week, 40sqft = £66.00 per week
New Cross Branch, 10sqft = £21.00 per week, 25sqft = £38.70 per week, 40sqft = £51.00 per week
Wapping Branch, 10sqft = £24.60 per week, 25sqft = £29.70 per week, 40sqft = £48.30 per week
Big Yellow Self-Storage has over 100 locations throughout London and the UK.
They are currently offering 50% off these prices for up to 8 weeks. You will need to budget for the insurance and padlock, and a refundable security deposit, the amount of which will be dependent on the size of the storage area you chose. Big Yellow do not offer a collection service. Their minimum rental stay is 1 week. You can prepay for any length of time over 24 weeks and up to 2 years in one go, this will give you a 5% discount off your storage costs. You can also purchase packaging materials in-store and online. Access fees are only charged if you visit outside of normal store opening hours. This can either be a paid-for service at a rate of £10 per month, which is ideal if you require access to your storage unit 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, or a one-off fee of £5 if you need to make an unplanned visit outside of the opening times.
THE COST OF “STORAGE BY THE BOX” IN LONDON
Overall costs of box storage services are cheaper and as insurance is usually included you do not need to buy a padlock or pay a deposit. Your items are also collected from you, saving on transport costs.
Boxes are supplied by the company or with some providers you can provide your own, subject to the company’s requirements. Fees usually consist of a set amount per box according to size, which is charged either for collection, storage, or both, and a set amount to return your box.
Some also have a minimum requirement for the number of boxes or the minimum amount of time you can store your boxes for. With some box storage companies, you can also store larger items that will not fit in a box. Storage By The Box will cost you the same with each company whichever area of London you are in, with prices varying between different companies only, as opposed to price differences between branches or areas within the same company.
Below, we’ve compared 4 London based storage by the box company prices. These prices are based on one month’s storage and do not reflect any special offers.
Number of Boxes = 1, Size (Small) = £9.70 per month, Size (Medium) = £10.80 per month, Size (Large) = £20.20 per month
Number of Boxes = 5, Size (Small) = £36.50 per month, Size (Medium) = £40.50 per month, Size (Large) = £83.50 per month
Number of Boxes = 10, Size (Small) = £57.50 per month, Size (Medium) = £63.00 per month, Size (Large) = £128.00 per month
Lovespace offer insurance for your items both on the way to and from the storage facility, and whilst they are in storage. This is for up to £100 per box. You can use your own packaging materials, as long as they conform to regulations or you can order boxes directly from the website. The items will be collected, and you can track your boxes online. When you want your items returned, you simply book a re-delivery for one or all of your boxes. There is a charge of £5.95 per box for return. The only other downfall to Lovespace is they only provide cardboard boxes.
Lovespace also charges a collection fee of £7 per box and a return delivery fee which is also £7.
Number of Boxes = 1, Size (Small) = £3.46 per month, Size (Medium) = £10.36 per month, Size (Large) = £13.81 per month
Number of Boxes = 5, Size (Small) = £17.26 per month, Size (Medium) = £51.78 per month, Size (Large) = £60.00 per month
Number of Boxes = 10, Size (Small) = £34.52 per month, Size (Medium) = £60.00 per month, Size (Large) = £60.00 per month
With storage collect, you will pay an advance storage fee, depending on how many boxes and the size of the boxes, which is shown above. You will also pay a monthly storage fee if you require a lot of space. You can have up to 18 small boxes before incurring monthly storage fees, or up to 5 medium or large boxes. Free boxes and packing materials are provided by the company, and you cannot use your own. Insurance cover of £100 per box is included in the price and covers your boxes during transit and storage. The minimum storage period is 1 week, but if you chose this option you will be charged for the minimum one-month period.
STUDENT STORAGE BOX
Number of Boxes = 1, Size (Small – Advance Fee) = £29.74, Size (Medium – Advance Fee) = £37.31, Size (Large – Advance Fee) = £60.00 per month (£12.93 per week storage)
Number of Boxes = 5, Size (Small – Advance Fee) = £60.00 (£3.69 per week storage), Size (Medium – Advance Fee) = £60.00 (12.53 per week storage), Size (Large – Advance Fee) = £60.00 (£96.76 per week storage),
Number of Boxes = 10, Size (Small – Advance Fee) = £60.00 (£17.12 per week storage), Size (Medium – Advance Fee) = £60.00 (63.56 per week storage), Size (Large – Advance Fee) = £60.00 (£96.78 per week storage),
Although this company’s name would suggest it is for students only, you do not have to be a student to use their services, and you will still get the same rates. You can also store larger items with this company such as a bike, TV or guitar, but for larger items, you will need to use your own boxes. Insurance for up to £100 per box is included in the price. There is a weight limit of 25kg per box, and you can use your own boxes and packing materials, or you can order them for free online when you make your booking. Student Storage Box does not charge a collection fee for your boxes, but there is a return delivery fee of £5.00 per box.
BOX STORAGE FOR ME
Number of Boxes = 1, Price Per Month = £5.00, Price Per Box = £5.00
Number of Boxes = 5, Price Per Month = £22.50, Price Per Box = £4.50
Number of Boxes = 10, Price Per Month = £39.00, Price Per Box = £3.90
This company only store one standard box size, which measures 51cmx41cmx31cm.
They will provide you with free boxes, which you need to use as you cannot supply your own, and you will need to purchase your own packing materials, or you can buy these on the website at the time of your booking. They can also take larger items and these items will be charged at their own rates, with some being cheaper than the prices per box, and some being more expensive. These individual charges will be reflected in the return delivery charge. The weight limit per box is 25kg, and the price includes insurance which will cover each of your boxes for up to £100. You will be given the option of upgrading your insurance. However, items that are too large to fit in a box will not be covered. They also have a list of fragile or easily breakable items which will not be insured. The return charge is £5.50 per box or large item, and there is no collection fee. If you would like empty boxes delivered to you or full boxes collected, its free on weekdays but on Saturdays there is a £20 charge for each visit.
Number of Boxes = 1, Price Per Month = £8.10
Number of Boxes = 5, Price Per Month = £34.50
Number of Boxes = 10, Price Per Month = £69.00
Spaceways also offer a standard box size as well, which measures 60cm W x 40cm L x 37cm H. This is 67 litres.
Spaceways will drop empty storage boxes to your location for free, we shall return to collect your items for free too. Storage is then £8.10 per item, per month.
Unlike other box storage providers, when you want your items redelivered it is a fixed fee. £49 if you have stored for less than 3 months. £19 if you have stored for longer than 3 months.
If you need to store items that do not fit into our boxes, we can store those for just £9 per item, per month. All boxes come included with £100 worth of insurance and have a weight capacity of 25kg.
SO, WHAT STORAGE SOLUTION IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
“SELF-STORAGE” OR “STORAGE BY THE BOX”?
Whichever storage solution you decide is best for you and your items, self-storage or box storage, remember, determining how much space you will actually need is the most important part! It’s very easy to under or overestimate the actual area you will require, so always call your chosen company for more help or have a look on their websites. Most will have visual examples of the spaces they can provide, giving you extra peace of mind.
If you’ve decided to opt for self-storage: Remember to check if you will need to purchase a padlock or insurance and if you need to leave a deposit. If you are looking to rent the storage space for a period of three months or longer, then it will be worth your time to inquire about discounted prices for longer stays which are offered by some storage companies.
If you’re going with storage by the box: Remember to check if the boxes will be free or if there is a charge, check whether or not you can provide and use your own boxes and what their specific requirements and measurements are for those boxes. Also, remember larger items can be accommodated by some companies but not others. If you have items that will not fit into the boxes provided, then speak to your chosen company to see if they can still store your item.