Public Storage does struggle with many of the common problems that impact the industry. Examples include customers becoming disgruntled when promotional pricing ends and sporadic problems with break-ins. Overall, they are a solid option with many locations that offer most customers great convenience.
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Headquartered in Glendale, California, Public Storage is currently the largest owner/operator of self-storage facilities in the world. They maintain facilities in roughly 39 U.S. states as well as in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, The United Kingdom, and more.
Some of their facilities often classified as “mini-warehouses” are branded as Boxsmart by Public Storage.
- Self-Storage: The facilities have storage units that are drive-up (garage-style) and indoor. Customers can typically access their storage units anytime between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. and have access to hand trucks and dollies at no additional cost. The self-storage unit sizes typically range from 5 feet x 5 feet up to 10 feet x 25 feet. The standard height of their storage units is 8 feet.
- Vehicle Storage: Public Storage offers storage services that will accommodate most vehicles including cars, motorcycles, RVs, boats, and more. Customers can choose between outside vehicle storage spaces that are either open or covered. Limited interior units (spaces) are also available for vehicle storage.
- Climate-Controlled Units: Many items can potentially be damaged by extremely cold, hot, or humid conditions. Examples of items that may be susceptible to extreme conditions include cameras, wood furniture, leather items, electronics, musical instruments, and others. Climate-controlled units also prevent sun damage, mold, and mildew.
- Business Storage: Commercial clients can benefit from self-storage units for equipment, document, inventory, furniture, and more. Businesses may assign security access codes to individual employees.
- Packing Supplies: The majority of locations have boxes, tape, wrap, and other supplies available for purchase.
The following illustration shows the three sizes of units available for vehicle storage:
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The Good: Very Affordable and Offers Many Sizes of Units
Public Storage is the largest self-storage company in the U.S. and has very effective marketing. They tend to offer low introductory prices and promote special discounts. They also offer customers many different sizes of self-storage units and vehicle storage options.
The Bad: Some Locations Have Security Concerns
Some of their locations (i.e. Los Angeles area) have had problems with theft. Several customers complained that they were notified of the break-in a few days after it occurred. It seems that thieves tend to target several storage units at a time that are in the same area of the facility. For this reason, customers should consider maintaining sufficient insurance coverage.
- All facilities are encircled by security fencing and accessible only through a central electronic gate
- Units may be rented on a month-by-month basis, which allows for freedom from any long-term commitments
- Those in need of short-term storage can often enjoy low introductory prices
- Hand trucks and dollies are available on-site and free to use
- Customers may purchase insurance through the Orange Door Storage Insurance Program
- “Contact-free” rentals are available amid the COVID-19 pandemic
- Some of their facilities have had ongoing problems with storage unit break-ins
- The on-site property management team is unable to accept deliveries on behalf of customers
- Some customers have expressed dissatisfaction with the insurance that is available through their recommended provider; however, many of these are the result of a failure to closely read and understand the terms of the contract (agreement)
- A one-time administrative fee is applied to the first month’s storage fee
- Certain items may not be stored including plants, animals, flammable liquids, and lithium batteries
Public Storage regularly promotes special pricing and other incentives to attract new customers. For example, they currently are offering the first month for only $1.00 promotion and a 30% off of the regular monthly rate online special. Discounts may also be available for those with a current military I.D. and others depending on the region.
Customers may pay by cash, electronic check, or credit card either in-person, over the phone, or online. Customers are encouraged to create an online profile that allows for real-time access to their accounts. Insurance coverage is available through the Orange Door Storage Program.
The monthly rates vary dramatically depending on the region. For example, it is common that prices will be doubled in heavily populated cities such as Los Angeles and New York.
Online Pricing Estimates
|Location||5 x 5’||10 x 10’||10 x 15’||Vehicle: Uncovered|
|Seattle, WA||$56||$170||$213||$161 (10 x 20’)|
|Philadelphia, PA||$80||$153||$172||$242 (10 x 30’)|
|Dallas, TX||$22||$69||$142||$134 (10 x 20’)|
* Vehicle storage availability at their southern California locations is limited and a 10 x 30’ outdoor space can be $800 per month or more.
Prices for climate-controlled storage units are typically increased by 25 to 40%.
The Glendale, California headquarters location on Google has an overall 4.8 of 5 based on roughly 350 reviews. The majority of customers are satisfied and praise the on-site staff for being helpful and hard-working. Most of those who posted negative feedback felt that the price increases for existing customers were excessive. Public Storage offers attractive initial pricing discounts that create a perception that their regular monthly rates are too high.
They have a 3.5 of 5 on Yelp for the location in Glendale. The primary complaint from customers of this location is theft. It seems that these incidents occur with thieves breaking into multiple units during a short time. Many customers stated that they have been impressed with the friendly customer service they received from on-site management.
Despite not being formally accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), they maintain an A+ rating. Customers have made more than 1,400 complaints over the last three years and cited a host of concerns. As indicated in the table below, many of the problems are the result of billing errors. The other leading complaint relates to dissatisfaction with increases in the monthly rental rate, particularly when the introductory special rate expires.
The following is a summary of the types of complaints received by the BBB:
|Nature of Complaint||Total|
|Problem with a Product or Service||965|
Public Storage has storage facilities conveniently located throughout most major metropolitan areas. They offer all the features that the major players in the market do such as climate-controlled units, gated security, and good vehicle storage options. While most of their locations receive positive reviews from customers, some of them have a reputation for below-average customer service and problems with theft.
Public Storage is a viable option for personal and commercial customers that are seeking affordable self-storage.