Should You Screen Self-Storage Unit Renters With a Background Check?

Two thieves managed to clip the padlock off an outdoor storage unit at a Missouri facility, nabbing two generators and a leather couch, ABC News reported. Carol Lagoie also lost belongings worth $10,000 when thieves broke into her unit.

Self-storage facilities are the new hot spots for thieves. Security cameras and electronic gates no longer prevent this kind of theft, especially when the thieves are renters themselves with break-in expertise. Eleven million Americans store belongings in self-storage units for a monthly fee, and despite heavy-duty padlocks and security measures, their personal items are vulnerable to theft. Storage unit operators feel the pressure to improve security measures beyond high-tech cameras, strict gate access and qualified onsite personnel, and they’re doing this by running background checks on would-be renters.

Tenants & Renters

Similar to tenant background checks required by landlords and renting properties, screenings provide facilities with information they can use to improve onsite protection and avoid liability. The screening process for both rental properties and self-storage sites shares the same goals and concerns.

Storage unit renters, just like apartment tenants, can cost a rental property and storage company money and even their reputation. A credit check and criminal report can alert storage unit operators about potential renters who could be a threat to onsite security. Facility owners can visit the American Apartment Owners Association online for more information about how application policies without background reports can victimize property.

Pros Outweigh Cons

Wilsonville Self-Storage in Oregon checks their applicants for financial and criminal histories. Self-storage facilities that are certified crime-free may also conduct fingerprint verification before they rent out a unit.

Screenings raise the issues of cost and discrimination. Even facilities that provide leases with a “not responsible for lost or stolen items” agreement can risk their reputation by experiencing a break-in. Facilities are faced with further challenges such as turning away disqualified customers who could actually be of no threat. Is it fair to turn away customers with bad credit, even on a month-to-month basis? Should tenants with a criminal history that has nothing to do with property theft also be turned away? Leasing decisions are in the hands of the operator, and the Self-Storage Legal Network emphasizes how consistency is the solution. By requiring every customer undergo a background check, a facility follows nondiscrimination practices.

Keeping the best interests of your renters by conducting background checks is also a selling point. It’s reassuring for customers to know that a facility is taking preventative measures at all costs to avoid break-ins and provide dependable security.

We emphasize a criminal background check as a screening process priority. Obtain courthouse records, pull credit scores, search criminal databases, and check social security numbers for fraudulent activity. Facilities can visit our blog on “Best Practices in Tenant Screening” for more information about establishing a screening process and accessing information through the best provider. Storage Ahead recommends the database services Virtual Gumshoe, Search Systems and Criminal Searches for affordable criminal record searches.


Andy Wallace

Andy writes for various blogs on diverse topics.


Guest Post: Finding the right man and van service for your domestic removal or storage needs!

The beauty of the man and van service is the flexibility that it offers. With a full sized removals company, there will need to be a huge amount of planning, simply because of the size of operation. With a man and van removal, you can often simply call the night before and get on with it in the morning! The abundance of man and van services across the UK will mean that you need to be selective with your service, but also that you need not worry if your first choice can’t do the job! There are a few pros and cons to the man and van service that you need to be aware of when you are selecting one, and it will be these factors that influence your final decision, to it is well worth having a good think about them in advance.

First off, you need to be aware of everything that you need before you get on the phone to anyone. Have a good ida of what it is that you are loading in to the van, as well as the volume of the van that you require. You would be very surprised to see how much you can get in to a long wheel based van, and you must be sure that you are getting one is that is what you need. If you are simply moving a few items, then you can pile them into a corner and find their volume by measuring the width, height and length of the pile, multiplying them to get the volume.

Having this measurement when you are booking your van is extremely useful. If you are not able to amuser the whole load, then you should tell the van driver the extent of the items that you have by way of the large items of furniture and the number of boxes that you have. The hope is that they can use their experience in the industry to let you know what you need. If the removal is a short distance, then you can sometimes get away with doing two quick trips, should the van not be large enough.

Next you need to think about how you want to pay your driver. Some drivers will want to charge you a fee for the whole job, which they will quote you in advance, having heard about the volume of the load and the distance that you need to travel. Other drivers will ask for a price by the hour. The latter is usually the cheapest option, as the former will be covering themselves against the eventuality of traffic, both on the job and on the way back home.

Of course, there is always the risk that such a fate should befall you if you go down the hourly van route, but this is often worth the risk, as the price difference between the two payment options will rarely be matched by a bit of traffic, unless you get completely stuck!

One of the main things that you need to ensure that you do when looking for a man and van removals service, is to ask your friends if they have anyone that they use. You will often find that you have a couple of friends who have a great person that they always use, and this means that you know what you are getting in to from the outset! Many drivers don’t ever advertise, so this can be the only way to find them!

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Guest Post: Why Choose Man & Van Hire?

There are many solutions on the market available to people who wish to move their possessions (and perhaps themselves) to a particular location, be it a new place of residence or office, or anywhere at all!

In recent years, man & van hire has increasingly become a popular and trusted means of moving and removal operations by families, businesses and individuals nationwide. By now, most people will be familiar with the basic concept – after all, man and van services do exactly what it says on the tin! Plain and simple, they provide you with a moving van and a moving man, who will take you and/or your cargo to a destination, or destinations, of your choosing.

However, many people are still looking to other sources for moving and removal services – and we can’t fathom why! Maybe it’s because people believe that man & van hire is at the pricier end of the moving solutions spectrum.

However, this is not the case – man and van services represent the cheap and extremely cheerful removal option. We implore readers to conduct some market research of their own, either via web or telephone. We can guarantee that you’ll be amazed at how affordable the prices of many removal firms are!

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the higher rates of larger, professional moving chains equate to high quality services. The best man with a van companies easily match the quality of the biggest firms and conglomerates.

The best man and van firms will be able to modify and shape their services around the customer and their specific circumstances, rather than expecting patrons to adapt to them. The truly conscientious, who are genuinely dedicated to customer satisfaction and care, will take into consideration personal budgetary realities, and offer a bespoke package which is affordable and offers value for money.

Some firms even pledge to match or undercut the competition – meaning you’ll effectively be able to dictate what you pay for their services! Truly, man and van hire is one of the most – if not the most – cost-effective removal solutions available. The best moving solutions are a right, not a privilege – and you shouldn’t have to pay through the nose to access them!

People might also be attracted to the ‘DIY’ option – i.e. renting a removal van and conducting a job themselves. However, man with van services still come up trumps in comparison.

For a start, many van rental companies demand that renters have entirely points free licenses. Almost 10% of UK residents have some points on theirs, which means van rental is simply not an option for this group.

Other van rental companies also impose stringent fiscal penalties on customers for late van return – an added worry on an already stressful moving day you could well do without (to say nothing of the unnecessarily squandered capital you’ll be forced to endure if you fall afoul of their regulations!).

Also, if you rent yourself, you’ll have to be constantly fretting over the state of the van – again, you will certainly be fined by the company for scratches, dents and chips. The real bonus with man and van hire, though, is that you are supplied with a strapping and experienced mover and driver, who knows the roads well, and is a dab hand at packing, and can help you out with any heavy lifting.

Moving is demanding enough without the supplementary anxiety of finding a professional removal service which won’t charge you a king’s ransom. We strongly recommend readers go the man and van route for 100% satisfaction every time!

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Create Your Own Moving Checklist

There’s no way around it—unless you’re into a seriously minimalistic lifestyle and can fit all of your earthly belongings into a duffle bag, moving’s a pain. As with most major undertakings, it’s a great idea to make a checklist of all the things you need to accomplish before the move to maximize efficiency and minimize last-minute surprises and hassles from forgotten tasks. Here’s a list to get you started. Add and subtract from this list as you see fit, and get ready for a smooth move.

  • Create your moving budget. Do you know how much that moving truck will cost you per mile? Make sure to add in some extra as a safety margin to handle unexpected expenses.
  • Choose your moving company. If you don’t plan to move yourself this is the first step, and it’s more complicated than you might think. You want to compare prices of course, but you also want to make sure you’re dealing with a reputable, experienced company who’ll treat your possessions with care and also show up for the move when they’re supposed to. Check the Better Business Bureau’s website for their rating and any complaints. Spend time searching for reviews and asking around among family and friends for recommendations.
  • Start sorting your stuff. All those things you’ve been planning on getting rid of for years? This is your golden opportunity to do it. Decide what to keep, what to donate or give away and what’s just going in the trash.
  • Buy all your new-home stuff. Now is the time to buy new appliances, furniture and other essential household accessories. You want to start fresh, so now is the time to splurge a bit on items you use daily or weekly. Check out online stores like Macy’s to get an idea of new vacuums or other home appliances you need so you’re ready to purchase by moving time.
  • Start looking for boxes and packing materials. Even if you’re having a company pack for you, you probably have things you’d rather pack yourself. And unless you’re buying the materials finding the right boxes can be difficult.
  • Start looking for providers in your new locale. You’re going to need doctors, dentists, teachers, veterinarians and more in your new town if it’s a long distance away. suggests asking doctors for referrals in your new city. Get all of your medical, school and other records together and organized so they’ll be handy when you’re ready. Arrange for transfers when possible.
  • Touch base with your insurance agent. Make sure everything is in order and ask what changes have to be made to your policy.
  • File a change of address with the post office. Basic, but sometimes overlooked in all the bustle.
  • Dispose of any hazardous materials. No need to move things that might spill and ruin your belongings, or worse, cause a fire.
  • Get the pets ready to move. Moving is stressful on pets, so try to make it as comfortable as possible. The trick is to keep sudden change to a minimum. Keep your pet in a room he’s familiar with up until the move and consider keeping Fido at a friend or family member’s house while packing. If it’s going to be a long drive or a flight, start getting them crate trained early.
  • Cancel or transfer your utilities and services. This can be a time consuming chore.
  • Use up your perishables. No sense in moving food, or wasting it either, so plan your meals over the last couple of weeks so it’s gone by the time you move. Treat yourself to eating out for the last few days. You’ll deserve it by this time.

Guest Post: Hiring a Removal Company – Yes or No?

When you move home, whether you are renting or buying, the costs quickly add up. So once you have put down your deposit or secured your mortgage, the last thing you want to be doing is spending more money hiring professionals to get your belongings from A to B. But hiring a professional removal company can provide serious help during what is an incredibly stressful period, and their level of expertise often means your furniture is better protected than it would be in the hands of you and your friends! So is it worth hiring the professionals?

The first thing to think about when it comes to deciding upon the hiring of expertise is your situation. Be honest with yourself. If you are moving just a couple of streets and transit time is short, could you rope in a couple of friends and do it yourself? Or are you moving to the other end of the country where expert help and protection of your belongings could be essential?

At the end of the day hiring the professionals does come at a price. But most removal companies do offer a range of services, and so it can be worth fully reviewing their services before you call for a quote. For instance as well as a fully-manned removal most also offer a man with a van or simple commercial van hire. Obviously as you go along the list you get less and less expert help, but if you are a seasoned mover and have done it a number of times then you may feel as much of an expert as the professionals!

There are also additional services that can be useful. Most removal companies will offer packing services, or the provision of materials at a reasonable rate. These are worth considering if you lead a busy work/family life and finding enough time to pack just isn’t possible. Could you be better off spending the time leading up to the move maintaining normality as much as possible and then letting the pros get things done quickly? The decisions all depend on working out what is right for you and your family. Everyone would like to hire the experts to handle just about every aspect of a move, but for most it simply isn’t a justifiable expense. Others like the physical challenge of moving all their possessions from A to B. The man and van service has continued to grow quickly in popularity across the country as more and more people begin to appreciate the delicate balance between professional help and cost-effective pricing. It all depends on preference, and what works best for you.

One thing you should do when considering how much professional help you need is to set a budget before getting quotes for services. As mentioned moving costs do quickly add up and setting price limits is an important factor in keeping a lid on spending. If you do decide to go for professional services always obtain at least three written quotes for what you require, and try to avoid instant online quotes. All reputable companies should be a member of the National Guild of Removers so always check for this to ensure they are operating to their strict code of conduct. Every move is different and every customer has their own individual requirements, so make sure you call and discuss yours with the company in question. If going for more manned services most will want to send out a company representative to discuss your move and give you that personalised quote that you want.

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Guest Post: Top Tips. How to Pick Out Hidden Gems at a Storage Auction

Here at Storage Auctions Kings, we’ve talked in the past about the effect that certain TV shows have had on people’s expectations of storage auctions. Some now see them as a great way to make a quick buck – and in some cases this may be true – but it’s by no means a rule. Just like any other pursuit or activity, getting ‘good’ at storage auctions is a matter of practice and experience. It’s tricky to make that happen overnight. But with the right coaching and information to hand, you’ve got a much better chance of finding a real treasure trove. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to spotting hidden gems when that door slides open…


There are of course many different types of electronics you can keep an eye out for: everything from TVs to stereos. But there are also a few vintage items which are currently selling for quite a bit – if you can get your hands on them. Items such as retro video game consoles are very popular right now. Look out for the Commodore 64, the Atari 2600 or the Nintendo Virtual Boy. These gadgets will fetch between 100 and 500 dollars each, potentially much more if the condition is right. Other valuable electronics include vintage wireless radios and Betamax players. If it’s possible to see from outside of the locker, try to ensure that these electronic items are in working order, because nothing sinks a valuation faster than an item that doesn’t work anymore, regardless of estimated value.


There’s nothing quite like the feel of a genuine, high-quality leather sofa, and in that regard, tastes haven’t changed much! What that means is that there are many items of vintage furniture that could be hiding in storage lockers all over the country. The 50s and 60s in particular were times when furniture design was at its most wacky and inventive, particularly that of leather sofas and sectionals. Because leather furniture is hard-wearing and, due to its expense, has generally been covered by insurance and well looked-after, you can find some examples in excellent nearly-new condition. Examples of furniture to look out for include the VIG Chesterfield sofa, the Padma’s Plantation sectional and the Fabio Leather Cinema sofa. It’s a good idea to do some research and discover the varying designs of rare and vintage furniture so that when that locker door opens, your trained eye will instantly spot that hidden gem – before any of the other bidders do.


As the home décor trends grow and evolve over time, objects you may never expect can easily become antiques. It’s not all dusty grandfather clocks and tables! In fact, some of the most mundane items by appearance may actually be the most valuable. When you’re glancing into a locker, don’t discount something just because it may appear to be a beat-up has-been. Some of the world’s most valuable antiques don’t look my much from the outside, but wind up being worth thousands of dollars. Take the Germain Royal Soup Tureen, for example. This outwardly seems to be a simple soup bowl, albeit decorated quite intricately – but its real value is over $8 million! It’s this type of unassuming object that can make the difference between an amateur storage hunter and a real pro… although we can’t make any guarantees of finding millions, naturally!

Final thought

Don’t forget: if you want to be as successful as possible in the storage auction business, you’ll need to know exactly what you’re looking at in every bin. Why not take a ‘zero spend’ trip to an auction to test the waters. Observe what others are doing, identify the gems, and use that knowledge to make your next auction the best one yet. Alternatively, watching the many storage auction TV shows can be helpful for picking up hints and tactics. These are of course dramatized (it’s TV after all), but at its heart there is something to be gleaned by the budding amateur storage auction king. Another great tip is to follow your gut: if you spot something hiding at the back of a locker and you get that ‘feeling’ – just go for it. You never know, it might just be the piece that makes you rich.