When you plan to store goods, the first step is to get a written estimate from a reputable storage company. It is recommended that you get three estimates before making up your mind. Of course it would be most unwise to base your final choice purely on price. t is important that you receive the best possible service so that when you remove your important business documents, home furnishings, etc., after a period of time, they are undamaged and in good condition as a result of good and suitable storage treatment. If possible, get referrals from family, friends and business colleagues. You can check with a better business bureau who may have on file details of a warehouse you are considering and how they resolved any complaints.

An estimate from a storage company is different from a mover’s estimate, in that no extra charges can be added without the agreement of the customer. Before the storage company accepts your goods, they will supply you with a written estimate upon your request. In some states there may be a nominal fee, but the written estimate is usually free. The warehouse operator must inspect the items to be stored physically, and issue you with a copy of the estimate. It would be most unwise to consider using a company that offers an estimate over the phone.

You should expect the following information to be included in an estimate:

Name, address and telephone number of company
Address of actual storage location (this may be different from the office location especially in larger companies)
Warehouse storage rate per unit
Minimum monthly storage charges
Minimum storage period
Any applicable charges for storage preparation, padding or packing
Any charges applied for transportation if this service is available and accepted
Other charges the warehouse may apply

In unusual circumstances when you require the warehouse operator to accept your goods without inspecting them physically, you will have to sign a waiver to your right to receive a written estimate. Within five days after he receives your goods, the warehouse operator needs to send you a statement based on the physical examination of the goods, informing you of the monthly charges as well as packing and special storage condition charges. In addition, you must be informed in this statement of any limitations on liability for negligent loss or damage.

It is important to consider carefully the specific type of storage best suited to your particular items. The basic price will cover light, electricity, insurance, security and pest control. Additional options cost extra and you must decide which additional options, if any, are advisable for your needs. Your goods may not require special storage, but if, for example, you are storing paper products these should be housed in an area where the humidity is controlled and it is worth paying for this. You must also take into consideration that you will pay extra for non-standard insurance in environmentally controlled warehousing, where temperature and humidity are controlled.

The warehouse is obliged to insure your goods against loss or damage for a minimum of approx. $0.30 per pound per article up to $2,000. This figures vary slightly in each state. If you store an antique set of china to the value of $1,500 and this gets broken in the warehouse, under the terms of this basic insurance you will be paid only $3.00. The warehouse operator is obliged to inform you that you may buy additional insurance and it may be worth your while to pay for this. It is important for you to understand exactly the terms of your insurance coverage in the event you sustain loss or damage. If your goods are valued at $12,000 and you only take out insurance in the sum of $3,000, you only have insurance for a quarter of the value. Therefore, if you sustain $4,000 worth of damage you will only be reimbursed in the sum of $1,000.