5 Sneaky Ways Public Storage Companies Charge You More Money

Maddy Osman
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Did you know that there are more than 48,500 storage facilities across the United States? To put that into perspective, there are three storage facilities for every McDonald’s location in the country.

Those facilities are run by various companies. Some are large, national chains, while others are regional or local boutique storage facilities. Needless to say, you have a lot of options when choosing a place to store your belongings.

Unfortunately, many of the big, national companies try to nickel and dime their customers — or even scam them. 

The storage facility you choose may advertise one price. However, when you go to rent your storage unit, they’ll bill you another. Or the company could make you pay for add-ons you didn’t think you’d needed — and probably don’t.

Let’s uncover the tactics that national self storage companies use to charge you more money to store your items, including:

  • Constantly changing their prices

  • Increasing rent frequently

  • Charging fees

  • Selling you bogus insurance

  • Making you buy your own lock

You’re also going to get a look at how Bargain Storage, a boutique storage company, differentiates itself from the big guys. 

When you search “storage units near me,” avoid the surprises and expensive bills — don’t go with a national cube storage chain that pays for search engine advertisements. Instead, choose a small, locally-operated public storage company with transparent pricing. 

1. Constantly Changing Self Storage Prices

National self storage companies use a system called “revenue management” to set their prices. 

What is revenue management? This practice is what airlines and hotels use when they quote you a different rate for the same flight or room based on demand. Big storage companies do the same thing, reassessing their prices daily. 


To make sure they are charging you the highest price they can get away with. 

You might be looking at quotes from a large national company on a Saturday and see extra space storage units advertised for $40 per month. Revisit the quote on Tuesday and you could see the rate jump to $65 per month.

The Bargain Storage Difference

The price you see on our website is what you’ll pay. If a storage shed costs $25 today, it will cost $25 three weeks from now.  Our market prices do change but only twice a year in January and July.

Sometimes we even decrease the rates we offer new customers, which is otherwise unheard of in the storage industry.

2. Increasing Your Storage Rent Frequently

When you sign a contract with one of these companies, you think that you’ve locked in a price for the rest of your lease… right? 

Not necessarily.  All storage contracts are month to month, allowing the rent to increase any time with 30 days notice.

National self storage facilities increase rent for current customers frequently, oftentimes twice a year. So a unit you thought would be $40 per month suddenly costs you $50 per month. If you stay a year with that new rate, you’ll be dishing out an extra $120 you hadn’t budgeted for.

The storage companies know it’s a hassle for you to move again and take advantage of that.  The industry calls you a “sticky” customer because of this fact.

The Bargain Storage Difference

We don’t change our prices as often as our big competitors. While we assess our pricing twice a year to stay competitive, on average, we increase prices only once every 1.5 years.

3. Charging Hidden Fees for Storage Sheds

National self storage companies reel you in with attractive pricing but get you with hidden fees. 

You may think you’re paying only $40 per month, but wait, there’s more: 

  • Admin fee ($10-$25) 

  • Lock charge ($15-$30)

  • Late fees ($50-$60 for more than 30 days late)

  • Deposit fee ($25-$45)

Those fees add up, especially if you stay in your unit for a long time. Your bill inevitably ends up being much larger than your quote.

The Bargain Storage Difference

We don’t like surprising our customers. Our pricing is transparent from the start. To secure your self storage unit, all you need to do is pay the first month’s rent (prorated) and a one-time $15 administrative fee.

With our rates already 10% lower than our competitors’ and fewer rent increases, the savings add up when you store with Bargain Storage.  Consider Bargain Storage like Southwest Airlines, a low cost honest provider.

4. Ripping You off With Storage Insurance

The big public storage companies try to squeeze every possible penny out of you. One of the ways they do this is by trying to sell you storage insurance

While it seems like it adds value for customers, storage insurance is just an additional revenue stream for storage companies.

Oftentimes, the insurance provider is the self storage company. Other times it’s a third-party provider that gives the storage company a kickback for selling policies. 

They don’t even offer good coverage. When you try to make a claim, you’ll find that none of the items you thought would be covered are actually covered. 

Storage insurance is just an easy way for national storage chains to make an extra $10 to $20 per month from you. In fact, most renters have homeowners or renters insurance that already covers items they’ve put in storage.

The Bargain Storage Difference

We don’t sell bogus insurance policies to our customers. Instead, we employ top-notch security measures — including 16+ high definition security cameras per facility and live-in property managers — to protect your things at all times. 

And that type of protection is already included in our low rates.

5. Making You Buy Your Own Lock for Your Storage Unit Space

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If you’re getting a storage shed during a transitional period, packing your things and choosing a self storage facility is stressful enough. The last thing you want to think about is securing a lock for your unit. 

Unfortunately, most public storage companies require you to buy a lock for $15 (or more) instead of providing one to you free of charge. And that lock is usually a padlock, which can easily be sawed through.

The Bargain Storage Difference

Our customers get a free disc lock to keep when they decide to rent with us. Disc locks are more secure than padlocks because they cannot be cut through.

That’s just another way that Bargain Storage puts you first and saves you money.

Final Thoughts: 5 Sneaky Ways Other Storage Companies Charge You More Money 

Choosing a self storage company to keep your things safe can be an overwhelming process. If you don’t know where to look, you could be ripped off. National storage companies use tricky tactics to try and charge you more money. 

When you search for “storage near me,” think twice before clicking on links to big, chain storage facilities. To get the most bang for your buck, store your extra items with a small, locally-run public storage company. Find a Bargain Storage near you.

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