Storage with Drive-Up Access

By Patrick Galvan,

Drive-up access is a popular amenity in the self storage industry because of its convenience. Instead of hauling belongings from a parking lot and through storage facility hallways, tenants can park their vehicles in front of their units and unload right there. Basically, drive-up access saves a great deal of physical labor and time. That being said, convenience isn’t always everything, especially when there are better storage conditions for your belongings.

Here are three situations where drive-up access storage isn’t worth it.

Lack of Climate Control

When storing sensitive items, such as antiques, photos, or electronics, which can be damaged by extreme temperatures and humidity, a storage unit with drive-up access isn’t a good idea. That’s because it doesn’t have climate control.

Climate control is a storage feature that acts as a heater, air conditioner, and dehumidifier for storage units. This kind of controlled environment is absolutely necessary when storing items of a delicate nature.

Suppose you’re storing wooden furniture. Drive-up access may seem tempting because you wouldn’t have to carry the furniture far when you drop it off or pick it up. But depending on where you live, the inside of your storage unit could see temperatures above 90°F or below zero. These temperatures can cause the furniture to expand and crack, permanently damaging it. Also, if there’s too much humidity, the wood could rot.

Longer Exposure to the Elements

Another disadvantage to using drive-up access is that you’ll be exposed to various weather conditions while you’re loading and unloading. This may or may not be a problem, as sometimes the process of loading and unloading one or two items takes less than a minute. But if you have many items to load and unload, or you need to reorganize the contents of your storage unit in order to make more room, it could take several minutes or more.

Imagine moving heavy items back and forth for half-an-hour in the middle of a thunderstorm? Rain would be a particular threat. If you don’t have waterproof covers to shield your belongings, rain can soak through boxes, fry circuitry on electronics, damage photos, promote mold growth, and cause other problems.

Indoor storage would make the moving process more comfortable. When you’re loading and unloading things at the unit entrance, you’ll be inside and protected from the elements. Then, if you need to rummage through several boxes to find a specific item, you’ll be able to do so under much better conditions.

Nighttime Access

If your facility features 24-hour access, and you plan on accessing your unit at night, drive-up access is probably not the best choice for you. Your visibility will be determined by the outside environment. While some self storage facilities have good lighting, others don’t. If there aren’t any lights, you’ll need to use the headlights from your vehicle or bring a flashlight, neither of which provide a lot of useful light.

Also, because of their location, outdoor storage units are the most vulnerable to vandalism and theft. If you access your storage unit at night, and someone breaks into the facility, your belongings will be an easy target (as will you).

Using indoor storage for nighttime access is also more comfortable for storage renters. Remember, most facilities don’t have staff on-duty 24/7. So if you’re accessing your unit late at night, you’ll be the only person on the property. Think about this: If you must access your unit alone at night, would you want to access it outside in the darkness, or would you rather be inside with walls around you and have good visibility?

In short, even though having drive-up access to your self storage unit is convenient, you should ask yourself whether or not you need it. Certain situations definitely don’t work with drive-up access.