Mobile storage is one of the most convenient, and often least expensive, storage options when you are moving and needing to store your items – whether short term or long term. Short term construction, remodeling or home sales can also benefit from the convenience of a portable storage unit. However, are you confident you’ve found a good company? Are you sure you’re not getting ripped off?

What signs should you watch for when renting a mobile unit?

1. Varying or evasive prices – While monthly rental prices may vary by region, which day of the week you need a unit should not change the price. After all, you’re renting this unit for at least a month – there should be a standard rate for a monthly rental. When a storage facility is being evasive on your price, cannot give you a firm quote or has a constantly varying rate for the same storage unit, proceed with caution. How do you know that other fees, policies and rental rates aren’t going to change, particularly once you have your mobile unit delivered?

2. Extra, hidden fees – While paying a delivery & pickup fee for a portable unit is normal, watch for other fees. When comparing prices, don’t just look at the base, monthly rate. In addition to many non-mobile storage fees (booking, administrative, security deposit, etc.), some mobile storage companies charge a rush-delivery fee, a gravel/grass-drop delivery fee and more.Before a mobile unit is even delivered, make sure the pickup fee is in writing – some storage companies don’t give you a price until after it’s on your property. And by that point you are stuck paying whatever they demand. Anytime a company is not being upfront about additional costs, you should question using their services. Do you really want to rent a unit, and then be slapped with hidden fees?

3. Lack of flexibility – How much of an effort is the storage facility making to accommodate your needs? Mobile storage usually means you’ll need flexibility on delivery dates, and often an unknown pickup date. If you’re working on a remodeling project, selling your home or just moving across town, your schedule is unknown. Consider how much the facility is willing to work with you, and if they’re going to slap you with extra fees for changing a pickup or delivery date, or extending your lease for an extra month or two. (Yes, there are sometimes hidden fees, so ask beforehand!)

4. No access – While your items are being stored, will you need to occasionally access items inside? If your unit will not be stored on your property, many storage companies will transport your mobile unit to an undisclosed location for storage – sometimes out of state! Under no circumstances can you access your belongs – not until your lease is complete and you’re ready to unload your unit.

As with any storage facility you are researching, check online reviews, Better Business Bureau Accreditation, Consumer Reviews and more. Often times seeking out a small, local or family-owned business can provide you with greater flexibility, top-notch customer service and a friendlier rental experience.