Affordable Boat Storage - Keeping Your Vessel Seaworthy in Your Absence
If you have a boat that you want protected and secured when you're not in town, you should consider making an investment in proper boat storage so you can always leave with confidence that you will return to find your vessel in sea-worthy condition. When most mariners think of boat storage, they think almost exclusively of finding harbors that will grant them a space at the dock for a reasonable rate, but they overlook some of the less traditional types of boat storage that can actually be quite affordable. For example, many mariners do not know that self storage companies often offer boat storage for interested parties, especially when the storage company is located in a state or area that sees a lot of water activity, be it recreational or commercial. Self storage companies usually rent outdoor or indoor parking spaces for tenants looking to secure their car or truck when they are away. However, many of these storage companies can also accommodate larger vehicles, like boats on a trailer, especially in corner parking spots that have extra space in front and behind them. You can find out if your local storage facility offers boat storage by giving them a quick phone call and asking them if any of their outdoor parking stalls are large enough to accommodate the size of vessel you want to place in storage.
Two Kinds of Boat Storage and Their Advantages
There are two primary kinds of boat storage that self storage companies usually offer, one being outdoor boat storage and the other being indoor. Both types of storage have advantages and disadvantages.
Outdoor Boat Storage
Typically speaking, outdoor boat storage is going to be your least expensive option. That's because storage companies usually don't charge as much for outdoor parking as they do for indoor parking. Indoor parking actually means you are renting out one of the facility's larger units for the purpose of putting a vehicle inside. This means you can expect to pay the full monthly rental rate, which in some cases can be a few hundred dollars. Different storage companies have different business models, but typically speaking the larger drive-up units, meaning the units that can be accessed directly and only have one exterior-facing door, are the most expensive on a given storage property.
Outdoor boat storage may be more affordable, but it also comes with a few disadvantages. For one thing, your boat will only be as well protected against the elements as the preparations you put in place make it. If you have excellent marine shrink film you can snugly bundle your boat up in before you go, that can help take the edge of weather damage. There are a number of special marine products you can put in place to help protect your boat when placing it in outdoor boat storage, but essentially if you don't take good care to prepare your vessel before leaving it outside for an extended period of time, you will need to expect a certain amount of damage or wear and tear to occur in your absence.
The other disadvantage to using outdoor boat storage is that it's usually less secure than indoor boat storage. If your boat is sitting on blocks or on a trailer, it is still outdoors for everyone to see. If other tenants are moving around on the property, they might see your boat and become tempted. The biggest risk to a boat in this situation is that tenants who have legitimate access codes to the entry and exit gates could come into the facility at a time when the property manager is not on-duty, then load up your boat onto the back of a trailer to drag it out of the facility. Depending on how sophisticated your storage facility's access system is, the gates may show the names of the tenants moving on and off the property and for how long they were present, but lower security facilities are at risk of tenant to tenant theft.
Indoor Boat Storage
Indoor boat storage may be the option you want to choose if you are concerned about security and the work of the elements against your treasured vessel. You will always be paying a premium for indoor storage because it is more secure and constantly guarding your investment against the elements, but, depending upon your relationship with your boat, it may be your best option.
Always remember that self storage prices are determined based on the vacancy of the particular facility. If a company is losing money and having a hard time filling their units, they will be much more willing to negotiate a deal. You can call around to various self storage companies and ask them what their occupancy currently is. Some won't tell you and some will inflate their percentage to sound more full than they are, but in general you can use this tactic to figure out who is likely to have the most wiggle room when it comes to price.
Tell the manager you really want to give them your business and that you'll be a long term tenant but that you need them to work with you on the price so that you can move your boat in.
Working the Storage System to Your Advantage
Remember that despite what the property manager might tell you, storage companies tend to be some of the most flexible when it comes to prices and monthly rental rates. Usually a company will maintain a price sheet that they will let you see or take with you, but these rates are subject to change often. One of the variables that self storage companies use to calculate their monthly rental rates is current occupancy. When the storage facility is relatively empty or low on tenants, the company will usually lower their rates or entertain deeper discounts in an effort to fill their units back up.
There, one of the best questions to ask the facility manager when you are shopping around for cheap boat storage is, "how are you guys right now on vacancy?". If they let you know the facility is low on tenants, you can assume you'll have a decent chance of getting them to budge more on the price than they normally would.
Also, always remember to give the self storage manager you are speaking with your first name and phone number and tell them that you're still shopping around for storage. Managers know that storage customers usually shop around before settling on one facility, especially if they're going to be doing something major like storing a boat for a long period of time. When you let them know you are still shopping for the best deal and that you'll think about their offer, it puts the ball back in their court and gets them thinking about exactly how low they're willing to go to secure your business. This is good. Let them marinate on it for a while and you can expect that any decent property manager will be calling you back in the next few hours with a lower price ready.