Storage units provide many benefits, and they are a literal lifesaver when you are moving to a new home. Due to the changes that the coronavirus has brought, many people are putting their storage units to creative uses. Renting a unit with a friend can help reduce costs, but there are many pros and cons of sharing storage with a friend that may not be obvious at first glance, and we will take a closer look at them here.
The pros of renting with a friend
Let’s start with the pros since people usually prefer to hear the good news first. Renting together can give you options that you wouldn’t have by going in alone. If your needs for storage line up (like using it for a mutual hobby) and you are renting with a close friend, this can be a great bonding experience. You can talk about what kind of storage will best suit your mutual needs and discuss all of the details in advance.
Sharing the cost of renting
Splitting the renting storage cost is probably the first idea most people get when thinking about renting with a friend. Co-renting is a great way to save money since you can literally halve the bills. If one party doesn’t need as much space, you can split the area and the storage cost differently so that it doesn’t have to be equal halves. Chipping in, even a little, can alleviate part of the cost for the person paying more, and it can allow the other party that needs less space to pay proportionately.
Generally, you want to check up on your storage unit and clean it from time to time. Co-renting means it’s a lot more likely that one of you will be able to drop by. Renting together usually means that the storage unit will see more foot traffic and general use than it would if it was just one person renting it. This can help with maintenance and cleaning or any additional work that needs to be done regarding the unit. You can make a schedule or take turns, ensuring no one is overburdened.
Renting better storage
When renting storage by yourself, some things might be out of your budget. If you rent with someone else, you will be able to aim a little higher than you would if you were on your own. Any additional costs can also be split, like security measures to ensure your possessions are safe, including specialized locks and insurance plans. Inquire with your storage provider about other benefits they offer, like security and theft prevention. Depending on what you plan to use the storage unit for, pest control might be a requirement, and if you are storing valuable and fragile items, climate-controlled units are a must.
Not everyone needs constant access to their storage unit. Even if you rent the unit for uses outside of simple storage, like an office space you can do work from, you will only be there during certain hours of the day. Another way of sharing storage is approaching it like a time-shared space. This will open up options like using the unit as a personal hobby space (which you always wanted but could never afford or find a place for). You’ll only need it for a few days a week, letting your friend have full access to the unit the days you are not there.
Drop in and drop out renting
Let’s say your friend Tim has a storage unit that he rents out. You find yourself in the process of moving to a new home, and you don’t really need a storage unit permanently since you only need to store a few boxes while the bulky stuff gets moved. You can ask Tim if he wants to share the unit for a limited time. This gives you access to storage for a low price, and Tim gets help paying the rent for the time you are using the storage together.
The cons of renting with a friend
Co-renting sounds great so far, but there are many pros and cons of sharing storage with a friend, and now it’s time to look at some of the downsides. Don’t get bummed out, but do think carefully about the cons before jumping into something that might not be for you. You might be considering renting with a friend mainly to cut down on the cost. However, there are other affordable ways to do this if co-renting isn’t right for you.
Money issues are one of the things that can cloud a friendship the fastest. What happens if someone misses a payment? One party will need to cover the total cost while you are still using the unit together. Will this be just a one-time slip-up, or is this going to happen frequently? Funny how splitting the cost is on both sides of the list of pros and cons of sharing storage with a friend, but that’s just the reality of it.
Different needs for the storage space
We’ve mentioned that storage units can be put to many uses, but some things do not belong there, or are simply against the storage company rules, or might even be outright illegal. Furthermore, your friend might be storing something that doesn’t mesh well with what you plan to do with the storage unit. For example, if you plan to keep old wedding clothes and antique furniture on your half while your friend intends to keep his motorbike and greasy equipment right next to your pristine valuables.
Issues with boundaries
This con ties right onto the last point. Imagine your friend keeps expanding and takes up way more than his share of space. You could literally draw a line on the floor, but in time they might need to “temporarily” put things on your part. “Just while they get a few things sorted out,” and then they forget to take them back to their side. Or worse, they may accidentally get your possessions dirty or even damage or break them.
We have listed the pros and cons of sharing storage with a friend. Now, it’s up to you to weigh the benefits and risks to find the best solution. Talk things through with your friend before making any commitment you might later regret. Set rules and boundaries in advance and resolve minor issues before they turn into non-negotiable deal-breakers.