May 22, 2008
More Space, Delivered to You
By JAY ROMANO
NEARLY everyone needs more space for storage, but there’s an alternative to renting a truck and carting the excess to a rented unit: the storage space can come to you.
Portable On-Demand Storage, a nationwide storage service based in Tampa, Fla., will deliver a storage container to the home, where the customer loads and locks it before the company returns it to its warehouse.
Tom Ryan, the president of PODS, said the warehouses are climate-controlled to prevent excess humidity and freezing. The company uses a specially designed machine to lift the container vertically, which keeps the contents from shifting.
Monthly rental charges range from $100 to $200, depending on the size of the containers, which are 8 feet high and wide and 7, 12 or 16 feet long, he said. Customers can keep the container on their property for as long as they like, but the rental clock starts ticking when the container is delivered. Drop-off and pick-up fees are $60 to $100.
PODS has dealers in every state except Alaska, Wyoming and North Dakota, “but we do not service Manhattan,” Mr. Ryan said. Traffic, construction and narrow streets make it “just too difficult.”
There are other options for city residents. Mobile Self Storage in Brooklyn specializes in the New York City area, including Manhattan.
“Our boxes are 5 feet wide by 8 feet long by 7 ½ feet high,” said Stacey Perlzweig, office manager for the company. Ideally, she said, the customer will have a driveway or other parking area where the container can be dropped off. (Customers should check with local authorities or their building manager to find out if permission is required.)
But in the city, the driver may have to settle for the street. “The container can easily fit in a parking spot,” Ms. Perlzweig said. “A lot of people who live in apartment buildings think they can’t use our service because there’s nowhere to put the container,” she said. “But as long as the driver can find a spot on the street, he can wait there until the container is loaded, and then take it back to the storehouse.”
Mobile Self Storage charges $79 a month to store the container, which holds “about one room’s worth of furniture,” Ms. Perlzweig said. Delivery to Brooklyn and Queens is free, but Mobile charges up to $125 to deliver to other areas, depending on the distance, she said. The return fee is $125. Most companies use containers that are made of galvanized steel, which does not rust, and that have sealed plywood floors.
Bill Norris, president of Go Mini’s, based in Jacksonville, Fla., provides portable storage service in 46 states. His company’s containers are 8 feet wide, 8 feet high, and 12, 16, or 18 feet long and are “completely weatherproofed and vented,” he said.
Monthly storage for a 16-foot container is $135, and delivery and pickup fees are $80 to $120 each.
Storage containers can be used during renovation or even for moving, Mr. Norris said.
"We drop them off in your driveway, and you have 30 days to load and lock them," he explained. "It’s a convenient way to move because you can load the container without the clock of a rental truck ticking away."
A container can also be moved to a new home, with delivery charges depending on the distance traveled.
Because many real estate agents advise sellers to de-clutter before putting a house on the market, a storage container can come in handy before a home is sold, too. Loading extra possessions into the container and putting it in storage until it’s time to move out eliminates one step, Mr. Norris said. "You move out the clutter, and you don’t have to handle it again until you get to your new location."