Choosing a Car Storage Facility – The Ultimate Guide for your Classic Car, Sports car or Weekend Getaway Car.
This post is aimed at helping to make the search for a suitable car storage company easier. In this post we’ll look at some of the things you should consider when choosing a car storage company that’s right for you and your car.
All service-led businesses are set up to take away pain, to provide an essential service to the public or to other companies.
Car storage is no different. And there are plenty of car storage businesses to choose from.
Whatever your motivation for seeking out a classic car storage company, it’s important to ensure that the facility you choose is right for your vehicle, as well as your peace of mind.
After all, our cars are important to us – both in terms of monetary cost, as well as more sentimental or emotional reasons—so it makes sense that we want to be sure our vehicles are well looked after.
So, how do you choose the right car storage company for your car?
We’ve put together a list of 9 key criteria that you should look for when choosing a car storage facility.
- Service and Environment
- Process and Equipment
- Your Car
- Other Useful Services
Let’s dive into what to consider when looking for car storage; and we’ll explain a bit more about why each area is important to the storage decision making process.
No. 1 – Trust.
There is rarely anything better for business credibility than a personal referral from a trusted source.
And as most ‘first time’ users of car storage will testify, trust is essential.
Therefore, in the absence of a personal referral, a car storage company’s websites is often the first port of call.
A few quick questions should help you decide…
Does the site look professional? Is it up to date even.If there are forms, do they work? Does the business get back in touch with you quickly and courteously? All fairly obvious stuff (you would hope).
If it they business has social profiles, have they been updated recently? Is the tone of voice of any posts professional? This is a great check. Do they engage with followers at all?
We all have our preferred methods of correspondence these days, does the company have plenty of means of contact. Is it easy?
As much as we can’t 100% trust online reviews alone, does the company have any? If they have a few, what does this mean to you?
Is it safe to assume they’re from actual customers? Read the most recent Google reviews or Facebook reviews and decide whether they are relevant to you and your requirements.
No. 2 – Location.
Location can be a red herring in the search for a good car storage facility.
Let me explain.
Imagine you live in Central or North London and you need a Premium car storage service with access to your car on a weekly basis.
You could be facing a monthly cost somewhere in the region of between £500 and £600 per month – that’s upwards of £6000 a year and you may still have to add the vat.
So, the question is now… is this acceptable?
If it is, great.
However, if you access to the car is needed less frequently, and you don’t mind a bit of travel time (or transport cost), your car storage cost per month can be reduced significantly even including the transport costs.
Our own Premium storage service for example costs less than one third the London based facilities.
And even if you trailered the car into London on the occasions that you needed it you’d still be well under the £600 p/m you’re paying for the convenience of it being ‘close’.
So, ‘convenience’ plays a huge part in the car storage decision making process. And the difference in level of service would be marginal – we might be only slightly better 🙂
Finally, when seeking the optimal place to store your vehicle, be sure to look for somewhere that’s both discreet and easy to get to should you need to.
Car storage facilities should be discreet.
Signage that draws attention to the storage location is patently foolish, as is an accurate location map or site address on Google.
Of course, you also don’t want a car storage facility that’s hard to access. Privacy is a must and the location has to be right for you but if you have to drive your slammed pride and joy down a muddy, pot-holed road for a mile or so, that’s not good either.
The best car storage facilities, we believe, are the ones that are located not too far off a main road and within easy reach of a main town or city.
Generally, they’re found (usually not easily) somewhere in the countryside and simply look like a standard agricultural storage shed from the outside. If the building is obscured from view from the road, that’s even better.
Certainly be prepared to get lost on your first trip to Auto Classica Storage 🙂
No. 3 – Service & Environment.
Whether you just need a dry, indoor space, or something a little more controlled and pro-active, your car storage company should be able to help you choose a suitable service level and storage environment for your specific needs.
Let them guide you through the differences between climate controlled, dehumidified storage, heated or air conditioned car storage.
In terms of the actual service level, some companies have a one-service-fits all approach whilst others will cater to individual needs more readily. Its always better to speak to the facility and let them help you decide which service level is right for you, your car and your budget.
Maybe you have questions about car storage Airchambers or car bubbles; airchambers are individual pods that provide environmental control and protection for your vehicle, avoiding any chance of moisture or condensation.
All these differing factors can make the decision-making process quite a mine field but if guided correctly you will feel reassured that your car is in safe hands under the right conditions at the right price.
When storing a vehicle for any length of time, you’ll want an indoor environment that’s dry, clean and free from pests like rodents, birds and insects.
No. 4 – Security.
Services, equipment and skillsets give a business the right to ‘do business’ and then there are unique selling points and ‘going above and beyond’ which are the right to WIN business.
Security falls firmly into the first camp. Without proper security, the facility doesn’t have the right to do business at all.
In order to carry out the ‘duty of care’ to the customer, company’s will have taken security very seriously indeed.
Obvious and heavy investment in getting the security element right means a Grade 3 CCTV and Intruder Alarm system to EN 50131 Standard Grade 3, that is connected to an alarm monitoring company and the Police, is a minimum requirement however valuable your vehicle is.
You should also see advanced locking systems, ram-raid barriers and night-time lighting (of the movement detection kind), But if you’re shown where the keys are kept, be wary. Secure customer key management is also very important.
Lastly, don’t be surprised if you are asked to provide digital evidence of a photo ID on your first visit.
Security falls heavily into the first category of Trust. Satisfy yourself that the car storage business you choose has taken security seriously.
Keeping your classic car stored in a secured facility is important not only for your own reassurance but also a must according to your car insurance provider.
When we were setting up the Auto Classica Storage environment, we worked closely with an Aviva security assessor.
Our own motor trade insurance policy is provided for by Footman James and NIG. If you’d like copy please let me know. Our terms of business can also be found here – I urge you to have a quick read if you’re thinking of using our services.
No. 5 – People.
When choosing a car stroage facility, or any business for that matter, I’ve always felt that the need to find some common ground.
In my mind, businesses are built not on the service they provide but the people that provide that service. Relationships are critical, both ways.
We always want to meet new customers face to face. To show them around, to talk about their cars and their criteria for storing those cars.
It’s not always possible, and a phone call is often a good back up, but we’re a people business and we like to make sure that our customers are comfortable.
And not just with the environment in which their cars will be looked after either, it’s the people who are going to be in charge of their cars.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it…”
…as the modern marketing guru Simon Sinek so eloquently put it.
Speak to the people who will be looking after your car. You will know immediatley if they believe in what they do, and subsequently you will likely believe in them too!
If not, walk briskly away 🙂
No. 6 – Process and Equipment.
It’s all very well someone telling you that they’ll be storing your car for you and it will be ‘fine’ but…
There is also nothing more reassuring than actually being shown ‘how’ your car will be stored.
Being able to walk a prospect through a car storage process is a very reassuring tool – so we’ve been told.
We have a very simplified version of our process, which highlights the 7 key stages that we go through when storing a car with us.
We also have specialist equipment that we use to fulfil our car storage process and services. They not only make our business unique, they reassuringly force the whole business to work safely and efficiently.
No. 7 – Budget.
We have touched on budget in a few of these criteria above.
Budget is of course important. But not always important irrespective of service level, storage environment and the people in the business.
If cost is all important you’ll likely have not read all the way down to this section, or you’ll have headed straight to this section!
With the research we do of our own, we know we fit somewhere in the middle of the car storage ‘pricing’ spectrum.
We are by no means the most expensive, by no means the cheapest either. This has a lot to do with the geography if our sites.
What helps us is that we are located centrally in the UK. And that means our location is convenient* for customers all over the world.
Of course, more locally, our customers will usually come from North London, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire.
In terms of budget then, to store a car with us on our 60 day Premium Service will cost you less than £200 inc vat. per month.
The cost per month typically depends on how long your car will be with us.
We offer discounts for cars stored with us for over 12 months. Our monthly price is typically higher over winter for shorter terms of less than 6 months.
Longer-term customers benefit from lower monthly costs all year round.
*One mans ‘convenience’ is another’s inconvenience. Which is why you must decide what is important to you (Location, Service Level, Budget etc) when deciding which storage facility to choose and how much you are will choose to pay.
No. 8 – Your Car
No one likes to listen to someone talk about their business all day long. It’s more often the listening that counts.
From the moment you make contact with a car storage company, they should be looking to learn as much about your vehicle as possible.
The condition it’s in, any personality or character traits it may have. Does it like early mornings or does it like to be left alone.
We want to know if it has any quirks, if it needs an MOT soon, if it likes a particular brand of wax or leather polish. We want to know every little detail.
Every car goes that comes in to us goes through our rigourous induction process before it is issued a unique storage ID. A copy of the induction report is sent to the customer and the car keys are tagged with that number and stored in a secure offsite location.
We’ll have a dossier for each vehicle. All documentation, as well as images and video files, are stored here, and we share access to that folder with our customers.
When a car is collected, we run through the handover process but we won’t then de-issue the unique ID code as that car is likely to come back to us for another stint in storage in due course.
No 9 – Other useful services
Besides the actual storage of the vehicle, many classic car storage facilities also offer other useful services.
This can make the process of storing a cherished vehicle much more convenient, while also ensuring a car is returned to the customer in great condition.
- Transport services – Vehicle transport is an option if a car cannot be driven for some reason, if the facility is too far away or if you just don’t have time to drive there yourself.
- Valeting and Detailing service – A thorough clean, both inside and out, is an essential part of preparing a classic car for storage. And with detailing, the level to which you wish to go is almost endless.
- Regular condition checks – We recommend that cars in storage be looked over at least every 60 days. During this check, things like the battery conditioner and the tyres should be examined. It’s also a good idea to frequently run the car up to temperature to get the fluids moving around the mechancial and moving parts of the car.
- Servicing, Repairs and MOT’s – We can manage these requirements as and when they become necessary. Perticularly good for our overseas customers
We have a very clear picture of our ideal customers, and we think it’s only right that they have a very transparent picture of our storage facility.
Our customers, both men and women, often have one or more vehicles worth between £10k and £0.5m – we have a few cars that fit just outside that parameter but they are not the norm – and they come from all walks of life.
It’s what makes this job so fulfilling. Not to mention that I get to be around some of the coolest cars in the world all day long!
We believe we are getting to know our audience reasonably well, they are a good cross section of customers with unique needs and great cars and we work incredibly hard everyday to cater for that audience.
What do you look for in a car storage facility?
We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below.