Why Self-Storage is a No-No for Business Records
Here’s a little story about me. My small, cramped office was set up so that most of the current business files were within arm’s length and could be quickly retrieved as needed. Because the office lacked space, I had to keep an abundance of less used files off-site, so I just rented a cheap self-storage unit not far from the business. When I needed the files, I would usually make a dash to the unit on my lunch hour or after work.
One Thursday afternoon, I was searching for a particular file and realized that it must be at the storage unit. I knew my wife and I had friends visiting our home for dinner that night, so I really didn’t want to go out of my way to the unit to get files but I knew I needed them for Friday morning. So right at five o’clock, I jumped in my car and headed over, weaving my way through the five o’clock traffic that was further slowed down by a fender bender on the highway. Why is traffic always a headache when you’re in a rush?
When I arrived at the storage unit, I noticed that the main entrance door was propped open with a brick. What is this? I thought. These doors are locked for a reason. Apparently, some couple was moving their deceased relatives’ belongings in and couldn’t be bothered to unlock the door each time. To them, it wasn’t an issue because the contents of their storage unit were almost worthless, so what did they care?
I didn’t have time to confront them because I had to keep moving, so up the stairs I went only to have a rodent pass me on the way down. What?! Are you kidding me? That’s all I need…mice chewing away at my records. By the time I got to the third floor I was sweating profusely. Not because I am out of shape, but because the temperature in the building was quite warm. I remembered an article I read saying that paper records need to be stored between 68 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity between 40 and 55 percent. I hadn’t been to this place since wintertime, and my stomach lurched when I suddenly realized that this place was not ideal for storing my files. Even though I don’t need them every day, when I do need them, they have to be in one piece and well preserved, not yellowed, curled, and chewed.
As I was approaching my unit, I could smell something unsettling. Is that…yes, it’s hydraulic fluid! I knew that distinct smell. I thought maybe someone was storing an old jack in one of their units, and when I opened up the door to my unit, I discovered where the smell was coming from. The unit next to mine had a tipped-over can of hydraulic fluid, and because the lid wasn’t on tight, the fluid was leaking through and seeping through the bottom of one of my file boxes!
It appeared to me that the unit next to mine must have gotten new renters, because it was now loaded with filthy industrial equipment and flammable liquids stacked up against the fence wall that separated my unit from theirs. This was not cool. It appeared they had bumped up against the fence divider, which knocked over my stack of file boxes and popped the lid off. Not only were some of the documents soaked in hydraulic fluid, my storage unit neighbors could read them! All I could think was that my documents were no longer private, and I almost wished the hydraulic fluid had rendered them unreadable after all.
If my customers knew their information was being stored like this, they would likely—and understandably—find someone else to work with. I was both embarrassed and frustrated. Finding the right file today was out of the question; cleanup alone was going to take me way too long. I quickly sent a text to my wife to tell her I was running behind, and why. She immediately replied, “I think it’s time you partner with a professional storage provider.”
She was right. Again. So, I spent my Friday afternoon researching professional record storage management companies, looking specifically for a local company that had lots of experience and a great track record.
During my research, I discovered that not only was storing my files in a secure records center safer and far more secure than a self-storage unit, but very affordable in comparison. Why had I never thought of this? I found a great company in Sacramento and discovered they also offered scan-on-demand, which meant that I could get a file sent to me immediately without fighting traffic, using my lunch hour or negatively affecting my marriage. This was a no-brainer.
Pacific Records has secure buildings in Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto, and Fresno that will protect your records from all possible disasters. Save yourself the drive and give us a call at 800-685-9034 or complete the form on this page. We want to keep your records safe from the drama of self-storage.