Self Storage Glossary

Access controlled gate:

A security control measure that allows us to prevent unauthorised access to the storage facility. Tenants use a secure personal PIN code to gain access.

Access hours:

Tenants can access their storage space during these hours only.

Administration fee:

A one-off fee to cover all processing, paper work and other administrative expenses.

Anniversary billing:

Anniversary billing refers to the agreed upon point when the customer will be billed. Typically this is the same date of each month as the date the customer began renting the unit.


“ASU” stands for “Active Storage Unit”, which is a secure external self storage container for customers to store and access their possessions.

Automatic billing:

Automatic payment is taken from the tenants’ bank or credit card on the agreed upon date.


Square steel plates which bolt to the ground floor slab of the structure and are designed to spread the weight and load of the mezzanine columns. These can be used in larger sizes to add extra support where poor concrete exists.

Boat storage:

The storage of any water vessel, including – but not limited to – indoor boat storage or outdoor parking, wet or dry storage, etc

Brass lock:

Locking mechanism designed to be weather and corrosion resistant.


A walkway giving access to upper level storage units.

Building regulations:

Government-mandated list of laws and regulations that apply to all buildings, whether domestic, commercial or industrial, designed to cover health and safety concerns, and environmental impacts, or the building or structure.

Business storage:

Business storage refers to self storage for business purposes. Self storage is often a viable option for businesses requiring secure extra space, either for temporary storage for inventory, when moving premises, or to store seasonal items.

Car storage:

A general term for secure vehicular storage, including both indoor and outdoor storage.


CCTV – or Closed Circuit Television – is a TV system without public broadcast or access, recording specific areas for security or surveillance purposes.

Climate control:

Refers to air conditioning, freezers, heaters and more; designed to control the temperature and/or humidity of a specific area, room or storage unit. This is often used for sensitive items, perishables, art, or electronics.

Column grid :

A term used to explain the distance between the structural columns from north to south, and east to west. A “5m x 6m”, for example, would describe a space that is 5m from the centre of one column to the other in one direction, and 6m between the centre of two columns in the other direction.

Computer controlled access:

Computer Controlled Access is where access is granted to a facility via a PIN code, key card or other such security device.

Container storage:

Container storage is the use of an empty shipping container as rented storage space. This is done when the container has been placed in a permanent location, usually in a designated area but containers can be used in one’s home or business, provided there is suitable hard standing ground. Container storage is often the cheaper storage option, but can have problems with temperate control and condensation.

Courtesy hold:

An arrangement in which the business agrees to reserve a storage unit for a potential customer before any rental agreements have been signed.

Cylinder lock:

A ‘key’ lock constructed with a cylinder, designed to be durable and facilitate rekeying. Typically there is a key for the customer and a master key for security.

Deliveries accepted:

This means that the storage facility can accept deliveries and shipments on behalf of the customer.

Disc lock:

A disc lock is a hardened, portable lock that connects as a loop, binding an access point closed.

Dolly / Handcart:

A free moving trolley, on wheels, designed to safely move several items at once, or move large items safely and securely.

Door alarms:

A security device that will sound an alert if the doors are opened without proper authorisation.

Drive up unit:

A storage unit that is accessible by vehicles, for quick and easy loading/unloading.

Economic life:

The estimated lifespan of a piece of equipment, provided it is properly maintained, before it is expected to need replacing.

Electrical fit-out:

Refers to the provision of electricity sockets and/or electrical items within a building.

Exchange pallet:

A pallet which used in shipping, and is assigned to the unit load being transferred. The exchange pallet is owned by whoever owns the stock on it, hence it does not need to be returned to the original sender.

Expendable pallet:

A pallet which is used in a single shipping assignment, and is disposed afterwards.

Fire rating:

A standardised rating system rating a fire protection system in a standard fire resistance test.

First of the month billing:

A rental agreement whereby the tenant is billed on the 1st of each month.

Flat panel system:

Rigid paneled walls that often have a slight curvature across the length, designed to increase rigidity without impeding on usable space.

Freight lift:

Designed specifically to move only goods, not people, between levels.

Furniture storage:

The storage of household items and/or office contents.

Gate access card:

A card that grants access, by presenting or swiping, to a secure and otherwise inaccessible gate.

Gate access code:

A unique code that grants access to a secure and otherwise inaccessible gate.

Goods in transit insurance:

An insurance agreement that concerns products which are in the process being shipped, or “in transit”.

Gross area:

The total area of land or of a building/storage unit. This can include areas created by different levels within a structure.


An indoor corridor used for access to different units.

Hallway or interior unit:

Indoor units, or units only accessible via a designated corridor or walkway. These are not designed for vehicular access.

Hazardous materials:

Materials that are unsafe to store, or require special storage instructions. These include, but are not limited to, chemicals, flammables, and explosives.

Header bars & panels :

Header bars are a horizontal door frame component, which the panels slide into.

Heated storage:

Storage units with heating systems to raise or maintain the temperature.

High gloss:

A shiny protective coating of paint.

Household storage:

Refers to the storage of household items, furniture and/or personal effects.

Humidity controlled storage:

A storage unit with equipment designed to control humidity and moisture in the air.

Indoor parking:

The secure storage of vehicles, protected from outside elements.

Indoor storage:

Interior storage units, protected from outside elements.


Financial protection against occurrences of theft, damage and/or loss.

Interior unit:

Storage units housed within a main building or structure.


JIT refers to “Just In Time” Inventory or Manufacturing, and is the practise of making or storing just enough of a product to meet demand, thus saving on storage space and potential surplus.


A security device in which a code is entered to grant access. An access code, typically a sequence of numbers, is entered on the Keypad.


vertically moves people and/or goods between floors or levels.

Loading bay:

The designated area where loading and unloading occurs.


A security device that binds objects together or secures doors to prevent theft and/or unauthorised access.


A broad term for a storage unit of varying sizes.

Long term storage:

Typically considered to be 12 months or more of storage, though different storage companies may have their own definition of long term storage.

Magnetic isle sweeper:

A magnetic sweeping device that clears away metal debris and shards.


A mezzanine is a purpose built floor that stands between two main floors, adding additional space for a realitively low cost.

Mezzanine lift:

A lift designed to move people or products, which travels vertically to a mezzanine.

Mini storage:

A broad term that generally refers to self storage solutions of all sizes and purposes. Considered to be a shorter version of the term “mini self storage”.

Month to month lease :

The customer is not obliged to rent for any longer than one month at a time.

Motion sensor lighting:

Lighting that automatically turns on when it senses movement within a designated area, and switches itself off after a period of no movement within that area. Motion Sensor Lighting is used for both security and energy saving purposes.


A rigid metal fastener, of varying sizes and strengths, with a head at the shank end opposite the sharp point on the other end.

National Wooden Pallet and Container Association:

NWPCA is an international trade association who manufacture, recycle, repair and distribute pallets, containers and reels.

Natural elements:

Naturally occurring weather conditions. Includes, but isn’t limited to, frost, rain, moisture, sunshine and UV light.

Nett let-able:

The total area of space which can be used for self storage, excluding hallways, toilets, reception, loading bays etc.

Non-climate control (Cold Storage):

A storage unit that doesn’t include protective technology from heat, cold or humidity.

Non-reversible pallet:

When the top layer of a pallet is different from the bottom, with only the top side designed to be in contact with the products.


A cut out in the pallet to allow fork-tine entry, for transportation.

Notched stringer:

A stringer or pallet with just two spaces, or “notches”, designed for use with fork-tine.

Office hours:

The operational hours in which the office is staffed.

On-site conference room:

A room available and designated for conference meetings.

On-site manager:

The designated manager who is in charge and present on the premises at any given time.

Online reservation:

Using the Internet to guarantee a storage unit before the booking is finalised.

Opening height:

The distance between the floor and the underside of the top deck, or from the floor to the top of the stringer notch.

Outdoor parking:

Exterior space designated for vehicular parking.

Outdoor storage:

These can refer to exterior parking spaces, and is sometimes used to describe a drive-up storage unit.

Overall height:

The total distance when measuring from the floor to the top side of the top deck.


The distance that the load of deck protrudes from the outer edge of the pallet or stringer.


When an additional lock is placed over the top of an existing lock.

Pallet rack:

A cubic structure used for storing pallets. Typically these are stored vertically, in layers.

Parking space:

Refers to the space designated for vehicle storage, either indoors or outdoors.

Perishable materials:

Materials that will not last long-term in storage, such as live animals or food.


Official authorisation or permission.

Pharmaceutical storage:

Storage specific for pharmaceutical products, which may require special climate control or security considerations.


Manually collecting products to fulfil an order.

PIN number:

A PIN – or Personal Identification Number – is a unique number used for identity and security purposes. Customers may be issued a PIN number to verify their account or to gain access to the premises.


Refers to items and equipment used in the process of shipping, picking and self storage (skips, fork lift trucks etc)

Plastic bin:

A plastic storage container, used for rubbish and housekeeping, or storage.

Plastic pallet:

A durable pallet for the shipping and handling of products, made of plastic.


A PVC based coating, with strong viscosity, that is applied in liquid form for protection and visibility.

Platform truck:

An industrial piece of equipment that is driven and used to carry pallets and products.

Polyester powder coated:

Polyester Powder Coating is a type of coating that is applied as a free-flowing, dry powder, and is typically cured under heat to form a “skin”, which offers more resistance and strength than conventional liquid paints.

Power conveyor:

A broad term for any motor driven conveyor.

Premium lease:

Different storage companies offer different lease options with different benefits and price structures. Typically a Premium Lease would refer to the most expensive package, with the most benefits.

Pro-rated move in:

Means that your rent is only for the days you have been renting the unit, whatever date of the month you move in, so that you’re not billed for the full month.

Pro-rated rent:

For Pro-Rata purposes, there are considered to be only 30 days in a month, no matter how many days there actually are in that month. Divide the full monthly rent by 30. That gives you the per diem amount. Times this amount by the number of days that you will be occupying the property and that is the Pro-Rata amount.

For example: Rent is 300 / 30 = 10 per diem. You move in on the 5th. You owe 26 days. 26 x 10 = 260.

Profile panel system:

The panels on the corridor walls are corrugated.

Programmable logic controller (PLC):

A systematic device that can be directed and redirected remotely to change functions.

Programme of works:

A company document which pinpoints and describes important tasks and dates within a project.

Prohibited goods:

Goods which are not permitted to be stored in a self storage facility, for legal reasons or health and saftey concerns.

Property lien:

A lien is a notice attached to your property announcing a creditor’s claims that you owe it money. A lien is typically a public record.

Push back rack:

A high-density cubic storage system where pallets are stacked at different levels vertically, and also stored within the structure. Pallets are placed on fixed rails and can be “pushed back” when another pallet is placed in front of them. When the front pallet is removed, the pallets behind it slide to the front for easy and rapid accessibility.


The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind. Quality control checks may test an item’s appearences, durability and function.

R.V storage:

Designated parking or storage for Recreational Vehicles, which are typically larger than domestic vehicles.


The agreed upon amount which the tenant pays in exchange for use of the storage unit, subject to terms and conditions set out in the rental agreement, which is a legal contract.

Rental agreement / Rental lease:

The legal contract detailing the terms, conditions and entitlements which the tenant is subject to.

Resident manager:

A manager who resides on the premises.

Roll-up door:

A space saving door that rolls from the ground to the ceiling.

Satellite store:

A nearby storage unit managed by another storage office.

Security cameras:

Cameras used for security and safety purposes, often used in a CCTV system.

Security deposit:

A nominal fee payable by the tenant, that is refunded when the tenant moves out, subject to terms and conditions set out in the rental agreement.

Self storage:

A short version of “Self Service Storage”, whereby space is leased out for purposes of storage, to which the renter has the right to exclusive access.

Self storage contract:

The legally binding agreement between the storage provider and the customer, detailing the terms and conditions both parties are subject to.

Self storage facility:

The building, structure or designated space used exclusively for storage purposes.

Self storage locker:

Typically refers to mini storage or small storage units, though there is no standard measure of size for this term.

Self storage room/unit:

An individual unit or facility used for storage.

Self storage warehouse:

A main building which houses the self storage units.


A customer stores their belongings or product in a self storage unit, and is responsible for placing and removing them when the rental contract is finished.

Service provider:

Refers to the company itself who is providing the service.

Short term storage:

Typically considered to be less than 12 months of storage, though different storage companies may have their own definition of short term storage.

Sound condition:

Sound condition refers to something that is of good quality, without problems and is fully functioning.

Steel lock:

A security lock mechanism made of steel, which is weather and corrosion resistant.

Storage insurance:

Tenants may choose to insure their belongings against theft, damage or loss, which may or may not be included in the rental agreement. Some homeowners’ insurance policies may also cover items stored in a storage unit.

Storage tax:

Self-storage operators in the United Kingdom must charge rental customers a 20 percent value-added tax (VAT). No other tax is mandatory for self storage, although certain companies may have their own fees and policies.

Transfer fee:

A one off charge that may be applicable when a tenant chooses to move (or transfer) from their unit to another unit in the same facility.

Truck rental:

A truck or large vehicle that is rented for the transportation of goods, subject to the terms and conditions of the rental company.

Turn-key fit-out :

Refers to a proceedure whereby all the planning, handling, logistics and staff are taken care of by an outside team.

Unit load:

The collective stack or load of products on an individual pallet can be referred to as a single unit load.

Unit mix:

A depiction of the different sizes and quantities of self storage units available within a facility.

Unit size:

The collective area of usable floor space, including all different levels and mezzanines. Typically expressed in square/cubic feet or metres.

Upper unit storage:

Refers to a unit within a multi-level storage facility that is not on the first floor.


VAO stands for Vendor Assigned Orders, and refers to the process where companies will keep stock in an external warehouse for storage, and issue stock picking orders, upon demand, for delivery to customers.

Video surveillance:

Video cameras that monitor a certain area for purposes of security, crime prevention and/or safety. Typically used in a CCTV system.


Warehousing is where companies will outsource warehouse facilities for their products. The warehouse, typically, will be paid to take care of the storage, handling and delivery or packing of orders as they come in.

Well-lit facility:

A term used to describe a facility with good lighting, which is important for safety and security purposes.

Wine storage:

Designated space for the storage of wine products, maintaining the necessary conditions.