Managing a self storage facility can be a complex task, balancing the need for security, efficiency, and excellent customer service. By understanding the specific requirements of this unique business model, you can ensure smooth operations and maximize profitability.
Whether you're new to the industry or looking to improve your current self storage business practices, this guide will provide valuable insights on how to manage a self storage facility effectively.
Understand the Basics of Self Storage Management
At the heart of managing a self storage facility lies the trifecta of security, accessibility, and cleanliness.
- Security measures, including surveillance cameras and smart entry systems, are fundamental in ensuring the safety of customers' stored items.
- Accessibility is crucial to attracting and retaining customers; offering 24/7 access and a user-friendly online presence can significantly boost your facility's appeal.
- Maintaining a clean, well-lit, and pest-free environment is vital in demonstrating your facility's quality and commitment to customer satisfaction.
These basic aspects, combined with efficient management practices, form the cornerstone of successful self storage facility management.
Create a Plan for Managing Your Self Storage Facility
Develop an Effective Pricing Strategy
An effective pricing strategy is essential for managing self storage facilities. Carefully analyze the market to ensure that your rates are competitive but profitable, while also taking into account any additional charges and special offers you may be offering.
It's worth noting that everyone's pricing strategy will vary depending on the units offered. For example, climate-controlled storage units or indoor RV and boat storage units should cost more than a standard storage unit for rent since their operating costs are higher because they cost more to build and may include electrical outlets and/or other amenities such as storage space for camping gear, fishing equipment, etc.
Rates should be adjusted on a regular basis for the best results. Part of the pricing strategy may include coming up with discounts that fit your business and goals.
Utilize Technology to Streamline Operations
Technology can significantly streamline your operations, allowing for more efficient payment processing, automated billing systems, security alerts, and customer support.
Investing in property management software can help you manage customer accounts, track payments, send invoices and reminders, and accept online bookings. Storage management software can be especially helpful for remote management if you work from home.
Develop a Communication Strategy
Developing an effective communication strategy is key to managing your self storage facilities. Keep customers informed through emails or SMS alerts regarding upcoming payment dates or any changes to the terms and conditions of renting their self storage units.
You should also develop relationships with other local businesses, such as movers or real estate agents, to establish yourself in the community and generate referrals.
Regardless of whatever strategies you choose to implement, it's important that the messages are consistent with the company's brand and values.
Invest in Marketing Strategies
Marketing your self storage facility is paramount to attracting new customers and engaging existing renters. Creating an online presence—including a website, social media accounts, and listing services like Yelp and a Google Business Profile—can help you find more renters.
Make sure you leverage local SEO, online advertising, and social media platforms to reach your target audience. Consider offering exclusive online discounts or running promotional campaigns to attract more customers and fill your vacant storage units.
Many self-storage facilities also still utilize grassroots forms of marketing, such as sponsoring local sports teams (which includes complimentary advertising on T-shirts and signage) or charitable events.
Establish Customer Service Protocols and Standards
It’s no secret that exceptional customer service is critical. Establishing standard operating procedures for you and your employees to follow can help ensure you foster an environment of quality customer service. Your customer service policy should include appropriate response times, complaint procedures, and refund policies.
Implement Safety Measures to Protect Customers’ Belongings
Your customers trust you with their cherished belongings, so it’s important to implement safety measures to protect them. Install security cameras and motion-activated lights throughout the facility, as well as smart entry systems to control access on your self storage property.
Part of protecting tenants' belongings is offering tenant insurance and/or protection plans. These can generate additional income for operators while ensuring their tenants will be compensated should their belongings become damaged.
Keep up with Industry Trends and Best Practices
To stay ahead of the competition and maximize your facility’s profitability, it’s important to keep up with industry trends and best practices. Learning about new technologies can help you streamline operations and provide an even better customer experience.
We also recommend attending networking events to stay up-to-date with the latest in the self storage industry and connect with your fellow facility owners and operators.
Joining your local state self storage association and the national Self Storage Association is also a great way to network. They host conferences, seminars, and trade shows that can provide attendees with valuable industry-specific information. There are also several industry-specific magazines that offer timely, relevant information that can help operators improve their businesses.
How a Storelocal Consultant Can Help
A Storelocal consultant can be a game-changer in your journey to manage a self storage facility more efficiently. With a wealth of knowledge and industry experience, a Storelocal consultant can provide bespoke solutions, helping you tackle your unique business challenges.
From assisting you in optimizing your pricing strategy to enhancing your marketing efforts, a Storelocal consultant is there to guide you every step of the way. Plus, we can provide invaluable advice on maintaining safety standards and keeping up with industry trends.