How to Modernize Your Self-Storage Business
The self-storage industry has been around for decades and won’t be declining anytime soon. In fact, the industry’s revenue has grown nearly 50% since 2010. It is vital for owners of self-storage businesses to keep up with the latest trends and technology in order to stay on top of the competition. If you feel that your business is out-dated, you should consider modernizing everything from the processes and technology you use to the first impression customers get when they see your store front.
Step 1 - Stating your goal
Before you do anything else, figure out what kind of company you want to own. Are you looking for a small, local affair that gives you enough income for a comfortable life? You want to work, but you don't want anything to take over your life, so to speak. Or, are you looking for something that you can grow significantly? You won't stop until you are the storage king.
Everything else you do will depend on this decision. Once you know what you want, you need to know if it will work.
How Do You Know You Should Update Your Business?
There are several signs that point to an out-dated business. A few of these are:
Your curb appeal is lacking.
Customers are complaining about difficulties in using your service.
Your paint is chipping or signs are faded.
To figure out if your business is ready for an upgrade, first take a look at your store front from the street. Does it stand out among the surrounding buildings? Can you clearly see the business name? Are there any obvious signs of aging, such as dead foliage or drab and faded paint? If any of these apply, you should plan to update your business from the outside in.
Another telltale sign of a much-needed upgrade is an increase in customer complaints. If they are having trouble with your services or reporting issues with the infrastructure, you need to consider updating your technology and equipment as soon as possible.
Ways to Modernize to Your Self-Storage Facility
Once you have determined that it’s time for an upgrade, it is essential to plan out exactly what needs to be done. Take a look at the competition, and see what is trending in the community around you. There are many approaches you can take to update your business, including:
As mentioned earlier, before a potential client walks into your facility, the first thing they will likely notice is your curb appeal. When updating your facility, ensure that you personally assess it’s condition and note what repairs need to be carried out. You do not have to do significant renovations all at once. Start small and make a few changes that are visibly noticeable to potential customers and ones that make your facility look appealing. For instance, some of the quickest ways you can increase your curb appeal are:
Applying a fresh coat of paint. It can significantly transform your self-storage facility, and it also shows clients that you care about the facility and their possessions. You could also have your parking lot freshly paved. It may seem like a small thing to do, but it is one of the first things that a potential client notices about your facility.
Landscaping. A little landscaping can go a long way. Unkempt landscaping can drive potential clients away, so get rid of overgrown trees and large areas of dying or dead shrubs, groundcovers, and grass. Install new designs that are attractive instead.
Signage updates are also essential. Make your brand stand out with a new and improved sign.
Cleaning up and fixing rusty or banged up garage doors. Not only do they look subpar, but they also can make it harder for customers to operate.
Update old lighting to more aesthetic options. There are various modern light fixtures you can choose from that will add to your facility's curb appeal as well as providing ample lighting during nighttime.
You need to invest in security upgrades for safety purposes and to give your customers the satisfaction that their items are safe in your storage facility. This feature will add significant value to your self-storage and will also add to its appeal. Listed below are some of the security options you can add to your self-storage facility.
Invest in new cameras, security gates, keypads, and garage locks. Customers feel safer if they can see that measures are consistently being taken to prevent theft. Knowing their items are secure and that they do not need to worry about them will increase their chance of choosing your facility. It also prevents you from being liable for the loss of your clients’ property.
Upgrade your alarm systems, especially if they are currently wired. Wireless systems cannot be cut.
Consider installing cameras in each unit and allow customers to view their unit at any time via the internet. This can be made possible by live video streaming cameras. This way a customer can monitor their possessions from anywhere.
Technology has steadily grown and improved over the last couple of years and can be incorporated into almost every business. When making changes and renovations to your facility, it’s important to consider what technological features you can add to your facility to modernize it.
Always have your clients in mind and consider if it is something they need and whether the change you plan to make will improve their customer experience.
Updating your technology can make it easier for your customers to use your facilities. For instance, new lock systems that don't require a physical key can help customers with arthritis or other situations that make holding or turning small objects difficult.
If you notice your customers store a lot of temperature-sensitive items, you can update more of your units to be climate-controlled.
There is an app for almost anything, so consider developing an app for your business! People could use it to check rates, see when payment is due, or even use it for mobile entry to their unit.
Technological advancements in the past couple of decades have brought about several big changes. One of them is the internet, which has become vital in the success of businesses. You can look up most businesses online and find all the information you need to learn about them on their website or social media platforms. A big part of modernizing your business is to improve your online presence.
Consider who your target audience is and how you intend to reach them. While just having an online presence can significantly impact your business, it needs to make sense to your target customers. Listed below are a few tips you can employ to reach your target audience online.
Update your website and social media. If your website looks outdated, customers may be more inclined to take their storage needs elsewhere. Give your website a facelift, add a blog to keep customers up to date, and make sure you have a strong social media presence. Facebook and Instagram are great places to start, but consider joining Twitter or Youtube as well.
Ensure that your website is easy to use on all devices and your response to customers across all social media platforms is fast and effective.
Try to get reviews from past or current customers, since many people look up reviews when deciding between companies. A good way to entice customers to leave reviews is to offer rewards or promotions for their opinions.
Hire the Right Staff
While modernizing your business, it is important to take a look at your employees. Your customers and potential customers interact with your staff when they visit the storage facility, so you need to ensure that they are experienced and have excellent customer service skills. They should also be well trained and well informed to answer any customer's questions about the facility and its services.
Your staff's efficiency and how they serve and relate to customers can significantly affect whether or not you will gain and retain customers or not. Getting people who are good at sales will also be an added advantage. Consider offering training sessions or classes to improve the skillsets of your employees.
Trends in the Self-Storage Industry
Most people still think that self-storage facilities operate traditionally, but various technological adaptations have been incorporated into this industry. To have a successful self-storage business requires leasing, maintenance, accounting, management, and marketing. Embracing technology can significantly help you save both time and money. Listed below are a couple of technological trends to be on the lookout for if you intend to modernize your self-storage facility.
Biometrics Security System
Security is a vital feature when it comes to the self-storage industry. Customers would like the assurance that their items are safe. It is practically impossible to breach a biometric security system because it measures one's unique characteristics such as retina, fingerprints, and voice pattern. For instance, you can make a building only accessible via a fingerprint scanner. Introducing a biometrics security system to your storage facility ensures the security system is high-level. Your customers can also be more relaxed since they know their items are safe and secure.
Incorporating a self-storage kiosk into your business makes it convenient for customers because they can use them to access the facility at any time of the day or night.
These kiosks use software that is specially designed and has been integrated with the property management system.
If a customer takes any action on the kiosk, it will be loaded into the appropriate database and reports without the property manager having to take further action. They are also a great selling tool, and they work even better if they are combined with a mobile app since no personal interaction will be required.
With technological improvements, there is an app for almost everything. Some storage units have developed apps that allow customers to have access control over their units. Self-storage tenants do not need to keep track of designated access cards or keys anymore to access their storage unit.
The specialized mobile app helps them manage and access the storage units through their phones. A mobile app is convenient because renewing or starting a lease, communicating with the storage company, updating access codes, and making payments are all options that can be integrated into the app. This makes everyone's work easier and is a more effective way of operating.
To run a continually successful self-storage business, you should always look for ways to improve. You also need to understand that for your business to succeed, you need to adopt to the market. Think of how your storage solution can be a step above your competitors and how it can give your prospective clients a solution to their problems that they can’t find elsewhere. Be open to making all the necessary changes that will improve your customers' experience.