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Looking To Increase Your Self-Storage Business? Look To Your Customers For Great Ideas

by Daniel Herrera

If you own or manage a self-storage facility, you probably spend a lot of energy considering how best to market your business to potential customers. For instance, you might rent billboard space, start an account for customer reviews, or hire a sign-twirler for the closest street corner. But have you ever considered asking your customers what they want in a storage facility? You might just get some surprising results. Here are a few ideas to consider for your storage business.

1. Assistance with move-in

Once you sign a contract with your customers, they are on their own when it comes to moving their items into the rental unit. However, 37 percent of the respondents to a survey about storage needs identified, as their primary desire, help with moving their belongings into their units. While this may sound ludicrous on the surface, it may be something that could really bump up your business. Here are some ways you could implement this service:

  • Purchase a large truck, paint it with your company logo, and hire a pair of employees to assist customers move their belongings.

  • Identify the need for this service and rent a truck accordingly (for instance, on the first and last weekends of each month).

  • Subcontract with a local moving company according to the needs of your business.

The availability of a service to help your customers move in and organize their storage space might just be the clincher for those trying to choose between your facility and others.

2. Shelving

A distant second category for customer requests in the survey mentioned above was the option to put up shelving in storage units; 24 percent of respondents identified this as something that would make a facility more attractive to them. You have two possible action plans here.

  • First, consider installing shelves according to each customer's need; this would be discussed during sign-up and done prior to move-in. Doing this wouldn't take more than a half hour or so for a couple of employees. When the customer moves out, the shelving can be removed and the holes patched.

  • Alternatively, you could set aside some of the larger units to include large, permanently installed, open faced cabinets. These units could be available at a premium price.

3. Connection to electric supply

Sixteen percent of survey respondents requested connection to electrical sources. Why would this be needed in a storage unit? You may have some customers who use their storage spaces as extensions of their business operations. Battery-powered electrical supplies and mobile devices can only go so far if the customer requires light or power for business purposes. Consider extending electricity to a few units, which, again, can be rented for an increased price.

4. Option to self-decorate

As the owner or manager of a self storage company, you can also consider other ideas to which customers might be attracted. One is the option for self-decorating storage units. This could include do-it-yourself shelving, the ability to mount large pictures on the walls (which offers greater protection than storing on the ground), or the possibility of setting up a workspace (again, needed if the customer uses the space for business).

5. Flexible pricing

Customers always want affordability. The possibility of renting different-sized spaces for varying lease terms is something that might convince them to choose your facility over another. If you have a variety of storage plans from which customers can choose, you will likely hit a bigger market than if all your spaces and prices are the same.

You are always looking for ways to improve your facility and increase business. Why not ask your customers what they would like? Some of these options were identified by people just like those who rent from you. However, your customers may have different ideas specific to their demographics and the area in which you are located. You just might get some great ideas -- and gain some new customers!

Click here for more info on storage unit options that could be beneficial to renters.