Whenever real estate investor considers various investment opportunities in the self-storage industry, they ignore minute details. Being a storage facility owner means being hands-on when running its day-to-day operations and managing the location physically.
A self-storage facility is a unique asset in the real estate industry that homeowners and businesses rent and pay for monthly. That said, as old tenants, you will have to find new customers constantly to keep your business going. The ebb and flow of customers require offering various deals and promotions, frequent price adjustments, and practical and efficient marketing efforts to ensure you maximize your revenue.
So, if you’re already a storage facility owner/manager, or you’re eying investment opportunities in the self-storage sector and want to learn the ins and outs of self-storage facility management, you have come to the right place. In the end, managing a self-storage facility is just like running any other B2C company. It will include everyday responsibilities like leasing, bookkeeping, employee management, utility bill payments, and much more.
With that in mind, let us look at a few factors every self-storage facility owner and manager must know.
Focus on utilization technology
In the past, most self-storage facility managers and owners monitored every business transaction through the old pen and paper technique. However, in today’s fast-paced business environment, it is now time to stop relying on manual data recording methods and utilize technology to your advantage.
Therefore, incorporating smart self-storage technology into the mix using facility management software and programs is an excellent idea. Typically, self-storage and facility management software provides access control, online rent collection, inventory control, and overall facility management features. As a result, you’ll improve customer experience, boost operational efficiencies, and, most importantly, increase revenue.
Decide on a management style
If it’s your first foray into the self-storage industry, chances are you will ask yourself how you plan on managing your storage facility. After all, you must not forget that your storage facility is not just a tiny piece of real estate. Instead, it is business that requires technology and employees to operate smoothly.
Usually, self-storage facility management comes down to three things;
Hiring a third party to manage your facility
through this approach, you will turn your storage facility operations over to a third-party self-storage operator. Sure, you’ll be giving a bulk of your revenue to the third-party manager, but you will rid yourself of the stressful day-to-day business operations. Moreover, you won’t have to find a facility manager yourself as the third-party operator will assign one for you.
Remotely managing your self-storage facility
technological advancements have made this management approach more appealing than it was a couple of years ago. That said, you’ll have to set up self-service kiosks that allow your customers to rent storage units online, pay their rent, and access their units electronically. Incorporating technology requires a hefty amount of money, but you will probably offset your budget by eliminating the need to hire on-site employees at all.
Remain on-site and manage day-to-day operations
such a management style requires being hands-on and being physically present at the storage facility.It would be best to manage your storage facility on a day-to-day basis instead of micromanaging specific employees.
Focus on improving customer service
No matter your management style, customer service is one aspect that requires the most attention. When you provide excellent customer service, you will earn better revenues, keep your existing customers happy and attract new ones in the process.
On the other hand, poor customer service will lead to decreased occupancy. In the end, customers have tons of self-storage options available within a few miles of their location. So, if you provide them with excellent customer service, they will never think about going to your competition just for the sake of getting better rental rates.
That said, consider training your self-storage facility manager on handling customers and offering the best customer service possible. They will play a massive role in attracting new renters, keeping existing ones satisfied, and in turn, increasing revenue.
Don’t forget to listen to customer feedback
Many business owners and managers know that asking for customer feedback improves their products and services. After all, no one experiences your products and services better than the consumer. Hence, their suggestions and opinions are of immense value. Asking them about what they like and dislike and the areas you should improve upon is a surefire way to improve sales and revenue.
So, whether online, through the telephone, or in person, your customers will let your facility manager know whether you’re doing everything according to their liking or not. Therefore, utilize this feedback as a learning experience and double down on the storage facility features and the accompanying services your customers like about your business.
Market your self-storage business
While this might sound like a no-brainer, but there is no doubt that you should market your storage facility. After all, it is like any other business out there and requires customers and revenue to pay for day-to-day operations. Moreover, consumers everywhere will open their internet browsers and search for self-storage facilities online. Hence, bumping up your digital marketing efforts is a must.
That said, your digital marketing efforts must include maintaining an online presence through a well-designed website along with some online promotions, such as listing your storage facility on self-storage marketplaces. Furthermore, traditional marketing techniques will help you attract customers as well. These include creating a referral program for existing customers, utilization signage, holding on-site events, distributing flyers and brochures, and much more.
That said, it is your job as a self-storage facility manager or owner to follow up with the leads your marketing efforts generate. In the end, marketing your self-storage facility will be a worthwhile investment of your time and money.
You might be thinking of venturing into the self-storage world by repurposing a vacant facility, building a space from the ground up, or buying an already-running storage facility. However, before taking such a significant step, you should consider the factors mentioned above if you want to effectively manage your storage facility and taste success in the self-storage world.