The self-storage industry has boomed in the last few decades. In 2009, the United States had about 46,000 storage facilities out of 58,000 units across the world. The number keeps increasing as more and more people opt to store their personal belongings or business products in rented spaces instead of stacking them in the basement, attic, or garage.
There are four primary reasons why storage spaces have become widely popular — dislocation, downsizing, divorce, and death. All these require space to store essential and memorable possessions.
If you have a place to build a storage facility or the chance to own a building, this can be a lucrative business for you. Whether you are a new entrepreneur or already in this business, you need customers to sustain your venture. And if you want to be successful, you need to constantly attract customers and keep existing tenants.
Here are some factors you need to consider:
The basic requirement is a facility which offers units that can cater to all kinds of storing needs. The units should have a variety of sizes to accommodate small to bulk amount of items.
Storage units must be well-kept. The walls should be painted regularly, gutters kept unclogged, and roofs made leak-proof. Customers want their valuable possessions safe and secured at all times.
Make sure to install the latest security system in every unit. This includes individual door alarms and closed-circuit television (CCTV).
For expensive and priceless possessions such as paintings, furniture, electronic equipment, and musical instruments, customers would definitely want to rent climate-controlled units.
If you want to be at par or surpass your competitors in the self-storage industry, offer add-on features that can lure customers to choose your company. A one-stop self-storage facility is a great idea.
Here are some of the possible amenities and services you can offer:
People who are new in the area and living in apartments without a garage can have the option to rent parking space in your storing facility. It is less costly instead of renting a private garage. You can offer a daily, weekly, or monthly parking service to your customers. If you have a huge building, you can even offer space for yachts, boats and RVs. It will be more convenient to rent out self-storage units and parking space in one location.
This is for business owners who need to access their goods for inventory and delivery purposes. It is crucial for home-based entrepreneurs and business companies who have availed of self-storage units to have constant access to their products as part of their daily operations.
You can offer free WiFi service, install business centers, or provide delivery acceptance.
Online and Auto-Bill Payments
This is beneficial for customers who are stationed or need to relocate overseas. You can offer flexible lease arrangements such as monthly rental services and pre-payment discounts. If they opt for monthly payment, having an online and auto-bill payment system in place is ideal.
Moving Services & Packing Supplies
Truck rentals can benefit those who don’t have car to transfer their personal possessions to their rented self-storage unit. It is especially advantageous for students who are moving out of their dorms temporarily. With transport and packing supplies available, they can get a hassle-free transfer of their belongings. Likewise, offering student discounts is very much appreciated — you’ll up your chances that they’ll choose you over other self-storage facilities.
Whether you are new to the self-storage industry or you want to market your business to a wider range of clients, it is vital to stand out among the rest. Here are some of marketing strategies you can apply to make your self-storage business a success:
Create and establish your brand.
Every business needs an image, a brand, and/or an identity that sets it apart from the rest. Your brand becomes more established when you are able to provide not just the ideal leasing units but also by providing high-quality and exemplary service. You can do this by analyzing which service or feature is your unique selling point or USP. For example, you might be the only self-storage facility in the area to offer parking spaces or delivery services as add-ons. Capitalize on that so you can differentiate your business from your competitors.
Know your market.
Identify your target customers. You want to attract the right tenants. Of course, you like customers who can afford your rates but it’s also good to attract people who are amiable and follow your leasing rules. You want happy, satisfied customers to spread your excellent services to their friends and relatives.
Advertise your business.
You can use various advertising methods to promote your business — print, radio, TV, or the yellow. You can choose to have well-crafted messages sent through direct mail or email.
Create your company website.
Making your presence felt virtually is crucial. People are constantly searching for solutions and answers to all their needs, including self-storage facilities. Potential customers search the Web and make choices based on the services, rates, and customers reviews that they read on the Internet. Ensure that you have all the information you want people to know about your self-storage business, especially your contact details. Responding promptly to their queries won’t hurt either.
This conventional method of promoting your business is still one of the most effective in terms of attracting prospective customers. Hand out flyers that show your business logo, information of your services, unit sizes, phone numbers, address, and contact person. Include a detailed map to help them locate your place.
Offer referral incentives.
Create a pool of “marketers” who will refer your self-storage facility to potential tenants. Giving them a percentage for every unit rented by the customer they bring is an ideal incentive.
Give out special discounts.
People will always love discounts. Attract prospective customers by offering special discounts to new customers or loyalty rewards for regular customers.
Harness the power social media.
Aside from your own company website, reach out to potential clients through Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+. Update your social media accounts with posts containing positive reviews of your customers or articles that talk about the benefits of renting self-storage units. You can use your social media accounts to interact with your current and future clientele as well.
Check back and follow up on existing and prospective customers.
Ensure that you have regular communication with your past and regular tenants. Send customized holiday cards as a subtle strategy to remind them of your services.
The self-storage industry is fast becoming a saturated and competitive one, given the booming population and the rising premiums on space. Be one step ahead of your competitors and learn to attract more prospective customers by using the above mentioned strategies.