How To Keep Self Storage Tenants Happy & Still Profit

Last Updated on March 11, 2024

By Nick Bilava,

Chances are, one reason why you’re in business is to make a profit. Stating the obvious here does have a point. Profit in the self storage industry, like all business, requires customers. And to obtain the profit you’re after, it’s on you to keep those customers happy. And their happiness leads to higher profits.

How to obtain profits will vary from operator to operator. And each local market will have its own qualities that may drive your operating and marketing style. One leading idea of thought is that to stay profitable, operators must be continually pushing their rates. This goes hand-in-hand with the idea that less than 100% occupancy is not only a good thing, it’s desirable. Customer churn due to raised rates invites a more profitable customer.

The more profitable customer is one that can pay your raised rate, pay it consistently, and be immune to future rate increases. These types of customers typically have a higher income than those who left. And with that, they are going to have higher standards about what keeps them happy.

Up Your Customer Service Game

If you’re going to raise customers’ rates, you’ve got boost the performance of those serving them. Taking stock of your customer service is always a good thing to do, but it becomes a must when you’re raising rates. A higher-dollar demographic is also going to demand a higher level of customer service. Even if you’re not planning to push rates, becoming known for top-notch customer service will pay off. If possible, look into mystery shopping services or use a toll-free phone service that can record calls. Interesting things could come to light and you might notice where your staff needs work – or even recognize a great example of customer service for other employees to model. You may also find that you might need to educate staff on offerings, rates, or simply better customer service principles.

Bring on the Amenities

Closely related to customer service, enhancing your facility with extra amenities will make customers value your operation even more. Examples of these can be added services, such as paper shredding, moving vans, or valet services. Plus, adding the little extra touches that show you care about your customer will go a long way. Free Wi-Fi, complimentary snacks and refreshments, autopay, mobile pay, and/or online payment capability will work to endear your operation to your customers. If your operation is in the right area of affluence, specialty services like wine storage could be developed.

Increase Capacity

If your occupancy rate is nearing 100%, it may be time to think about increasing capacity. As the adage goes, the most likely candidate for more rentals are your current customers. You might think, “I can’t just add another thousand square feet.” That may be true. However, the solution to increasing capacity quickly is the installation of portable storage bays. Portable storage bays often don’t need zoning permits (check with your local authority before installing), can be classified as equipment (and be depreciated as such), and can be delivered fully constructed. Most portable bays are built to drain moisture properly and can be easily placed in unused spaces on your property. Even better, they can be installed in sloping or uneven areas with proper leveling.

Boost Curb Appeal

Sprucing up your property with tasteful, attractive landscape will also help your facility stand out and work to differentiate your operation. When the average person thinks of a storage facility, they think “drab” and “colorless,” so curb appeal has power. Boulders, flowers, and assorted decorative greenery (along with a manicured lawn) will definitely get noticed, both by your neighbors and the drive-by traffic. And the clientele that’s relatively immune to rate pushes will also notice. When the outside of your facility falls in line with the aesthetic of a favorable target market, you instantly grow closer to them. When they notice, they’ll more than likely think of your operation first when they think about storage.

Keeping the customer satisfied, whether through increase levels of customer service, additional amenities and services, or enhanced curb appeal, you’ll see your profits increase. Your goal should be to always increase levels of customer satisfaction and these some of the ways of achieving it.