10 Mistakes Self Storage Operators Should Avoid
Poorly considered construction decisions may create a longer lasting impact than operational errors for self-storage owners, but both can derail the success that every business needs to thrive. Usually more costly and slower to respond to correction, faulty self storage construction practices can create a setback that never goes away. The correction of operational errors may allow an easy solution for owners who can admit mistakes and implement changes without delay. Quite often, issues involve operational as well as construction aspects, combining to create a need to address them with deliberate speed.
1. Failing to Choose the Right Location
No amount of innovative design, quality self storage construction, well-paved parking spaces or an accessible office can compensate for a self-storage facility in an area that does not need it. A lower price on an out of the way parcel may seem attractive, but its costs accelerate as owners find the hidden expenses that it hides until later. Almost everyone has seen shops and restaurants that fail in the same location, and a likely cause is that not enough people know they are there. A self-storage facility needs visibility on a thoroughfare that potential customers use regularly. Payback for a visible location that may cost more than others lets owners spend less on advertising.
2. Neglecting Climate Control
A decision to avoid the expense of climate control may depend on the demographics of the neighborhood. Potential customers who have precious possessions may consider it a necessity and have no objection to paying a premium to protect them. The consistent temperature that it provides all year round offers the best environment for the items that frequently occupy storage space. Many areas of the country experience temperatures that may reach 100 degrees F in the summer and drop to below freezing in the cold months, posing potential damage to possessions that cannot tolerate extreme changes. Self storage construction that provides a stable environment for wood antiques, musical instruments, fine art, electronics, business records and upholstered furniture can appeal to a customer base that appreciates the safekeeping that it provides.
3. Ignoring Curb Appeal
A fence indicates security to observers, but it can do so only when a well-kept appearance makes it meaningful to potential customers. It provides a sense of assurance that a trip to the facility is equally safe at midday or midnight. A comprehensive lighting design enhances the security and appearance of a building and complements the impression that the fence makes. The presence of lighting puts a burden on owners to maintain the poles in immaculate condition and to make sure that the bulbs work. Anything less draws attention that brings other issues into question regarding maintenance and security.
4. Forgetting Landscape Design
As an enhancement to a self-storage property, a well-tended landscape can make a significant difference to potential customers. Self storage construction must include an automatic sprinkling system that keeps the plants in excellent condition and respects local laws that restrict watering. A system that prevents activity during rainy days can make a positive impression on clients.
5. Failing to Feature an Office and Restrooms
The initial expense of building a new facility can lead owners to seek ways to curtail costs. The elimination of an attractive office in an accessible location outside any fencing can deter traffic and produce a slow rate of occupancy. An office that allows convenient access may encourage an interested customer to stop by without making an appointment, a situation that owners must welcome. With a supply of packing materials, boxes and tarps, an office can serve as a profit center while offering conveniences that customers appreciate. Some flyers that provide the names of shops that install trailer hitches may save some newcomers the inconvenience of searching for one.
6. Ignoring the Need to Build Restrooms
Instead of regarding the expense of building bathrooms as a budget breaker, owners can benefit by welcoming it as a valid form of advertising. Construction of the office space needs to include restrooms that comply with ADA requirements as the entire property must do as well. Clean and attractive bathrooms make a good impression on potential clients who may view them as representative of the whole facility. They place an obligation on the owner to maintain them meticulously with soap and towels or air dry equipment, functioning toilets, an aromatic environment and periodic inspection.
7. Deferring Roof Maintenance
A preventive maintenance program can save money in the long run by detecting problems early rather than late. A leaky roof can create damage to the facility and the possessions that customers entrust to the self-storage owners. The complications that may result from negligence can have a lasting effect on the reputation of a facility.
8. Showing No Concern for Customer Convenience
Customers need doors that operate smoothly and close securely, and the mechanisms need a regular inspection to detect faulty adjustments. As the only moving part in a rental space, a door that does not work correctly can generate complaints that may require an expensive on-site repair. The security of doors represents the central concept of self storage construction. When owners fail to provide it for customers, it may erode the foundation of trust that exists between them and the owner. When doors need replacement, owners must take special care to protect a unit’s contents from dust and debris.
9. Undervaluing Parking Lot Conveniences
An experienced site development contractor can create a parking lot that provides convenient access instead of frustration from obstacles that block the way. The driveway turn radius must provide adequate space for moving vans as well as cars and pickup trucks. Wide aisles offer the same kind of appeal as those in grocery stores as they allow two-way traffic without contact. A 24-foot passageway may meet minimum standards, but owners may choose to consider the appeal that a slightly wider space may offer to customers. Upkeep of the asphalt pavement prevents disintegration that can lead to an unsafe walking surface. Potholes can generate dissatisfaction that leads otherwise satisfied customers to use another facility.
10. Disregarding Technology
An ability to accept customer feedback as helpful input instead of criticism lets owners improve the skills that may increase occupancy rates, and owners can invite it online. Customer service improves when owners listen to what clients want, and an online review may seem easier to accept than one that may involve a confrontation. An online membership in industry trade organizations can keep owners aware of significant trends, and trade shows offer a chance to learn from the competition. The internet changed the way that owners advertise and moved it away from a heavy emphasis on print and yellow page listings. It provides access to blogs that contain the information that potential customers may find more influential than paid advertisements. Savvy owners may use technology to disseminate information, obtain customer feedback, offer a fee for referrals and stay on the cutting edge of a competitive market.