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Self-Storage Occupancy Key to Finding More Business

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By : Scott Meyers    99 or more times read
The self-storage industry might be a victim of its own success. There is a supply versus demand discrepancy that at one time wasn't a problem, and new facilities were sprouting everywhere. Today's economy, however, has made it more difficult for the industry to support virtually anymore expansion. Indeed, the focus now is to hang onto the present clientele during a time when self-storage businesses need to try any idea that might improve sales.

Occupancy is the issue. It's also a built-in force to help with cultivating new customers. Ask your past and present tenants for referrals. Don't be bashful about asking, particularly as your request should contain some kind of discount or cash reward offer for the customer's help. Referrals are a proven method for drawing in new business. Don't expect a bonanza, but it is entirely possible that a self-storage owner could realize upwards of a five percent increase over a year's time.

Get started now! Every day not spent encouraging customers to bring in referrals, is a day not working for extra revenue. Print coupons with a monetary value and pass them around to your customers, both past and present. The coupons should also go to folks like apartment managers and real estate agents - people who are great sources for potential customer leads. The beauty of coupons is that they don't substantially impact the bottom line - printing fees aren't much - until they are used as reward for bringing in new business. That's a financial trade-off any business would be glad to achieve. Also, there shouldn't be any doubt that your storage facility is willing and able to work with anyone who needs help in deciding what storage services they need, and how much it will cost.

Don't forget that self-storage customers need an owner's attention. Getting a signature on a contract means the customer promises to pay as agreed, while the storage facility pledges to make sure that services advertised will become reality. Self-storage tenants can change situations at the drop of a hat. If a tenant says his finances won't let him keep a storage unit, it's up to the owner to work with him and avoid losing a customer. Owners have to be alert to what tenants might decide they need to change from their original contract's stipulations. Customers on that kind of cusp are in danger of becoming somebody else's tenant. Not every customer will respond to the owner's efforts, but if a good-will attempt to solve a problem isn't forthcoming, then it's just a matter of time before that tenant takes his business elsewhere.

Achieving revenue pluses in today's economy puts any business at a competitive advantage. For self-storage, that means keeping tenants signed up, and using them to help expand the status quo. Additional occupancy means more revenue, and it really isn't much of an expense to go after even more tenants.

Scott Meyers, CSSM is the owner and President of Alcatraz Storage® which operates several Self Storage Facilities in the Midwest. Scott is a Certified Self Storage Manager (CSSM©) through the National Self Storage Association and has been a real estate investor since 1993. He was an instructor of the Landlord 101 course through the University of Indianapolis and now Scott Speaks to Investor groups nationwide and has students around the world, but mostly enjoys spending time at home with his wife and 3 young children in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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