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Self-Storage Units

Getting your Facility Rental Season Ready

- StoragePRO Management

As the days become longer and the cold winter weather is replaced with warmer temperatures, it is an ideal time for self-storage owners to prepare their facility to be rental season-ready.    


Factors Impacting Rental Season

In late spring and throughout the summer months, the demand for self-storage consistently increases.  Driving factors for the increase are relocation, home renovations, change in relationship status, end of the college academic year, and simply running out of space. Understanding each of these factors can allow storage owners to plan more effectively for rental season.


Individuals and families who are planning to relocate will begin the “spring cleaning” process in preparation for their move.  This includes decluttering their home to prepare it for listing and pre-packing items to ensure an easier move.  Often residential agents will recommend homeowners remove excess items to maximize their ability to photograph, market, and show the property. In addition to hopefully a quicker sale, removing excess items assists homeowners by pre-packing possessions that won’t be needed again until after the move.  In either case, storing items before relocation has a significant impact on rental seasons nationwide. This is why storage owners consistently report receiving more calls, internet inquiries, and rentals during the late spring and summer months. 


According to Angie’s List, summer is the most popular time of year for home remodels.  For larger projects, homeowners will look to self-storage facilities to secure their items during the renovation phase.  Depending on the size of the renovation, homeowners could be storing their possessions for anywhere from 4 to 6 months for room-specific renovations or 9 to 12 months for whole-house renovations.


Doyle Law Group reports that divorce rates peak in March and August.  This is due to a variety of factors, but changes in relationship status often result in a change in housing status.  Many divorces create the need to move or sell a home, leaving parties to divorce searching for alternative accommodations for their possessions.  Self-storage can provide a secure space to hold their items during a difficult transitional phase. 


When the academic school year for colleges and universities comes to an end, storage facilities can see an increase in rentals. Although this accounts for a smaller portion of rentals and is geographically dictated, students who attend a college or university further from home choose self-storage as a cost-effective solution for their items during summer break.  Depending on the distance between school and home, self-storage has proven to be a time-saving and economical solution for parents and students. 


There is just no more room. Whether storing business inventory, personal items, or equipment/vehicles, individuals and organizations are looking to self-storage for additional space.  According to the Commerce Institute, on average there are 4.7 million businesses started each year.  For business owners trying to avoid cluttering their homes, needing to store surplus items, and/or searching for a cheaper alternative to retail space, self-storage can save the day and save money when compared to retail space.  Current reports show household size and the desire to acquire more “stuff” are increasing. Together this has created a need for self-storage to hold items that are unable to fit in the primary residence. The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) found that RV ownership has increased by more than 62% over the last 20 years.  Many boat, RV, and vehicle owners feel storage provides a secure way to protect their investment.   


Market Considerations

According to Matthews Real Estate Investment Services, the most in-demand cities for self-storage are New York, NY, Houston, TX, San Antonio, TX, Miami, FL, and Phoenix, AZ, and the US Census Bureau notes Texas, California, Indiana, Arizona, & Florida as states that have cities on the top 10 list for fastest growing.  Research by StorageCafe, predicts the self-storage industry to grow by over 54 million additional square feet in 2024. 


Although positive news for storage owners, understanding the dynamics specific to your market is a better approach to track and respond to changes in demand. Begin by looking at your location.  Is the market urban, suburban, or rural?  Is your facility near a military base or college/university?  Are new people or businesses moving to your market, thereby causing it to grow? Each of these factors can impact your rental season and why understanding your specific market is important. 


Further, consider your market conditions, what is the availability of land in your area? Is your market over or under-built in terms of self-storage? What barriers to entry exist for developers looking to build new self-storage? If your facility is in a growing market with high barriers to entry, you will be able to capture more customers and charge them a higher rate. 


Data Considerations

Consumer data allows storage owners to develop a customer profile which can be extremely beneficial in preparing for the rental season. 


Consider what you know about your customers and what you would like to know. Are you currently collecting data on your customers? If yes, use this data to structure a more complete picture of who you are preparing for when rental season starts. Consider providing customers with entry and exit surveys.  They are one of the best ways to identify patterns that can be used to improve operations and gather data.  The surveys do not need to be complex, with just a few simple questions you can gather valuable data.  Typical survey questions inquire about the customer’s demographics, length of rental, reason for rental, preferred methods of contact and/or payment, and other storage needs.  Determine what information is important to you, and create your survey based on this. 


Require your store manager(s) to monitor data on customer trends.  Which days of the week or times of the day are customers contacting the facility? How are customers contacting the facility? Phone calls, internet searches, and/or foot traffic are all great data points that can drive the decision-making process.  Have managers track what questions future customers are asking.  Cost, amenities, requirements, payment options, etc. can all be compiled by your store manager to create valuable insights. If you determine most of your customer traffic comes from internet searches, you can make a better decision when deciding on staffing. 


Data points allow storage owners to be prepared for the rental season because owners can adjust advertising, staffing, pricing, and budgeting allowing the facility to run more efficiently.  


Operational Considerations  

Before the start of the rental season, it is a good time for owners to evaluate their operational needs.  When considering staffing, the goal is to ensure you have sufficient coverage for the expected rental season without sacrificing quality. Hiring part-time or seasonal employees may offer a solution, especially if your location has a considerable amount of foot traffic.  If your facility tends to source more customers online, consider utilizing technology to manage them. Meeting the people where they are allows owners to capture more new customers. If surges in the sales cycle have become a hassle, spend some time researching management companies to alleviate the issues associated with the rental season. Third-party managers can be a great solution for owners to retain their assets yet want to defer the responsibilities of cyclical increases in the sales cycle. 


Always consider the customer experience.  If you plan to hire new employees, make sure they are fully trained before they begin working with customers. Investing in training can avoid a loss of revenue in the long run.  Clearly state your expectations and goals and the metrics you will use to evaluate them.  When employing new technology, do a test run as a customer to determine how easy (or frustrating) the technology is to use. Ask the company providing the technology what data they will be tracking and reporting to you.  If you determine third-party management could be a good option, research companies that specialize in self-storage and compare what they offer.  Consider their projected returns, client testimonials, and interest in your facility. If you are not interested in selling, be sure to find a company that plans to manage, not purchase, your property. 


Additional Considerations 

Check Your Curb Appeal

Although you can’t change your location, you can take steps to make sure your facility presents well to current and future customers.  Work on your facility’s curb appeal, remember first impressions are made in the parking lot. Make sure your location is clean and safe by investing in landscaping and lighting.  Identify any additional safety hazards, such as potholes and/or large cracks. Assess your front office and make sure it is organized and presenting opportunities for increased sales.  Clean, organize, and improve your front office so it is welcoming to customers.  Perform a walkthrough of your facility, perhaps it could use a fresh coat of paint, new signage, or has needed repairs/improvements.  Even if it is necessary to hire contractors to perform these tasks, the investment is money well spent.   



Don’t neglect marketing strategies. Check your Google listing and website and update any outdated information. Spending time on your listing will allow customers to find your facility and communicate with your staff more effectively.  Consider starting or continuing a social media campaign. If you do not have a website, create a business Facebook page so local residents can learn more about your facility.  Look to partner with local businesses and establish mutually beneficial relationships. Real estate agents, moving companies, construction companies, boat/RV dealerships, interior decorators, home improvement retailers, furniture stores, and/or colleges and universities could all prove to be strong business allies.    



Getting rental season ready can be achieved by first looking at what impacts your local market and then identifying your driving factors for demand. Review what you know or need to know about your customers.  Be prepared to balance the increase in rentals with additional staffing, new technology, or working with a third-party manager so the customer experience is not sacrificed.  Put your facility’s best foot forward this rental season and become rental season-ready!


Total Property Performance™

StoragePRO Management’s Total Property Performance™ employs numerous business strategies to achieve “Right-Away Results™”.  On average, StoragePRO clients typically see a 17% increase in net operating income in their first year, and 14% each successive year, increasing the property’s value and available cash flow. By joining the StoragePRO family, you have instant access to the tools, systems, and technologies needed to allow your business to thrive. Visit our website to learn more about our company and services.

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