As we head into a new year, it’s always important to reflect on last year & see what worked well for your self storage facility, find out what could have been done better – and try a few new things for the year ahead. Let’s kick off with five easy ways to grow your self storage customer base & save you some valuable time using Storman.
1. Switch to Electronic Storage Agreements
Most self storage associations publish electronic versions of their legal agreements, so why not set these up in Storman?
- From 2016, the SSAA (Self Storage Association of Australasia) will review their legal agreements on an annual basis. By switching to electronic agreements, you’ll no longer need to throw away un-used printed agreement pads when this occurs.
- You can access your completed electronic agreements from anywhere – not just when you’re near the filing cabinet.
- Agreements, and the data contained within, are far more secure in an encrypted database than in a filing cabinet.
- Human errors are greatly reduced, as agreements are electronically generated & printed (no more struggling to read a storers handwriting).
- With Storman Move-Ins & Storman Reservations, storers can move in or reserve units online – which will automatically create an electronic self storage legal agreement for you (find out more or continue reading on to #4 below).
Storman users in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom will be pleased to know that their local self storage associations (namely, the SSAA and SSAUK respectively) have these electronic agreements. Existing Storman users can find out how to set these up via our Support Knowledgebase.
2. Use SMS to Engage Storers
With over 90% of people reading a text message within the first three minutes of receiving it*, SMS is an excellent tool for engaging with your customers. While SMS is an obvious choice for ensuring your payment reminders & overdue notices don’t get ignored by storers, you can also use it to confirm reservations, welcome storers, send branded how-to videos a week before move-in and remind storers when payment is due.
Best of all, SMS is tightly integrated with Storman – so your messages can be scheduled and automated to trigger during Daily Processing. You can read more about SMS for self storage here, or sign-up for free.
3. Obtain Storer Feedback Easily
Asking storers for their honest feedback does two things;
- Helps you find problems with your business or its processes and work towards improving them
- If you’ve done well, it validates your hard work and gives you access to a base of promoters from which to get some fantastic testimonials & referrals
I recently wrote about setting up storer surveys in Storman (refer to the heading “Stages 3 & 4: Ongoing & Move Out” in this post). If you’re interested in understanding more about promoters and detractors, I’ve got you covered there, too.
4. Ensure Your Website Works for You 24/7
The office at your storage facility likely opens sometime after 8am, and closes sometime around 4pm – but potential storers will generally research ways to fix their storage problem either on their commute to/from work, after dinner or on the weekend. In fact, looking at Google Trends search data for the last few months, the majority of searches for self storage are performed outside of business hours.
How much business are you losing if your website can’t help a potential storer with their query about pricing or their desire to reserve a unit online outside of your office hours. Adding this to your website is easy and allows your self storage facility to generate business & earn back marketing spend – even when there’s no one in the office.
5. Take Control of Your Payment Collections With Storman
Obtaining rental payments every week and month can take up a lot of valuable time and by choosing to use automatic payments, Storman can free your time up to focus on chasing delinquent payments.
With automated payments, Storman will;
- Collect rental payments automatically from a storers Credit Card or Bank Account and reconcile these payments to the storers agreement automatically. Rent increases are also automatically taken into account.
- Your storers can also make a credit card payment via your web site or from their bank account using BPAY. Both are automatically reconciled within Storman.
- No separate bank account is required and it only takes one form to get signed up, it’s PCI compliant and you can optionally choose to pass on some or all of your payment processing costs on to the storer e.g. Amex costs.
Bonus: How to Find out What Worked Best Last Year
Part of planning the year ahead involves analysing what worked well in years gone by. If you’re tracking marketing data in Storman, it’s as easy as going to the Reports menu, selecting the Marketing option, and then running the Customer Analysis report. This’ll tell you how people are finding your self storage facility, why they using your business, why they’re leaving, what postcodes they’re in and what type of business they’re in.
All of these statistics can be used to refine your marketing spend and target the right people for self storage; be it through Facebook / Google Ads, a letterbox drop – or by getting in touch with other relevant businesses (removalists, real estate agents, etc) in that area.