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  • Online Reservations and Revenue

    Do online reservations result in more rentals? What is your experience: Thanks

  • #2
    Hi Storage-Gal, our customers have definitely had positive experiences with online reservations. It's a good way to allow possible tenants to view your availability online and begin the rental process. This minimizes the time required per move-in and also gives management the opportunity to look out for any "red flags" and potential problems with your prospective tenant.

    You can also set a specified number of units to be withheld from reservations to ensure that you always have availability for walk-in customers. A good practice (in my opinion) is to set a reservation deposit so just in case the customer decides to go to your competition after reserving a unit with you, you still are increasing your profits with zero effort

    Some providers offer reservations free with their web-based software so I would recommend reaching out to yours and trying it out. Definitely won't hurt!
    Kevin Kerr
    Self Storage Software by Storage Commander
    Kevin@storagecommander.com
    Direct - 951.867.4732

    Comment


    • #3
      I, on the other hand, don't really care for online reservations. It does help with the move in process time involved but is hard to see and red flags without either talking to the prospective tenant or meeting them in person. I had a prospective tenant walk in my office last week that had pulled up in my parking lanes. He got out and came in and a girl opened the passenger door before he got to my front door. Two, count 'em, two beer cans came falling out of the open door and hit the ground. She grabbed one but the other rolled under the car. He came in and asked about vacancies. I looked him right in his eyes and told him I was full. I was full, even if I had 20 vacancies. I can't see that with an online rental. I do like the non-refundable deposit that Kevin talked about though. I am full most of the time so I guess the online rental can really help if you have vacancies.
      "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by pacnwstorage View Post
        I, on the other hand, don't really care for online reservations. It does help with the move in process time involved but is hard to see and red flags without either talking to the prospective tenant or meeting them in person. I had a prospective tenant walk in my office last week that had pulled up in my parking lanes. He got out and came in and a girl opened the passenger door before he got to my front door. Two, count 'em, two beer cans came falling out of the open door and hit the ground. She grabbed one but the other rolled under the car. He came in and asked about vacancies. I looked him right in his eyes and told him I was full. I was full, even if I had 20 vacancies. I can't see that with an online rental. I do like the non-refundable deposit that Kevin talked about though. I am full most of the time so I guess the online rental can really help if you have vacancies.
        Hi pac,

        That's exactly why some people prefer the reservations over the rentals. Although you do show available inventory online there is no rental agreement electronically signed with a reservation. All that is done when they come in and at that point you can make your decision to rent or not.

        In the situation you beautifully painted for us, I believe a refund for the deposit would be in order and send them on their merry way (maybe after calling the authorities, I loathe drunk drivers).

        So reservations can typically be seen as a middle ground for online rentals just for that reason.
        Kevin Kerr
        Self Storage Software by Storage Commander
        Kevin@storagecommander.com
        Direct - 951.867.4732

        Comment


        • #5
          We can't do it here. The amount of homeless that would take advantage would be astronomical. I have to evict a homeless couple right now because they refuse to obey the rules. I bought their sob story and decided they needed a second chance, and now I'm paying for it.
          An apple a day keeps ANYONE away if you throw it hard enough.

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          • #6
            We recently switched to a $25 "reservation fee" because we had way too many people reserve then no show. When we only have 1 or 2 units open at a time, it got really old and frustrating. So far, we have had great success with charging the $25 fee (non-refundable, but applied towards first rent payment). And we ask those that reserve ad they say it worked pretty well knowing they actually paid to have a unit assigned to them. We then give them 30 days to move-in and fill out the paperwork in person so we know who we are renting to. If they no-show, unit goes back up fro rent, they lose $25.

            We debated for a few days on what to charge, and figured $5 or $10 wasn't enough incentive for us, and we could lose our butts if they didn't show. At least $25 is something, and usually enough to prevent people from reserving when they aren't sure if they need it or not.

            In 6 months, haven't been burned once, and get 1-2 per week that reserve online.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kevin SC View Post

              Hi pac,

              That's exactly why some people prefer the reservations over the rentals. Although you do show available inventory online there is no rental agreement electronically signed with a reservation. All that is done when they come in and at that point you can make your decision to rent or not.

              In the situation you beautifully painted for us, I believe a refund for the deposit would be in order and send them on their merry way (maybe after calling the authorities, I loathe drunk drivers).

              So reservations can typically be seen as a middle ground for online rentals just for that reason.
              Kevin, I get it but we don't do a reserve unit here. If I make a unit available at the web site they have to rent it and pay. I get calls here from people that want me to hold a unit or reserve a unit for a later date. I just tell them we don't do that. They ask why. I just say we are typically full and after holding units for people that didn't show, we stopped doing it. They will call me in the morning and say ok I will be there this afternoon to rent it. I tell them to call first to see if I still have the unit before wasting a trip here. I am spoiled. I am full right now and usually am full. I also have a waiting list with 20+ names on it. When I call them I ask when they will be here to rent and I hold them to that time or I walk them thru renting at the web site after I make the unit available.
              "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

              Comment


              • #8
                We have looked into reservations before and here is my thought on this. If it is affordable we will begin to do it. We would state that a reservation only constitutes a hold for 24 hours and is contingent upon the customer coming to the facility and talking with us in person or calling over the phone. We are leaning towards offering this on our website now, but we are still weary. We don't live in the greatest of areas and like to filter our potential problems out during the inquiry and appointment phase. I have heard so many stories to support both sides of this and if we decide to go with it I will let you know. I

                Comment


                • #9
                  It really does boil down to personal preference and how you go about implementation.
                  I 100% agree with letsgosonics that a $25.00 non-refundable that goes towards 1st months rent is completely fair and also benefits you in case of no shows or the flood of people who "want a 5x5" but then change their mind when they see the size.
                  Kevin Kerr
                  Self Storage Software by Storage Commander
                  Kevin@storagecommander.com
                  Direct - 951.867.4732

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It's definitely personal preference. I like the online reservation system because it cuts of the shopping at other facilities. In kind I wouldn't ever do a online rental. It makes sense when you have PACs "problem". If your full, why would you do it online. Get the highest price you can from the next person to walk in. If someone walks in after reservation and we don't like them kindly explain that somehow the unit was rented and give them back their money. Good Luck!
                    Chasing Perfection to catch Excellence

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by letsgosonics View Post
                      We recently switched to a $25 "reservation fee" because we had way too many people reserve then no show. When we only have 1 or 2 units open at a time, it got really old and frustrating. So far, we have had great success with charging the $25 fee (non-refundable, but applied towards first rent payment). And we ask those that reserve ad they say it worked pretty well knowing they actually paid to have a unit assigned to them. We then give them 30 days to move-in and fill out the paperwork in person so we know who we are renting to. If they no-show, unit goes back up fro rent, they lose $25.

                      We debated for a few days on what to charge, and figured $5 or $10 wasn't enough incentive for us, and we could lose our butts if they didn't show. At least $25 is something, and usually enough to prevent people from reserving when they aren't sure if they need it or not.

                      In 6 months, haven't been burned once, and get 1-2 per week that reserve online.
                      They pay the $25. and you allow them 30 days to complete the process?
                      Seems like too many days to me.
                      They can then hold up your biggest unit for 30 days and all you get is $25.
                      Maybe lessen the time frame
                      say to 5 -7 business days???
                      For me...30 would be too long.
                      Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        When we did offer reservations at our web site, no longer do that, it was only for a max of 3 days but we also did not have a deposit.
                        "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lady5563 View Post

                          They pay the $25. and you allow them 30 days to complete the process?
                          Seems like too many days to me.
                          They can then hold up your biggest unit for 30 days and all you get is $25.
                          Maybe lessen the time frame
                          say to 5 -7 business days???
                          For me...30 would be too long.
                          Agreed. I would think a week tops should be adequate.
                          Kevin Kerr
                          Self Storage Software by Storage Commander
                          Kevin@storagecommander.com
                          Direct - 951.867.4732

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks everyone. I would absolutely require a deposit on reserving units ; and the ID and signatures would be done at the office. I think I would only hold for 48 hours and non-refundable deposit if they squeeze out.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kevin SC View Post

                              Agreed. I would think a week tops should be adequate.
                              We went back and forth on the time frame. Based on feedback, we felt 30 was aduquite. The past 6 months have been a test for us. Our facility is expanding and we will have 200+ new units in the coming months, so holding a unit for 30 days shouldn't be a big deal if we have a bunch open.

                              As for the past 6 months, we have only had a few units open at any given time (reason for expansion) and so far have not had to hold a unit for more than a week for anyone that reserved online.

                              I think there are pros and cons to 30 days, but if you look at emove or most storage reservation sites, they are 30-45 days. If you only have a few units, 30 days may be too long, but if you have a bunch why not offer 30 days? It could get you a rental from someone planning ahead and you wouldn't really be out anything. That's what we chose to try before we have the new units available (again we did a 6 month test), and so far we get 1-2 per week and it works out just fine. I think the reason it works is because $25 is enough to detour someone from making a reservation if they aren't sure if they need it or not knowing it's non-refundable. If the fee was $5 or $10, then we would likely have more problems.

                              Our old system was a reservation, no fee, up to 3 days. A lot of people complained about that because when moving you want more than 3 days to secure a unit, especially if the area has such high occupancy. We also had about 50% no-shows

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