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  • Attracting College Students

    If your facility is near a college or university, the summer months offer a great opportunity to earn a few new rentals. Many students are looking for storage between mid-May and mid-August. How do you attract these students? What size unit is the best for this demographic? What specials do you offer?
    Last edited by Amy_ISS; 21st April 2017, 11:26 AM.
    Amy Campbell
    Editor
    Inside Self-Storage
    amy.campbell@informa.com

    @AmyCampbell_ISS
    480.281.6091

  • #2
    We live in a town with a couple of Universities and the first couple of years I went and dropped off brochures and specials to administration. We would have 90-100 units rented during the summer which seems great until they all move out in August / September.

    There are 2 other storage facilities in the immediate area and we all fill up. For the past 5-6 years we have had long term rentals and not many vacant units so we do not hold reservations for more than 3 days. I have about 20 units available now and about 14 reservations. If they want the unit they have to come in and look @ it and I will move them in for $1 for the rest of April plus the admin fee, lock & insurance and rent will begin 05-01-2017. I offer no other specials. Many kids & parents will call around and make reservations at 3 or 4 different places, choose one @ the last minute and forget to cancel the others so we were left holding units for kids that never showed up. I go through and drop them daily if I haven't heard from them.

    We have 3x3x4's and 3x4x4's and 5x5x10 and 5x6x10's that the kids use. I have found that the guys look at the locker units and say "Yup, I can get all my stuff in here" and they Tetris it in. The girls would like more room and choose the 5x5's. In fact, if they stack their totes, fridge, microwave & tv in a corner and go up you can get 3-4 students in a 5x5. We have never had a problem however, I always caution students because sharing with others can be tricky. What if someone doesn't pay their share? What if their computer is missing?

    The biggest problem with the kids is that they store food even when we tell them not to and they sign that they won't and they forget to take the lock off when they are done. I know they moved back into the dorms but they won't answer my phone calls or text so I can find out what is going on.
    The future depends on what you do in the present.

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    • #3
      We just posted an ad campaign in the local county papers (4 of them) which service our area. We are running a few student ads, but are not discounting the units. We do have some specials currently designed to drive people to our unit sizes that we have an abundance of, but those are not directly aimed at the students. We also partner our online ads with these to get the online demographic. That is mostly where our business comes from. We will see what comes of it. We have had good turnout in the past. We live near a private (Very, Very, VERY expensive) college and we usually get some great tenants for the summer. One our our facilities is near the college, the other 3 are about 10 -20 mins farther.

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      • #4
        I get the same college kids each year till they graduate and they pass the word. No specials, don't need them. They want the 5x5 or 5x10 units unless they have a couple sharing a unit then they sometimes step up to a 10x10.
        "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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        • #5
          At my last facility (how odd to be saying that) we ran a college special. Pay two months upfront, get 3rd free. They also paid the admin and lock fees (unless they were repeaters, then we'd waive the admin fee) . It worked out great for us and took up almost every free 5x10 (of which we had MANY many) that we had for 3 months. It was a win-win. The only downside, and we lucked out last year, was they sometimes bring in roaches, but just have your bug guy come out and it's easily solved.
          "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." --Thomas Edison

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          • #6
            The bad thing about college kids rental units is the mass exodus for all those smaller units when they come back to school. Almost every year we get one or two that want to keep the unit throughout the school year for storage of camping gear, kayaks.....etc. They don't like having to step over these items during the school year.
            "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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            • #7
              it's a good idea to find out when exactly the college kids are coming into town and working together with the dormitories or school on-boarding teams to let them know that you're having specials for their students might be a good idea. You could also look to putting up or giving out fliers at school and basically just getting people aware that you're giving a good offer for that particular segment of kids that are just moving into town. Good luck!
              Edward Thirlwall
              http://supercheapselfstorage.com.au/.../self-storage/

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              • #8
                Here in Eugene, Or. at the U of O, they do have a handout for all students that is given to them when they sign up for classes or check in for classes. It is a book of discount coupons from all types of businesses in the greater Eugene/Springfield area. The company that creates the coupon books has contacted us 2 times in 4 years to be in that book. Sorry, not interested. I don't discount units unless tenants are first responders or military or multi month payers. I stay full so no need to go after that group at the college. This year I would say that I MAY have 5 college students who get a unit from me for their break.
                "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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                • #9
                  Well the paper ad was a waste of time, effort and money, but our other efforts have been paying off. We will continue to do online ads, driving people to our website, FB and Blog. We get a lot of business from all three of these, as each one offers customers the information they need, and the ability to reserve units online. We tried a FB ad for the first time this month to drive attention to our Storage Auction, but have had about a 3% click rate. Probably won't do that again, but will be doing Ad words campaigns this summer. It is not all directed at students, but as the millenial generation does tend to do everything online this will hopefully prove to be a good marketing campaign.

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                  • #10
                    If all I do to keep this place full, as it usually is, is to attract non millennial tenants, then I can live with that. I get emails, from what I believe to be a millennial, that want all info via an email or text and I make them call me. I want to hear them and see how they react to questions and get a feeling for them as tenants. I have too much info and details to sit here and try to get all my points across about move in details and facility policies, to type emails or texts. Since I am full I also get them on a waiting list and need to know all details about what size they need, after they answer my questions, and when they need it by. So much is lost thru emails and texts as to the finer details of the facility. I have said on here many times that I am screening the prospective tenant and cannot do that properly thru an email or text.
                    "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pacnwstorage View Post
                      If all I do to keep this place full, as it usually is, is to attract non millennial tenants, then I can live with that. I get emails, from what I believe to be a millennial, that want all info via an email or text and I make them call me. I want to hear them and see how they react to questions and get a feeling for them as tenants. I have too much info and details to sit here and try to get all my points across about move in details and facility policies, to type emails or texts. Since I am full I also get them on a waiting list and need to know all details about what size they need, after they answer my questions, and when they need it by. So much is lost thru emails and texts as to the finer details of the facility. I have said on here many times that I am screening the prospective tenant and cannot do that properly thru an email or text.
                      We do not do 100% through online channels. That being said, I don't have the same fears as you. I prefer to talk to my tenants to get them the proper information and screen them as best I can, but even then it is not fool-proof. So I have a 50/50 chance of having a bad customer whether I do it through online/email or over the phone. We always confirm all rental appointments via phone before finalizing the rental, but seldom do we turn away. Those who make an appointment or reserve a unit online without seeing price, because we do not list pricing online, usually aren't the problems. It is the ones who walk-in or call wanting the smallest or cheapest units that usually all cause problems. Obviously what you are doing works for you, but if we were to switch facilities for a day, your method would undoubtedly not work for this facility and mine would most likely lead to disaster at yours.

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                      • #12
                        Can't say I have never made a bad assumption on a future tenant when talking on the phone and then getting them in here to rent but I have a pretty good spidey sense and I listen to key words and also gauge them by how well they listen and understand what I have said and are willing to listen without interruption. They could have a pleasant voice and still get a turn down from me just because of patterns that I have stored in my memory bank over time.
                        "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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