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Thread: The phone is not ringing...

  1. #1
    Susan is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Default The phone is not ringing...

    I'm in the PNW, Olympia specifically. Owner/manager of 40,000 sf facility. Prior to the recession we were holding steady at occupancy in the low 90's. Since 2008, our occupancy rate has fallen and this year we are seeing an all time low: 70%. And it's not just my facility. The other facilities I network with are reporting poor rental rates as well.

    We hear that the PNW was the last to feel the effects of the recession. So, on the flip side, we'll be last to climb out of it.

    What I hope to hear from other managers is" "Yes. The economy is improving in my area and occupancy rates are slowly rising."

    Or, has the paradigm of the self storage industry changed? That of storage being a luxury if it's not a necessity. We've all tightened our belts with this recession. Perhaps our culture has 'wised up' by getting rid of stuff instead of putting out the money to store it.

    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Storman's Avatar
    Storman is online now Moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Northern CA

    Default Re: The phone is not ringing...

    Welcome to the forum. I too am an owner/manager of closer to 30,000 sf. I'm in the SF bay area and this year has been the best year we've had since opening our first phase in 1985, so hopefully you're right, things will be getting better for you soon. We can't figure out just why it has been so good, other than the big corporate stores purposely running off good tenants with aggressive rate our benefit!

    I can't say that I have noticed a change in the reason people are storing items either, even through the worst parts of the economy I stayed pretty steady on occupancy. People that couldn't afford to store their extras were replaced with people that had to downsize. I had turnover, but stayed pretty steady. Hopefully you'll bottom out soon and start back up.
    Gina6k, dakselfstorage and kaitew4 like this.
    In no way affiliated with Storman software.

  3. #3
    kaitew4 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Raleigh, NC

    Default Re: The phone is not ringing...

    There must be a housing boom in our neck of the woods... as we are at 97% occupany right now. Hopefully soon things will improve over there where you are located!
    StrongTeam likes this.

  4. #4
    Gina6k's Avatar
    Gina6k is offline Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Morgan Hill, California

    Default Re: The phone is not ringing...

    Hi Susan, welcome to the group. I'm roughly in the same geographical area as Storman. We held steady around 90-92 during the recession due to downsizing because of foreclosures. The days of the luxury of storage mostly vanished, replaced by the foreclosure market. Now the commercial real estate market around these parts is booming so we are beginning to see more business storage. The other nice thing for us is all the housing starts that stalled in '08 are now being built up, so there is new blood coming to the marketplace for us. Hopefully you aren't too far behind the curve to what we are seeing here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Another emerging market for us is baby boomers storing their parent's belongings as Mom&/or Dad are moving to smaller places, assisting living or... have passed away. Try contacting senior housing in your area and as gauche as it may sound, make friends with your local funeral home operators. They can refer families to you as part of their package of "amenities" when they are counseling a grieving family.
    Storman, StrongTeam and kaitew4 like this.
    Gina 6k
    Cochrane Storage dot com
    Morgan Hill, California

    My profile photo is a Blue Star flag meant to be displayed by families with active duty service members.

    You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!
    I am not an attorney, just an experienced manager who is willing to share what I have learned. Your thoughts, practices or opinions may vary and neither of us may be right.

  5. #5
    Lisa T's Avatar
    Lisa T is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Happy to be in Myrtle Beach, SC!!!

    Default Re: The phone is not ringing...

    Business is booming here along the coast of South Carolina going up everywhere, people moving here in droves, particularly baby boomers retiring and moving down from the Northeast. I can't believe there are many people left in New Jersey. Hundreds and hundreds of new homes being built just in the 3 miles around us.
    StrongTeam and kaitew4 like this.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: The phone is not ringing...

    Sorry to hear that OP. All of my clients around here are having good years and there is a building boom of storage units as well as housing and most other construction. Hold on and I am sure it will catch back up.
    Gina6k likes this.

  7. #7
    dakselfstorage's Avatar
    dakselfstorage is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Leesport, PA

    Default Re: The phone is not ringing...

    We had a downturn starting in late 2008. 2009 was a terrible year. We dropped from average of 90+% to low 60's. It did slowly get better and now we are running between 85-90%. Last summer we had limited vacant units. This summer we have a bit of everything. The phone just is not ringing (don't say it's cause I drastically downsized yellowpages). I like so many people do not use it anymore. I can't tell you the last time I used one. I am waiting for PA to pass HB/SB76 and eliminate school property taxes. It will be the boost the PA economy needs. People will start to buy houses and business will come here. Check it out here fellow PA owners and managers
    Gina6k likes this.
    Joe Krezdorn
    DAK Self Storage
    Leesport, PA 19533

  8. #8
    Bill B is offline Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Default Re: The phone is not ringing...

    If you look at the numbers Nationwide, occupancy levels are going up! With that being said, the Marketing in the self storage business has changed dramatically over the past 5 years. I don't know what type of marketing that you are doing, but, the internet is where the action is at. In other words, you may simply be losing the Marketing Game if your phone is not ringing... here are some ideas...

    Hire a Good Local SEO firm - Your should be actively running PPC Advertising Campaigns (all 3 search engines), Have high rankings for Local Places listings, and have high rankings for your Keyword Specific web pages - I would budget between $1,000 to $2,000 per month... Yellow pages are dead- use the money you save by not advertising there and invest it in internet marketing... it works!
    Also, you need to be active on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter!

    Good luck,
    San Clemente Self Storage


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