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  • Online move-ins? Are they worth it?

    For those of you that offer online move-ins, is it worth paying the extra monthly cost per website for your website provider to enable online move-ins online? What percentage of your monthly move-ins are online move-ins? We are planning on testing out my location with online rentals with a StorEdge website and see how it goes, then we will implement online move-ins at all our other locations if this works out well. I just want to hear other people's experiences with this before I pull the trigger. Thanks!

  • #2
    100% of my move ins are online now. The online feature is included with my website. I've only had to rent 2 units on site in the past 15 months since I went online. If they don't have a credit/debit card to put charges to and a cell phone # I don't want them as tenants anymore.

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    • #3
      We don't charge for the ability to use online move ins with our software so it's more of an operational preference for our users.

      What I can tell you is that a recent study done by The Storage Group showed that from those using their Clickanstor 3.0 online rental tool, over 50% of total online move ins were done outside of regular business hours. That could represent a substantial amount of potential tenants lost to competition in your local market that do offer online move ins.
      Kevin Kerr
      Storage Commander Cloud Software
      k[email protected]
      Direct - 951.867.4732

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      • #4
        I won't do online move ins, I want to see the person and talk to them to make sure they're a good fit before I rent to them. Considering I have dozens of renters here now whom were burglarized that their last storage facility, I know there are bad guys out there looking to get onto a property and do their dirty work. I don't want to invite them in if I can help it.

        Also, people tend to shop price and not size. I go through their needs with them and counsel them on the appropriate size they'll need. Too many times I've had people come to my office with a full 24' UHaul liking the price of the 10x10. Seems renting to people online without qualification could be just moving the interaction from beginning to when they're already on site and things don't fit. Or, they're storing items you don't want stored.

        Additionally, I don't rent to businesses that operate out of the units. I 'specialize' in household storage, specifically Christmas decorations. There will be days go by that I see one person on my site of 400 units. I don't want the constant cycles on my facility that businesses bring, the parking, trash, hanging out, damage, new employees, fired employees, etc.

        All that being said, I'm at 97% and have been for a couple of decades. I could very well sing an entirely different tune if my occupancy was a lot lower or I had just opened my facility.

        Good luck to you.
        In no way affiliated with Storman software.

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        • #5
          I have moved to 100% online move in's over the last couple months with StorEdge. I would say about 85-90% of prospective tenants still call first before going online to rent a unit.

          But I agree with Storman I miss not being able to go through things with people in person. 85-90% of online rentals are not reading the rental agreement to know important things that we outline in there. This is forcing me to come up with new ways to update tenants on important parts of the rental agreement. My plan is to create some automated emails to be sent out following a new rental with important information.. I also call each new rental to go over important information as well.

          That said right now I am planning on not reopening my office for regular hours for sometime. I am all in on online rentals, and I just need to adjust the process to make it work better.

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          • #6
            If you don't have an online presence with online renting capabilities you are going to be left in the dust. You can still vet tenants. We make it very clear on our website that they will receive a call from us before they are allowed in, we do a. quick search of their name and can often times spot potential issues. We've had one or two folks show up Beverly hill billy style with every possession on the back of their truck wanting in after renting online. I tell them sorry, tough luck. After checking them out they are allowed in.

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            • #7
              We use storEDGE software and on line move ins. Yes it is worth it You just need to be organized for it
              Dave (Woodee) Scott

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              • #8
                I agree with Storman. Our customers can go online and make a reservation, and we can do the rental remotely over the phone...but it still requires a phone conversation to discuss what they'll be storing and let them know they cant fit an entire 3 bedroom house into that 5x10 they reserved.

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                • #9
                  We tried the online reservation route for the last couple years before moving to online rentals. We just didn't get the same conversions on our rentals. Enabling online rentals back in February has made a very big difference going into this year. I just happy I put it through it's paces before I really needed it.

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                  • #10
                    We use Sitelink Web Edition . We offer online rentals or ESign documents by email . We would have never survived the 3 month lock down with Covid without this . The new tenant needs to have a credit card so this helps screen to a certain extent . I wouldn’t be without it now . Well worth the expense.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bubba View Post
                      If you don't have an online presence with online renting capabilities you are going to be left in the dust. You can still vet tenants. We make it very clear on our website that they will receive a call from us before they are allowed in, we do a. quick search of their name and can often times spot potential issues. We've had one or two folks show up Beverly hill billy style with every possession on the back of their truck wanting in after renting online. I tell them sorry, tough luck. After checking them out they are allowed in.
                      You may be right Bubba , but my 97% occupancy hasn't been affected by my lack on online renting capability. I certainly don't want a situation where someone completes the rental process online and fully expects to have access to a unit, but then has a phone call with you and you "do a quick search of their name" and then tell them that based on your research they are denied a unit. Or maybe you just tell them that your software is all wrong and you don't have what you thought you did? If you do that to the wrong person, you're going to get a letter from an attorney. Not to mention the negativity one person can spread about how they were treated all over the internet. If the person wants to make a real mess for you, they'll have all the tools they need and the truth need not be part of it. In our current social climate that could be playing with fire.

                      Just out of curiosity, what do you mean when you do a quick search of their name? Criminal records? Bankruptcies? Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? What can you access during a quick search that you could point to in a court of law and say " your Honor, this is the reason I refused service to this person"? Maybe I'm more archaic than I thought and I'm missing something. I don't think you can do a background check without authorization and a fee. What is it you do if you don't mind telling me?

                      When I interact with people I have a pretty specific conversation with them long before we get to the size unit they're looking for. By that time, I've determined if I even have the size they want/need available. My spidey-senses have been tuned pretty well over the decades, based on their replies, demeanor, requirements over the phone it sometimes turns out I don't even have what they're looking for..... I'm guessing you've had that experience yourself. The difference is that they KNOW you have the unit they want because they reserved it online and already feel entitled to it by completing your online process.

                      Certainly, the answer isn't the same for everybody. Markets, locations, layouts and challenges are all completely different. I happen to live in a suburban area and have lived on site with my family for 33 years. It's not been very difficult for me to differentiate myself from all the corporate stores around me, they treat people so badly they come to me without any advertising needed. These tenants become my neighbors, I want to know who they are. If I owned a facility in a highly competitive area or rural area where I was fighting for every tenant, and I didn't live onsite, I would probably love online rentals too. I understand that the name of the game is occupancy, so every tool in the toolbox must be used. Luckily, I haven't needed that tool yet, and hope I never do.
                      Last edited by Storman; 27 June 2020, 01:11 AM.
                      In no way affiliated with Storman software.

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                      • #12
                        Like Storman, I do it the same way here. In a nutshell, the conversation is first before I even volunteer whether I have ANY units at all. I vet the prospective tenant and pay close attention to what they say and if they answer my questions thoroughly or they dodge the questions. They would be at my facility and I have to deal with them. So do my good tenants that are already here. I stay above 95% full and as of this month I have zero receivables 6 months in a row. I don't allow my web site to show any vacancies or prices. If the prospective tenant wants to only do email contact, then I will not rent to them. I must TALK to them. So far, my way works and I am definitely not in anyone's dust.
                        "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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                        • #13
                          I google the person to see if anything comes up. Arrest reports, court records, etc. It's an extra layer of vetting a tenant. IMO you can get in more trouble asking the wrong question to someone.

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                          • #14
                            "We used to be but not anymore since big box companies came in and started offering every unit with first month free"

                            Give it some time storage-gal , my experience has been that the long term tenants that we all want will quickly realize how badly they're being treated at the big corporate stores and make their way to you. I guarantee our rates will not change for 12 months, that alone rings bells with everyone that has ever stored with a big box. They are sick and tired of the constant increases and the revolving door managers.

                            I can tell when one of the big guys around me increases rates, I get many more calls and emails for a couple of weeks. I can usually tell in the first few seconds on the phone if they're current tenants at another facility, and when I do my pitch changes from what it would be if they were a first time storage customer. I immediately commiserate with them that the big corps are just out to take advantage of them not wanting to waste a Saturday and the goodwill of friends to move their stuff out, so you end up just paying the increase, and they know it. I ask them what rate they started at and what the new rate is just to remind them of how much more they're paying (and then I know how my rates compare which helps me determine the further direction of the pitch).

                            I'm aware that some companies insist on rate changes that the managers have no control over, but I'm a believer in getting the facility full of people that are happy to be there and feel like they're lucky to have a space at my place. They become protective of the whole operation. I'd MUCH rather be 96% full of great people I can trust and that pay every month than a constant cycle of people moving in and out and many upset about the tactics to get more money out of their pockets, even if the bottom line is a little bit better. People leave angry and want to tell the world about it.

                            The big boxes can have the people that want one month free. I don't want them, they're not the kind of tenant that I'm looking for. I offer VALUE, not price.
                            Last edited by Storman; 27 June 2020, 04:44 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bubba View Post
                              I google the person to see if anything comes up. Arrest reports, court records, etc. It's an extra layer of vetting a tenant. IMO you can get in more trouble asking the wrong question to someone.
                              So tell me how it goes when you have someone with a reservation sign up on your site for a unit they're looking for at a price they like. Then you call them and tell them that you found something on the internet that disqualifies them? I'm sure you don't say that, so what do you say?

                              I'm sincerely interested in how you handle it.
                              In no way affiliated with Storman software.

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