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Too Close for Comfort

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  • Too Close for Comfort

    A new facility is opening near my house. The multi-story building is just off a busy street that runs for miles. A few days ago, I noticed another building going up just across the street. Guess what? It's self-storage! How this was approved by the city is beyond me. Let's say all things being equal -- both are new, similar pricing and unit sizes -- what can these operators do to entice tenants?
    Amy Campbell
    Editor
    Inside Self-Storage
    [email protected]

    @AmyCampbell_ISS

  • #2
    Originally posted by Amy_ISS View Post
    A new facility is opening near my house. The multi-story building is just off a busy street that runs for miles. A few days ago, I noticed another building going up just across the street. Guess what? It's self-storage! How this was approved by the city is beyond me. Let's say all things being equal -- both are new, similar pricing and unit sizes -- what can these operators do to entice tenants?
    Price Wars! Also, just across the street? What are we, CVS and Walgreens?
    "The comeback is always stronger than the setback."
    Mom, Navy Vet, genealogist and voracious reader
    Always sunny in California

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    • #3
      I would recommend fighting it out through advertising. Social media,Google and Yelp. Make sure you are the first one to pop up when people are searching. Make it as easy as possible to rent online. I think that with gas prices rising, more people are going to rent from home instead of walking in which makes the competitor across the street a mute point....with all things being equal as you said.

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      • #4
        For several years I managed a property with a competitor right across the street. We provided superior customer service, so there was never really a competition!

        Also, there's a benefit. If someone walks in the door and doesn't pass your vetting process, you can just send them on over to the other guy!
        MamaDuke

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        • #5
          I have the same thing happening. New facility opening across the street this fall. 500 units in phase 1, then 500 more later. Its got me working extra hard on SEO, website, customer reviews, keeping my place looking like new. All of which I was doing already, but I can always try harder.

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          • #6
            I was a child and grandchild of airline employees during airline regulation. The government regulated the price of fares for the airlines point to point, LAX to SFO was the same price for any airline. Basically, the only difference was customer service. The airlines would give out drink coupons, playing cards and even cigarettes on flights. One airline would do something different and/or better than what the other was offering.

            You want to hire friendly, reliable and competent employees that can communicate with the customers with a 'smile' in their voice. They do not need to be salespeople, they must be willing to help people that need or are looking for self storage.

            One facility may be able to set itself apart by offering extended access hours or extra amenities.

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            • #7
              The problem here is that the internet and "Contact-free Rentals" make the great on-site employee less of a factor. The customer only sees photos online, and then compare pricing. It's a tough competitive market right now, and quite a bit of over-building. The problem is that you can't create the need for storage. There are X number of customers in a market - how do you get them in your door and not the competitor across the street...it's not easy.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by braun1961 View Post
                The problem here is that the internet and "Contact-free Rentals" make the great on-site employee less of a factor. The customer only sees photos online, and then compare pricing. It's a tough competitive market right now, and quite a bit of over-building. The problem is that you can't create the need for storage. There are X number of customers in a market - how do you get them in your door and not the competitor across the street...it's not easy.
                You make a good point here. Perhaps a focus on that employee who does make a difference. If most websites emphasize photos and pricing, have your website emphasize that employee and the personal touch he or she can provide. Most people want easy, possibly contact-free rental, but they also really want to feel like there's a person at the facility who cares about them and their belongings.
                Get a photo of your employee/s up on the website so people can put a face to the person they are talking to. When you rent a unit, note something about the tenant that is memorable that you can refer to later, such as where they moved from or what they are interested in. I try to refer tenants to something in town that they might not know about like a restaurant, a park or my favorite hiking trail. I also communicate by text with people, which they love.
                After move-in, send them a request for a Google review and try to get the focus on the person who helped them, not just the facility. And do the same after they move out.

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