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  • Charging a deposit

    I've been on the fence about charging a deposit. It seems like it's split with our competition whether they charge a deposit or not so I don't think it should affect us too much if we decide to charge. I also feel like that's why we've done a great job My main objective here is to prevent folks from leaving a mess after they leave. What are some other reasons you charge a deposit?

  • #2
    We don't,however it spells out in our rules and regs that we'll charge a minimum of $65+ if they leave anything behind.
    Even duct-tape can't fix stupid. But it can muffle the noises.

    WA State

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    • #3
      KrisinWA we tell everyone you need to leave it how you found it. I just want to sweep out dust bunnies at the end of the term. I'd rather hold that money upfront vs at the end of the lease.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Bubba View Post
        KrisinWA we tell everyone you need to leave it how you found it. I just want to sweep out dust bunnies at the end of the term. I'd rather hold that money upfront vs at the end of the lease.
        I think it depends on your closest competition. If they do it, then you should too. But if they don't then your prospects will go to them instead of you.
        Even duct-tape can't fix stupid. But it can muffle the noises.

        WA State

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        • #5
          We don't call our a deposit, we call it an Administrative Fee. Its non refundable, and most of our competitors also charge one although they are differing amounts ranging from $10- $25. A few people think its odd to charge it, but we throw in a disc lock with that fee to soften the sting of paying it. Some don't want the lock, that's OK, the amount stays the same though.
          You Laugh, I laugh. You cry, I cry. You take my coffee...may God have mercy on your soul....

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          • #6
            We also charge an admin fee as well and provide a free disc lock.

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            • #7
              We charge an admin fee (non-refundable $15 that we figure into our prorate amount), but not a deposit. Nearly all of the other facilities in my area do charge one, so that's one of my selling points; We don't charge a deposit, we don't make you buy insurance (we don't even offer it), and you don't have to buy one of our locks. Those 3 things have convinced quite a few customers to come to us instead of the others.

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              • #8
                We don't charge one, and honestly the vast majority of our tenants do not leave junk behind (other than the odd hanger or some empty cardboard boxes...still annoying that grown adults can't pick up after themselves, but easy enough to deal with). So to me, the complication that introduces into the sale process (especially when most of our competitors don't require it) is not worth the very occasional benefit it would yield. If, however, large items left behind is a fairly frequent/major issue at your facility, then it would make more sense.

                Originally posted by KrisinWA View Post
                We don't,however it spells out in our rules and regs that we'll charge a minimum of $65+ if they leave anything behind.
                Any luck collecting that once they're long gone? Usually if their classless enough to leave crap behind (mattress/box spring, washer/dryer, etc.), they're not going to be answering our calls, let alone whipping out their credit card to pay a $65 fee, and of course we can't charge their card without authorization if they have one on file. The only time I normally have success with tenants returning to retrieve left behind items is when there's more than one person involved and it's a "I thought he/she was coming to pick up x/y/z" situation and then they communicate and get it done.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by wc1974 View Post
                  We don't call our a deposit, we call it an Administrative Fee. Its non refundable, and most of our competitors also charge one although they are differing amounts ranging from $10- $25. A few people think its odd to charge it, but we throw in a disc lock with that fee to soften the sting of paying it. Some don't want the lock, that's OK, the amount stays the same though.
                  We charge a $20 admin fee for every new rental (even to current tenants) and don't throw in anything, and it's rare anyone ever questions it. However, at other facilities I've worked at within 20 miles of here, it was like every other person made it an issue. And the strange thing was that the demographics seemed fairly similar. Mainly middle to upper-middle class tenants.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RMRSS View Post
                    We don't charge one, and honestly the vast majority of our tenants do not leave junk behind (other than the odd hanger or some empty cardboard boxes...still annoying that grown adults can't pick up after themselves, but easy enough to deal with). So to me, the complication that introduces into the sale process (especially when most of our competitors don't require it) is not worth the very occasional benefit it would yield. If, however, large items left behind is a fairly frequent/major issue at your facility, then it would make more sense.



                    Any luck collecting that once they're long gone? Usually if their classless enough to leave crap behind (mattress/box spring, washer/dryer, etc.), they're not going to be answering our calls, let alone whipping out their credit card to pay a $65 fee, and of course we can't charge their card without authorization if they have one on file. The only time I normally have success with tenants returning to retrieve left behind items is when there's more than one person involved and it's a "I thought he/she was coming to pick up x/y/z" situation and then they communicate and get it done.
                    Of the very few people who left a messy unit for us,only once did we ever recover from a tenant a clean up fee.The other time, the guy left a bunch pf packing paper and empty boxes in his unit along with a few broken pieces of small furniture ( dining chairs.) I called him about it, he said he would not pay it, and he went on to give us a nasty review online. I charged his card on file anyways since his lease says we can, but he disputed the charge with his bank. The bank really did not care what our lease said, and did not even ask us. They just refunded his money so then we were out the money.It's really a gamble to try and collect after the fact.
                    You Laugh, I laugh. You cry, I cry. You take my coffee...may God have mercy on your soul....

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wc1974 View Post
                      It's really a gamble to try and collect after the fact.
                      Yes, and my blood pressure tends to rise too

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                      • #12
                        We charge a flat $25 fee for our deposit which is refundable when they move out. We don't charge an admin fee at all which I believe helps attract renters.

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                        • #13
                          We charge a non-refundable Admin Fee of $25 which includes disc lock, key ring, pen and letter opener (to open disc lock). No complaints yet.

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                          • #14
                            I hold a $30 fully refundable deposit. It's extremely useful.

                            1) I make a big point in my phone pitch, email response and in-person tour of telling the customer that I do not charge ANY fees. No admin fee, no computer fee, no setup fee, no fees whatsoever that all the REITs around me are charging you to move in. If they've been calling around, this is a welcome breath of fresh air.

                            2) I only take a fully refundable deposit of $15 or $30, depending on the size of the unit. If you give me 10 days notice prior to the end of the month that you will be moving out, leave the unit clean and undamaged, you'll get that all back (see #8).

                            3) I don't require you to purchase "insurance" from me, and as a matter of fact it's not insurance and is a complete rip-off. I won't even offer it. The other places may not even mention their requirement to purchase "insurance" from them until you arrive with your truck loaded and impatient friends that made the mistake of offering to help you move your stuff. They know they have you over a barrel, and you'll pay the additional "insurance" fee. Again, if they've been calling around and asking the right questions, they're already ticked off about this upcharge that wasn't listed on the other company's website.

                            4) If there's a problem, this added "insurance" fee you've been paying for months or years will benefit you exactly zero dollars. How do I know? I have a facility full of people that were robbed at other facilities, flooded, fire, etc. and they learned quickly that the "insurance" was a scam. They received nothing. I've heard dozens of stories directly from the consumer of the companies never paying out. When they found us, saw our facility, our security features and that we didn't require them to pay for "insurance", they moved in here and rarely leave.

                            5) When someone calls me and says they need to stay 4 or 5 days into the next month and asks if I prorate, it's very easy to say "I don't prorate for partial months, but I'll make you a deal, if you're out by the 5th, I'll just keep your deposit instead of making you pay for the month, is that cool?" People LOVE that option and I don't have to be a jerk and charge them for the month for only a few days. They really appreciate that I'll work with them. Often, the $30 is more than the prorated amount would've been, but much less than than full month.

                            6) If people leave me a mess, I keep the deposit, which is a very small offset against the cost of removal, but it's better than nothing. If they don't give me 10 days notice, I'll keep the deposit too, which is really no skin off my nose. Those non-notice deposits more than pay for the units that need to be cleaned out. I can also be a hero and say "you know, I do require a 10 day notice for move out and here it is the last day of the month and you're just telling me now, but darnit, you've been such a great tenant for such a long time, let me just refund it to you anyway" Hero status. Then you work in the ask for a review.

                            7) It sure ain't much right now, but I earn interest on the deposits held in my bank account.

                            8) Most importantly, I would say 85% of the people will have forgotten that they gave you a deposit. So, when the time comes that they move out, and you send them a check or give them back some cash *AND ASK FOR AN ONLINE REVIEW, they're thrilled to death to do so. The last contact they had with me is me giving them money. They tie their experience at my business with a happy surprise. (money that was theirs all along, but they forgot about it).


                            *on Y elp, I'm currently at 59 reviews and 5 stars. I had a customer come in last week to say that he's never seen a business with that many reviews and all 5 stars. You have to know who, when and how to ask. But you HAVE TO ASK. I attribute some of those reviews to the fact that I returned to them a deposit they forgot about....
                            Last edited by Storman; 2 August 2020, 11:15 PM.
                            In no way affiliated with Storman software.

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