Through increased competition and the evolution of the industry, self-storage has changed significantly over the years. The competition coming into the marketplace 10 years ago seemed to be mainly small independent operators that did not pay much attention to things like demographics, curb appeal or sales and marketing programs. Today however, the industry is seeing strong regional and national players that are changing the way we do business. These larger self-storage companies have the financial capability to build stores that are larger and have more “bells and whistles” to better compete for business. They also have the money to spend on curb appeal, which will attract the customer. This has forced many of the independent operators to “step-up” their presence in the marketplace and to spend the money it takes to add the features they need to become a more viable competitor in their specific market area.
It Starts With The Customer
Today’s self-storage customer is calling four to five stores, on the average, before making a decision of where to store their belongings. This is adding to the cost of doing business through increased marketing and advertising efforts. Through this additional expense, the self-storage industry is beginning to recognize one of the only ways to increase profits is to develop a more effective way of converting the caller into a renter. The industry has also changed over the years from appealing not only to the residential user, but also to the commercial consumer. Self-storage has become a cost effective and convenient way for many businesses to store their belongings, from office files, records and excess inventory to office furniture, landscape equipment, building materials, tools, and specialized machinery. The popularity of climate-controlled storage in recent years has also appealed to the commercial user. For example, climate control is very appealing to the pharmaceutical sales rep that needs to store their products in a climate-controlled environment. It is also a great alternative for the commercial user storing items they want to protect from elements of the weather, such as high humidity levels or extreme fluctuations in temperature.