As the self storage industry has grown from a once cottage industry to a highly sought after investment class of its own, so has the management practices of these facilities. Given the simplistic nature of this type of rental property, the distinguishing success-factor of a property usually comes down to how well the storage facility is managed. Below we take a deep dive into everything you need to know about managing self storage rental properties.
Self Storage Property Management Definition
Self storage property management is a specialized type of real estate management that deals with the comprehensive oversight of self storage properties such as drive up and indoor climate-controlled facilities.
Self Storage Property Management Services
Each self storage rental property will require its own unique set of operational services to be successful. Whether you are self managing or outsourcing to a third-party management company, there are several common services found in place among successful self storage properties. Below we take a look at some of the most common self storage property management services:
- Excellent Customer Service – As probably one of the most underrated property management services, excellent customer service is what will keep customers coming back to your facility. Friendly, helpful, and accommodating staff, builds a loyal and returning customer base.
- Facility Maintenance – Keeping your facility clean and well-maintained not only makes it more inviting to potential customers, but it also helps to prevent deferred maintenance problems down the road.
- Leasing and Marking – Proactively marketing ensures that you are reading out to prospective customers. Don’t wait for customers to come to you; go out and find them. Use online and offline property marketing techniques to reach your target market.
- Unit Variety Demand Monitoring – Either having too much or too little of a particular unit size and type can either help or harm a self storage business. From indoor climate controlled 5’x5’ units, to outdoor vehicle parking spaces for rent. Self storage management can monitor the demand history of all units to help owners determine which ones are the most in demand and profitable.
- Operations – Strong operations is key in any business, but it’s especially important in self-storage. Keep good records of your customers, their contact information, and what they’re storing. Proper organization will also save you time and headaches down the road.
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How to Successfully Manage a Self Storage Facility?
Self-storage property management can be challenging. However, with the right approach and an understanding of the fundamentals of the business, you can successfully manage your self-storage facility – or hire the best possible person or company for the job. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Keep your facility clean and well-maintained. This will not only make it more inviting to potential customers, but it will also help to prevent problems down the road.
2. Be proactive in your marketing. Don’t wait for customers to come to you; go out and find them. Use online and offline property marketing techniques to reach your target market.
3. Offer a variety of storage unit sizes. This will give customers the flexibility to choose the unit that best meets their needs. From indoor climate controlled units, to outdoor vehicle parking spaces.
4. Stay organized. This is key in any business, but it’s especially important in self-storage. Keep good records of your customers, their contact information, and what they’re storing. Proper organization will also save you time and headaches down the road.
5. Offer excellent customer service. This is what will keep customers coming back to your facility. Be friendly, helpful, and accommodating, and you’ll build a loyal customer base.
Self Storage Property Management Fees
The fee to manage a self storage property can range between 5% and 8% of the gross rental income, depending on the type of self storage property (i.e. outdoor drive-up vs indoor climate controlled). Contracts to manage self storage properties are often structured as a “percentage of revenue” or “cost plus” where the property management company is paid base fee as well as percentage of on revenues. You want to ensure that whatever company you sign with, offers full expense reporting alongside excellent in-house capabilities and professional staff to ensure you’re able to maximize the value you get from your self storage property.
Self Storage Management Software
Self storage management software helps owners, managers, and customers handle various aspects of administration such as payments, vacancy management, and operational reporting. Some of these property management software providers even have begun providing true end-to-end support with offerings such as facility websites and access control.