Serving Up Ancillaries
|Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.|
|By: Gregory A. Call|
|Posted on: 10/01/2005|
It was a World Team Tennis match in Anaheim, Calif., about 1980. At 45, Rod Laver was playing one of the last matches of his career against Guillermo Vilas, a man half his age. Though Vilas expected to have an advantage because of his speed and Laver’s years, Laver used ancillary moves to defeat his opponent, differentiate himself and become a standout in his profession. Self-storage operators—regardless of the location or age of their facilities—should use the same tactic.
In a day and age when unit options, retail products and truck rentals are the norm for self-storage operations, facilities tend to all look the same to consumers. It’s differentiation that sets a site above the competition, and amenities are the key. In an aggressive business landscape, you need to build your ancillary products and services and make the market aware of your offerings. This article discusses some items that can take your company to the next level.
Swings and Strokes
Ancillaries are add-ons that benefit customers. They can include simple things like fresh popcorn, a complimentary beverage, a place for the kids to play, a room for customers to conduct meetings, shipping/ receiving services, Internet access, and fax/photocopy services. All these add up to a comprehensive package that sets you apart from the facility down the street.
Every market is unique and will respond to different products. But here are some tactics to try:
What Do You Win?
So what does the addition of ancillaries mean to a storage business? The exercise is only worthwhile if profit is realized and risk mitigated. You serve a product and, hopefully, the market volleys with more revenue. Let’s take a look at potential returns:
Take It to the Net
Ancillary products and services are essential to remaining viable and profitable in a competitive self-storage environment. Every operator should do what he can to make his facility newer, better and different from others. Gone are the days when you can sit idly by and watch rents and occupancy miraculously rise. Give some thought to what your market is asking of you. Take your business to the net and shoot a winner!
Gregory A. Call is the president and CEO of Irvine, Calif.-based Self StorageWorks, a management, consulting and development firm that provides feasibility studies, startup services, design, unit-mix planning, staff hiring and training, facility management, marketing plans and brokerage. For more information, call 800.779.6797; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.selfstorageworks.com.