Spring is fast approaching, and now is the time to look at your facility with fresh eyes. Take time to walk around the property and plan those long-awaited maintenance, repair and upgrade projects.
In some parts of the country, winter brings harsh weather that can take a toll on buildings. Since curb appeal is such a big selling point for self-storage, if a site looks run down, prospects will rent at the wellmaintained facility down the street. Start your spring maintenance by running through the following checklist:
- First is the facility exterior. How does it look upon approach? Do your buildings need new paint or facade?
- Take a look at your landscaping. Does the lawn need fertilizing, reseeding or replacement? Do flowers, shrubs and trees need replanting, trimming or replacement? Perhaps it’s time to call a few landscapers and get bids. Consider adding flower boxes by the office or redwood barrels or planter boxes to make your entryway inviting. Don’t forget a nice park bench for outside seating.
- If you have canvas canopies over your windows or entry, see if they need replacement or repair.
- Consider the condition of any flags on the property. Does the flagpole itself need painting or replacement? If you don’t have one, consider adding a flagpole and U.S. flag.
- Do your facility signs need repair or replacement? If they are lighted, make sure all bulbs are burning brightly.
Ask yourself how others might see your facility. Would you rent a unit at your site? Consider what you can do to make it more inviting and clean with great curb appeal.
Now take a walk around the facility, thinking about general maintenance. Look carefully for the following:
- If the storage buildings are made of steel, examine the condition of the exterior corners, which often get clipped or dinged by tenant vehicles.
- Check the roll-up doors. Do they need to be cleaned, repainted, repaired or replaced? Maybe they need new springs, hasps or sliding latches.
- Check the rain gutters for dents and excessive debris. Clean and replace as necessary.
- Early spring is the best time to check for roof leaks. Repair and reseal as necessary.
- Repaint and re-stripe bollards around the site.
- Check exterior lighting on the buildings for burned-out bulbs and broken fixtures. Confirm and reset the operation of any lighting timers.
- Test or replace all fire extinguishers.
- Take a look at all driveways and consider resealing for cracks. Don’t forget to re-stripe those parking spaces.
- Trim trees and bushes away from perimeter gates and fencing and look for damage to these structures. Consider repainting and repairs.
After you create a detailed list of items requiring maintenance, determine whether they can be handled by facility management or if you will need a licensed, insured and bonded contractor. Gather bids for all repairs and get them done before peak summer rentals begin.
Peruse your building interiors, including your office. Your lobby is the first thing tenants see of your site after its curb appeal. They will judge the rest of your operation based on what they see in your office/lobby.
- Look at your entry, hallways and stairwells. Do they need painting or repair?
- In what condition is your interior lighting? Pay attention to all fixtures, including your “Exit” signs. Replace any failing bulbs and replace broken lights.
- Consider the interior of the storage units themselves. Obviously, you can only check those that are vacant. Are they clean and equipped with rodent control as well as a posted copy of your facility rules and regulations? Make sure all unit numbers are visible and in good condition.
- If you have a multilevel site, have the lifts and elevators serviced.
- Look at the condition of your hallways.
Does the concrete floor need resealing?
- Is it time to clean unit doors or replace sliding latches?
- Check all moving carts and dollies and make any necessary repairs.
- Look at your office from a tenant’s point of view, keeping in mind décor as well as functionality. Is it bright, inviting, clean and uncluttered? Look at the cleanliness and condition of any plants, wall art and furniture.
- Examine all office equipment, including printers, fax machines, etc. Replace and repair as necessary.
- Never forget the important role of smell in making a first impression. Your office area should smell clean and fresh.
- Pay careful attention to your tenant restroom. It should be clean, wellstocked and in good working order.
- Clean all windows and doors.
- Make sure your “Open” sign is clearly displayed.
- Ensure retail items like locks, boxes, and packing and moving supplies are organized, clearly priced and well-stocked.
- Neatly display tenant-insurance information, facility brochures and business cards, etc., on your counters. If you have office furniture, make sure it’s clean. If it’s old and worn, perhaps it’s time to replace it.
By taking a fresh look at your facility, you will see what needs to be done to make it’s the best it can possibly be. You’ll feel good about working at your site and make tenants will feel good about renting there.
Pamela Alton is the owner of Mini-Management, a nationwide manager-placement service. Mini- Management also offers full-service and “operations only” facility management, training manuals, inspections and audits, feasibility studies, consulting and training seminars. For more information, call 800.646.4648.