Creating Self-Storage Revenue Through Rental Trucks: 4 Ways to Maximize Your Leasing Program
Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.
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Posted on: 12/19/2011



 

By CJ Steen

Like most self-storage operators, you embrace a relentless pursuit to provide tenants with exceptional service. Your challenge is to effectively communicate that commitment to others who are in the market for a storage solution, whether for commercial or personal use.

A way to meet this goal is to invest in and leverage the use of a rental truck as part of your service offering. Not only will it allow you to deploy a tangible example of your offerings, you can customize your truck to serve as a marketing tool using professional custom graphics.

Integrating a rental truck into your self-storage business is a powerful way to grow your operation and provide a necessary and often critically needed service for your tenants. Equally important, having a rental truck at your facility doesn’t need to be a headache and should be one of the best business decisions you make.

There are four things to consider when exploring the idea of offering rental trucks, or even if you already deploy a rental truck at your facility. They are profitability, advertising, due diligence and maintenance.   

Profitability of the Service

One of the biggest advantages of adding rental trucks to your self-storage business is the profitability of the service. Here are few strategies you can take to earn even greater revenue.

  • Develop a small moving business using your truck and hiring part-time movers. This can be easily done and is a great way to add profit.
  • Offer up the space on the back door for advertising. You can break up the back door into 1-by-2-foot sections and charge a monthly rate. This will not only reduce your monthly costs, it’s a great way to get referrals for your business.
  • Encourage rentals during downtime by offering mid-week specials.
  • Implement a loyalty card or frequent-user program. For example, “Rent this truck four times and receive 50 percent off your fifth rental!”
  • Set up your pricing structure based on time. Rent the truck based on the size of the unit the customer is renting. For pre-paid or one-year rental contracts, include a certain number of hours with the truck to help the client move in.
  • Charge a premium rate on holidays and peak rental seasons.
  • Promote truck rental to students moving to college or to delivery services. You can make the truck available at a discount to current tenants, providing a valuable add-on service and achieving valuable word-of-mouth advertising and endorsements.

These strategies can be used by themselves, or choose whatever works best in your market. The goal is to uncover other revenue streams for your truck-rental program without causing any financial or staff burden.  

Community Advertising

Your truck is really a moving billboard. When you use your truck to run local errands and participate in parades, festivals and charitable events, it will be seen within the community and you’ll receive more calls.

Mention your truck on all of your marketing materials including your website, social-media platforms, fliers, business cards and print advertisements. Your truck is a value-added service, so promote it whenever and wherever you can.

Post fliers advertising your truck and facility at local businesses. Make sure they know your truck is also available for commercial use. Businesses that cater to the general public are generally reliable when it comes to promoting your offerings through word of mouth.

Participate in the design of the graphics for your truck to achieve a great marketing message and project a positive image of your business. This is your largest advertisement. You want to make sure it’s eye-catching and sends a timely and compelling message.

If you don’t have a great location to display your truck, consider trading limited free use of the truck with a nearby business that offers better visibility.         

Due Diligence

Before you lease or lend your facility’s truck to any person or company, you need to follow a couple of due-diligence safeguards:

  • Always ascertain the customer’s intended use of the vehicle to ensure it’s acceptable.
  • Verify the customer’s driver’s license, insurance, credit card and phone number. Check restrictions on the driver’s license and limitations on the credit card.
  • Complete all necessary rental forms with your tenant and make sure signatures are in the correct places.
  • Physically review the vehicle with the customer. Point out all features and concerns such as the height and extended ramp.
  • If there is any doubt in your mind as to the customer’s credibility, do not rent your truck.

Routine Maintenance

It’s imperative to keep your truck in perfect working condition. You can do so by adhering to the following steps:

  • Follow all warranty conditions and recommend preventive maintenance as specified in the owner’s manual.
  • Regularly check all fluid levels including brake, oil, transmission, power steering, windshield washer and coolant.
  • Keep vehicle clean inside and out.
  • Regularly check turn signals, headlights, brake lights and the interior cargo light. These may need to be periodically replaced.
  • Check tire pressure and condition after every use.
  • Test brakes daily.
  • Replace damaged windshields and side glass.
  • Replace damaged mirrors and lights.
  • Repair all body damage.
  • Check ramp and roll-up door for proper function.
  • Check seatbelts to ensure they work properly.
  • Keep hand truck and blankets clean. Always secure the hand truck inside of the box.

While a strong maintenance program will minimize breakdowns while the truck is in use, sometimes a breakdown does occur, so have a plan in place to assist the customer quickly and with minimal stress. If there’s any doubt regarding the safe operation of the vehicle, do not rent it, and get the truck repaired quickly. Most vehicles do not come with a spare tire or jack. The last thing you want is a customer trying to change a truck tire on the side of the road.

Enhancing Your Program

There are many ways adding a rental truck to your storage facility can enhance your customer-service offerings, provide exceptional marketing and advertising opportunities, and serve as a medium for community outreach. Careful planning will maximize your opportunity for tremendous success.

As you elect to evaluate and pursue this option, seek the services of a specialist in this area. There are several from which to choose. Just as you are committed to providing your tenants an exceptional long-term storage solution, rental-truck specialists are committed to maximizing your success with this unique service offering.

C.J. Steen is the marketing director at On The Move Inc., which offers a complete truck-rental package including insurance, custom graphics and visual impressions. For more information, call 800.645.9949; visit www.onthemovetrucks.com .