Awake Your Money-Makers: Add-On Sales for Self-Storage
Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.
By: Teri Lanza
Posted on: 08/19/2011



 

When it comes to examining the health of your self-storage facility’s bottom line, most of you would welcome new ways to fortify it. You can do this by cutting costs, generating more income or both; but it’s important to remember that there’s a lot more to income than collecting rent. Operators can generate revenue through administrative and late fees, tenant-insurance commissions and, of course, add-on products and services.

That last is murky water for many storage operators. Sure, many of you sell the standard collection of boxes, packing tape and bubble wrap, but how many of you have a truly optimized retail space? And how many venture beyond the realm of moving supplies?

Facility managers and owners have sometimes debated the worthiness of investing in ancillary offerings, some of which are resource intensive and others of which are fairly simple but still require care. For example, consider building out a formal wine-storage area at your site vs. renting propane tanks. No matter which add-on you choose, however, you have to factor in the cost of implementation, staffing and marketing to the equation. If the return doesn’t significantly outweigh the outlay, you’re better off without.

In a recent thread on Self-Storage Talk, “Top-Selling Side Product,” members discussed the add-on products they’ve tried—the ones that work, the ones that don’t, and their thoughts on ones yet untested. The results weren’t particularly surprising, and the bulk of the responses focused on packing materials. But there’s so much more your customers could be clamoring for; the trick is finding a new niche in your market.

If you want ideas, check out the new slideshow posted on InsideSelfStorage.com, “10 Amazing Money-Makers: Add-On Products and Services for Self-Storage.” It covers nine of the most popular ancillaries for storage operations as well as a “wild card” outlining several imaginative choices. You can also read in-depth articles about a wide range of supplementary services on our “Add-On Services” topics page.

I regularly get press releases across the wire about storage facilities adding new offerings to their operation. For example, in recent weeks, LifeStorage Centers added records-management storage at all 18 of its ChicagoLand facilities. Just Right Self Storage of Ottawa, Canada, is now offering truck rental. And Penn Valley Mini Storage of California has added document shredding to its list of services. This is just a small sampling.

Whether you’re a self-storage owner, manager, investor or builder, you’re out to accomplish one fundamental goal: to make money. With the appropriate planning, add-on profit centers can be a great way to drive additional revenue. Research your market for its needs, and give customers the products and services they require. Not only will it generate more profit at the time of sale, these transactions are an excellent opportunity to educate consumers on your real bread and butter: storage.

I’d love to hear from readers about the add-ons they’ve tried at their facilities, both the money-makers and the bank-breakers. Please share your experiences on the blog.