Pick up any health or fitness magazine off the racks these days, and you’ll find pages littered with ads for this or that herbal supplement intended to increase metabolism or muscular performance. Retail chains such as General Nutrition Cos. Inc. and Hi-Health are reaping a fortune off the sale of vitamins and minerals, which are being touted as homeopathic remedies to a whole onslaught of ailments—physical and emotional. The American public has become increasingly leery of traditional healthcare and seeks unconventional methods, not only to cure ills, but to better individuals’ overall enjoyment of life.
Just as health supplements can complement and improve upon an already fit body, product and service enhancements can create progress for a self-storage business. Your facility needn’t be “sick” to benefit from supplemental commerce, such as boat and RV storage, wine storage and the sale of retail products. These ancillaries can boost an already booming venture.
The trick is to “use” only the supplements you have the financial and human resources to provide, and the community demands. The addition of a service such as mobile storage may seem like a good idea, until you realize all the elements involved. Just as with those health products that promise rich rewards, some are toxic in large quantities; others have negative side effects. But many, when used in moderation and with sound judgment, can accomplish what every operator hopes they will: create a marketing advantage, attract and satisfy more customers and, ultimately, bolster a bottom line.
This issue is not comprehensive. The list of side services and multiuse businesses continues to expand as imagination—and budgets—allow. But it does touch on many of the basics: wine, mobile, records and vehicle storage. Keep in mind supplemental income can originate in other avenues, such as the sale of boxes and packing supplies; the rental of equipment such as steam-cleaners, moving dollies and water pumps; the provision of business services, including postal, fax and Internet; and the offering of complementary operations, such as car washes, shipping and freight, and truck rental.
Just keep it simple. Never mix too many supplements at a time. Never take them on an empty wallet. And use them as directed. Also remember: What works for another facility may not work for your particular business, so always do your research. With the right blend of supplemental services, you can improve the health of your self-storage business.
Teri L. Lanza