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Seven Design Essentials for Efficient Self-Storage Operation

Linnea Appleby Comments

Self-storage management companies are frequently asked to review new projects when the facilities are almost ready to open. While there are a lot of things a management company can assist with at that time, it really would have been better for a review or consult much earlier in the process.

Too often, simple things are missed, and it's easier to do it right the first time rather than retrofit. Before you start to build, consider the following points to ensure your facility is more operationally efficient.

1. Water

Make sure water is in or near the climate-controlled building, office, etc. Look at the plans as if you were the one who would be responsible for mopping and cleaning. The easier the access to water, the easier it will be for the manager to keep the site spotless. A mop sink and hose bibs in the right places are essential.

2. Electricity

When it comes time to cut disk locks, managers frequently use a grinder, which requires electricity. Ensure outlets are strategically placed during the building phase for this task to be accomplished. Also, make the outlets lockable to restrict use.

3. Light Bulbs

Many builders install 8-foot light fixtures, which are cumbersome for a single manager to change. Some managers wait until several bulbs burn out before replacing, making your facility look unkempt. Four-foot bulbs can be changed by one person immediately so your facility is always well lit. Put them on the list of necessities.

4. Fire Doors and Extinguishers

Try to eliminate as many fire doors as possible in your facility. Statistics show that 70 percent of your tenants will be female, who will likely feel uncomfortable walking through doors in a big building. Also, recess extinguishers into the wall to prevent them from being knocked off the wall by moving carts. By reducing their visibility, you will also reduce the possibility of theft.

5. Intercom and Sound System

You might consider piping in soft background music to make the facility more pleasing and comforting to your mainly female clientele. In addition, an intercom system that enables renters to reach the office from several locations is good customer service and can be a timesaver for tenants and management alike.

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