Consider painting doors a different color if your facility is monotone or lacks shine. Artificial doors can also be added for visibility. One interesting approach is to create a false second floor with “dummy doors.” In such instances, the additional height can make a hidden building visible and identifiable to the public where it may have been previously unnoticed.
A monotone building was painted to enhance visibility: before (left) and after (right).
In studying various markets, it's not uncommon to find that low occupancy is not necessarily an issue of demand but an over or under supply of a particular unit size or type, for example, too few or too many climate-controlled units. Carefully study your unit mix and consider moving rental-space partitions, creating or removing interior corridors, or even adding more climate-controlled units.
Your Current Tenants
Once you’ve made substantial improvements to your facility, tell your tenants. Ask your manager to send letters to them promoting the upgrades and associated benefits. Increasing occupancy and profit comes not only from renting to new tenants, but by continuous rent increases to your existing tenant rent roll. Tenants will be far less resistant to future increases if they perceive they are getting more value in the form of improved conditions and services that are meaningful to them.
Jeffrey Supnick is the president of Supnick Real Estate Co. A 25-year veteran of the self-storage industry, he has served as a real estate officer for Public Storage Inc. and Storage USA. During his career, he has been responsible for the development of more than 30 self-storage sites. Supnick Real Estate is a full-service firm devoted exclusively to self-storage brokerage, consulting and property-management services. For more information, call 856.722.1414; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.supnick.com.