Overcoming Ancillary Angst: Adding Services to Self-Storage

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When we go to purchase a new car, how easy is it for salespeople to get us to buy an extended warranty? How likely is it for them to convince buyers to spend a few more for custom wheels? How many of us have purchased floor mats or other accessories because, once we were made of aware of it, the convenience was so easily exploited? I think it is safe to say most of us have succumbed to these offers at least once in our lives. We’ve even been grateful to accept an offer and save ourselves from going elsewhere to make the same purchase.

Why All the Fuss?

Let’s look at a financial model to understand the reason behind the angst. Assume a manager rents 25 units per month, each for $100, and each customer stays for six months. Revenue generated from this is $15,000.

Now let’s assume the manager can sell 75 percent (19) of those customers a box, lock, bubble package and marker for $50. Sales have now generated $950, approximately 6 percent of the rental-space income. If the margin of profit is 50 percent, the site will pull in $475 of profit for the month in addition to the space rental. Multiply that by 12 months ($5,700), using an 8 percent cap rate, and you have just increased the property value $71,250 from this process alone.

If you take a look at any services/products mentioned in the beginning of this article, you should now understand better why your employer has set you up to become a “multi-task” manager, and why it’s important that you treat this part of the business with the same enthusiasm you do in renting storage units. After all, the objective is to make more money and the property more valuable. By achieving success in ancillary sales, we help self-storage owners and customers in one swoop.

Your Turn

Take a look around your office and facility and question if you are doing everything possible to make ancillary products/services more desirable to customers. Look at the displays: Can you do a better job of presenting items? Look at how you park your trucks/trailers: Are they neatly lined up, clean and ready to go? How about that packaging area: Is it organized and tidy with plenty of supplies on hand to do a quick shipping order? Is the counter area organized and ready to go for the next customer, or is it just another cluttered shelf without a purpose?

Bottom line is this: Ancillary angst is an unnecessary stress. While we may not have originally signed on for all these extra jobs when we accepted a position as a self-storage manager, we should embrace the challenge.

You were hired for your good attitude and willingness to pitch in, work hard and enjoy the reward of knowing you’re helping customers while providing services—plural. It’s not just about a rental unit. It’s about renting units and selling those ancillaries. It needs to have nothing to do with angst, but it has everything in the world to do with income.

Mel Holsinger is the president of Tucson, Ariz.-based Professional Self Storage Management, which offers self-storage facility management, consulting and development services. He is also a frequent speaker at industry conferences and a regular contributor to Inside Self-Storage. For more information, call 520.319.2164; visit www.proselfstorage.com.

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