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The Impact of Facility Image: Self-Storage Curb Appeal and Refurbishing

Matt Doyle Comments

When it comes to the overall appearance of your self-storage facility, image truly has an impact on your success. In today’s business environment, perception is reality to most people. Your tenants and prospects look at your facility with a critical eye, and if they don’t like what they see, it will surely affect your bottom line.
One of the most important facets of your facility’s appearance is the condition of your buildings. Even if your landscaping is relatively attractive, curb appeal is the key. 

The Customer’s Viewpoint

Picture this: A tenant comes by to drop off or retrieve stuff from his unit and has difficulty opening or closing the roll-up door. Or maybe the door’s paint is faded. What kind of impression does this leave?

Perhaps a prospect is thinking about storage and happens to drive by your facility, but it appears unkempt and shabby compared to a newer, more appealing site he saw the day before. Which facility will he choose?

Customers scrutinize the appearance of your facility because they want to ensure their valuables are in an environment that is safe, clean and dry. Did you know that 60 percent to 70 percent of self-storage decision-makers are women? They tend to be more discriminating about appearance. The better they feel about the look of your facility, the more likely they are to rent from you. 

Why the Obsession With Image?

This preoccupation with facility appearance on the part of customers is relatively new. It hasn’t always been this way. To get a proper perspective, a little industry history is in order.

Anyone who has been in the self-storage industry for a while will tell you that, in its early years, it didn’t have the best reputation as far as businesses go. In fact, it didn’t have much of a reputation at all. But in the 1960s, as construction migrated eastward from the West Coast, people saw more and more rows of cinderblock or tin buildings pop up. Sure, they were on the wrong side of the tracks, because no self-respecting neighborhood wanted these unattractive buildings polluting the landscape.

As a result, storage facilities were relegated to the industrial and commercial sections of town. But in spite of its modest, somewhat questionable and unheralded beginnings, self-storage began to draw operators and customers from all walks of life who recognized its value. Whether folks were moving, divorcing, downsizing or simply needed extra space for their valuables, finding a suitable storage facility at a reasonable price became important.

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