Times have changed for self-storage operators. As occupancy levels drop and openings and expansions slow, they are increasingly focused on improving operations, seeking ways to enhance efficiency by cutting costs, strengthening collections and offering more value to tenants. New software and technology lets them do that.
Advances in programming tools and Web design make the most powerful features available to any self-storage owner or manager. While once only larger operators were able to implement online management, today operators of all sizes can reduce labor with e-commerce modules.
Stores can offer more value through online features that allow tenants to make payments and reserve units. Improved tie-ins with payment processors allow for bank drafts and lower credit card fees for owners, while improved reporting and data mining enable them to fine-tune advertising efforts.
A good management software wraps these and other money-making features into a user-friendly package that’s ready “out of the box.” Web systems are the way of the future, not because they operate online, but because they make owners more money.
While Windows programs of the past only ran on a computer at the facility, today’s Web programs tie together diverse users and platforms. More powerful databases, such as Microsoft’s SQL, can work faster and to scale. Operators can add any number of computers, stores or users without special networking, cumbersome installation or added maintenance. Managers, tenants, call centers, district managers and central-office personnel can share data.
In fact, any number of users can work with data and process transactions simultaneously. A single-store operator can rent and take payments from anywhere. Busier, larger operators can have multiple users operating at the same time, and call centers and managers can process payments while tenants pay online or at a kiosk.