To limit the risk of legal exposure and emphasize the security of our site, we run a credit and background check on everyone who rents from us. The program costs us very little and we simply add the expense to our sign-up administrative fee. Tenants like that we do this because they know we’re doing everything we can to protect their goods.
It’s very difficult and expensive to dispose of titled property, so any insight you can gain into a client’s credit and criminal background lessens the risk of eviction or lien-sale costs later. A credit check also helps you determine if a tenant is attempting to hide a vehicle under repossession threat.
One word of caution: The collection and storing of customers’ private information requires knowledge of state statutes. You should be well-versed in the law when dealing with this type of data. Protect your customer’s identity by filing any paper copies in a fire-proof safe and limiting access to authorized staff only.
Update Your Marketing
It’s critical to review your marketing brochures, print and Yellow Pages ads frequently. During a recent review of our own collaterals, we found we needed to make them more current. This helps to attract new tenants. Our website is updated at least quarterly, and we’re advertising more aggressively.
We also use e-mail blasts to reach tenants. We ask for their e-mail address when they rent a space, and we send them only important information regarding their accounts or information about our specials. We recently sent an e-mail about our referral program and had a good response.
It’s hard to keep a positive attitude when business is in decline, but when customers ask us how our facility is doing, we tell them, “Fantastic.” They always have a funny look on their face because they expect to hear how bad things are. Times may be tough, but who wants to rent from someone with a “poor me” attitude? We tell them business is going great and we love having them rent with us.
When it comes to your site marketing, keep an open mind, learn from your mistakes, and target your marketing efforts directly to boat/RV-storage customers. It’s a unique group with specific needs. Meet them, and you’ll be a success.
Ed and Terri Heil are the operators of Lake Havasu RV & Boat Storage of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Ed serves as manager of operations and security, and Terri is the facility’s business-development manager. Both are members of and regional chairpersons for the Arizona Self Storage Association. For more information, call 877.764.1961; visit www.lakehavasustorage.com.
RV Direct Marketing [Self-Storage Talk]