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Summer Shape-Up: A Self-Storage Operator's Guide to Complete Facility Maintenance

Amy Campbell Comments
Continued from page 3

Office and Restrooms

Once you’ve lured customers with your outstanding curb appeal, maintain that good impression with your office and restrooms.

  • Above all, your office should be neat and clean.
  • Ban odors—like today’s lunch—with light air fresheners or deodorizers, or open the door whenever possible.
  • The office counter should be free of clutter, food and trash. This isn’t the place for stacks of magazines, newspapers, knick knacks or other inappropriate items. Likewise, the desk behind the counter should be neat and orderly.
  • Have your emergency procedures and contact list readily available. This should include phone numbers, your media statement and a map of the property. You can also add a list of non-emergency numbers such as your vendors, 24-hour repairman or plumber, electric and towing companies, and police and fire.
  • Wash windows three times a week with a commercial cleaner. Once a month, remove screens and storm windows and wash them inside and out.
  • Keep the carpet tidy. That means having it professionally cleaned regularly, and replacing it when worn or torn. Vacuum the carpet daily. If your carpet is shabby, considering replacing it with ceramic tile, which is easier to clean and more durable.
  • If you cringe when using your office bathroom, imagine what your customer thinks. Check the restroom several times a day to tidy up. Keep it stocked with paper products and hand soap. Inviting restrooms leave a good impression.
  • Keep office equipment free of dust and replace items when needed. Wipe telephones several times a day with a quality disinfectant to reduce the spreading of germs.
  • Back up all software. Put all your data on a removable storage device and don't keep it in the office. Create a back-up process and do it regularly. If there’s a computer failure, this information becomes priceless.
  • Keep your retail area stocked. You can’t sell what you don’t have. Add some clever, professional signs, such as, “How many boxes do you need?” or “Don’t forget packing tape.”


Green Tip: Use environment-friendly cleaning products and supplies. Sell recycled boxes and packing materials. In the restroom, add a timer to the light switch, and install low-flow toilets and faucets.


Security and safety should always be a high priority. Cameras, door alarms, lighting, fencing and gates act as deterrents and keep employees, tenants and their belongings safe. Schedule regular inspections of your property’s security systems. Look for damage and deterioration, dead batteries, cracked or missing seals, proper mounting and loose wires. 
Gates and Gate Operators

The cornerstone of your security system, gates and gate operators need regular upkeep to run smoothly. Note: When performing maintenance on gates, always turn off the power to the gate operator.

  • Slide-gate chains should be well-lubricated and properly tensioned. 
  • Keep the gate’s path free of debris.
  • Make sure all gate safety loops, miller edges and beams are working correctly.
  • Look for wear and tear on sprockets or gears, and have replaced as needed.
  • Replace old gate operators.
  • Have a spare keypad on hand.  That way if one goes down, the gate doesn’t have to be left open.
  • Any repairs and adjustments should be deferred to a professional.
  • If you have a solar gate, Joe Osborn of Sun Power Security Gates Inc. reminds you to maintain the battery, inspect the wiring often for rodent chew marks, and use an air compressor to keep the operator free of dust.

Green Tip: Consider adding a solar gate.   

Keep out dust and dirt by regularly vacuuming the camera, equipment area, monitor and digital video recorder (DVR). If you’re still using a VHS player and video tapes, replace them with a DVR. To ensure your DVR records all the action, check it regularly. It should be set to retain video records for a set period of time.

Some cameras may also lose focus or be moved either accidentally or on purpose. Tony Gardner of QuikStor Security & Software suggests operators purchase a service plan for video systems that includes a technician visiting your property every three to six months to clean the camera lenses and housings, adjust focus, and confirm cameras are angled correctly. 
Other Security Components

  • Check batteries periodically. Your smoke detector battery should be replaced every six months.
  • “Lighting in hallways and the exterior are an important part of the overall security package,” says John Fogg of Sentinel Systems Corp. “It helps at camera locations, and is a deterrent.  Any burned-out lights or malfunctioning fixtures should be addressed immediately.” 
  • Test intercoms regularly to ensure there’s a clear signal and they’re not broken, sticky or dirty. If you pipe in music around your facility, keep it neutral and non-intrusive.
  • Keep your keypads clean, particularly the LDC screen. If the keypad has an intercom in it, check for two-way communication with the office.
  • Inspect door alarms every time a unit is vacated. Look for damage to the door switch or magnet, check wires for fraying and damage, and examine brackets for breakage or tampering. Batteries for wireless alarm transmitters last three to five years. 

For contact information on these and other companies that provide products and services to the self-storage industry, view the Inside Self-Storage Buyer’s Guide at  

Sources: AJAY  Equipment Corp., BETCO Inc., Chamberlain Access Solutions, CertaPro Painters, Everbrite Inc., Litton Property Management Inc. On the Move Inc., OpenTech Alliance Inc., QuikStor Security and Software, Roof Hugger Inc., Schindler Elevator Corp., Sentinel Systems Corp., Sun Power Security Gates Inc., ThyssenKrupp Elevator, Trachte Building Systems, US Door and Building Components. 

Images provided by: AJAY Equipment Corp., Cochrane Road Self Storage, Everbrite Inc., Lock Box Self Storage, On the Move Inc., OpenTech Alliance Inc., QuikStor Security and Software, Storage Solutions, Trachte Building Systems. 

Related Articles:

Capture Self-Storage Tenants With Low-Cost Curb Appeal

Self-Storage Maintenance Retains Customers and Property Value

Day-to-Day Facility Maintenance for the Self-Storage Manager

Self-Storage Talk: Cleaning Vacant Units

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