Offering Value-Added Services to Tenants of Boat- and RV-Storage Facilities: Operators Cruise Past the Competition Via Amenities

Terri and Ed Heil Comments
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Air Station and Hose Bib

This is an easy amenity to install. Both boat- and RV-storage tenants use these fixtures on a regular basis. You may want to restrict the use of the hose bib for flushing engines or flushing holding tanks by using a short hose.
 
Dump Station

This cost is often more than some owners are willing to pay, but it can be a critical service for some facilities. It can also give you a competitive edge. Facilities can offer this free to all tenants, or add a small charge to offset the costs.
 
Ice and Vending Machines

This is another convenience for customers.You can sell ice for the same price as the nearby convenience store. If you don’t have a retail store on your property, ask a local company to install a coin-operated freezer. Most companies don’t charge for the freezer.

Likewise, even if you don’t have a retail store, you can offer outside vending machines for items such as water, soda, tea or sports drinks. They’re coin-operated and maintained by a vending-machine company. This is a low-cost service and a great extra for your tenants.
 
Cleaning Service

Storage units get dirty over time. Some customers request their units to be cleaned with a blower, an easy maintenance item. Most facilities don’t charge a fee for this service. Be sure to ask tenants to schedule this cleaning with the office staff. You can also offer unit power-washing, with or without a fee. Tenants love having these services, and they’re not difficult or costly to implement.
 
Retail

A retail store that provides basic boat and RV products is more of a convenience for your customers than a huge profit-maker, though the right marketing can make it worthwhile. Good items to stock include cleaning products, towels, RV chemicals for toilets and special RV toilet paper.
 
Dumpster

Allowing tenants to use your dumpster can be tricky. When our site first opened, all tenants had access. Unfortunately, a few naughty customers ruined it for the others. They dumped everything, including oil, tires and other undesirables. Now we only offer this service if someone asks, and we accompany them to the dumpster to see what they’re throwing away. Use caution when giving tenants access to your dumpster.
 
If your budget simply doesn’t allow any of the above suggestions, ask your tenants what amenities and services they would like. Perhaps there are other businesses in your community you can partner with to create new offerings. Visit boat- and RV-sales lots, RV resorts, and local repair shops and ask what amenities and services their customers want.

While you’re there, give them your business card. Talk about your referral program, and even bring along some pictures of your facility and its amenities. With a little homework and some creativity, you can implement new amenities and services that will meet your tenants’ needs and give you an edge over the competition.
 
Terri Heil is the business development manager and Ed Heil is the manager of operations and security at Lake Havasu RV & Boat Storage of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. They belong to the Arizona Self Storage Association and national Self Storage Association. For more information, call 928.764.1961; visit www.lakehavasustorage.com.

Related Articles:

Reaching and Serving Boat/RV-Storage Customers

Controlling the Maintenance Costs of Boat and RV Storage

Calculating Retail Profit: Add-On Merchandise Helps Boost Self-Storage Revenue

Self-Storage Talk: New Boat and RV Storage

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