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Tips for Broadening Your Profit Horizon: Self-Storage Talk Members Share Secrets of Add-On Sales

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Beyond Locks and Boxes

One natural business pairing with self-storage is moving-truck rental. Self-storage tenants are often are in transition, moving from place to place, and have a temporary need for a truck. Some facilities have started to use trucks as loss leaders, throw-ins to coax new business. Yet results from an ISS online poll many show facilities are still making money off truck rental.

When asked with add-on profit center generates the most revenue for their facility, 61 percent of respondents cited rental trucks. Cell-phone towers came in at about 18 percent, while business services (faxing, copying, scanning, etc.) came in with approximately 5 percent. “Other” picked up nearly 13 percent, proof that many facilities have unique, niche ways of generating side cash.

A regular SST poster and long-time facility manager, Lisa T, indirectly spoke to the benefit of business services via offering shipping services. “Here, our biggest profit center by far is UPS shipping—not only the UPS fees themselves, but all the boxes and packaging materials we sell to the customers so they can pack their stuff up to ship it; and best of all, it's not nearly as much work or aggravation as truck rentals.” Because most run-of-the-mill consumers, including Joe Storage Tenant, aren’t familiar with UPS drop-off points, a self-storage facility is a logical place to do that, especially if it’s closer and less expensive the nearest UPS store.

SST member FHARumRunner echoes the effectiveness of locks, boxes and tape but adds mattress and furniture covers to the mix. Member JamestownStorage#8 agrees with selling covers, also pointing to wardrobe covers and a product called Damp Rid, a mineral salt that absorbs moisture and prevents mold and mildew.

Other less common revenue-boosting ideas mentioned on the forum include selling advertising space, especially on unit doors that face the street or on billboards; eBay sales; and opening self-storage combination businesses, where entities such as car washes or golf driving ranges are part of the facility. In an increasingly competitive environment, operators will turn to whatever resource to get ideas on how to diversify.

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