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Re-Designing a Self-Storage Facility: Renovations Add Curb Appeal and a Competitive Edge

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Appleby says an office overhaul can be something small, such as paint and new ceiling tiles, or a $15,000 to $20,000 renovation. To find the starting point, operators should incorporate conveniences for themselves and their customers. This might include adjusting the counter height or improving seating.

While renovating the office may be an uncomfortable process, tenants will appreciate the initiative to maintain the property. "Usually, while the process of an office remodel may be uncomfortable for the manager, the inconvenience to tenants and customers can be minimalized," Appleby says. "As long as the operator has made reasonable arrangements to continue business as usual, tenants are usually happy to see improvements to the facility and understanding of long-term work."

Landscapes: Planting the Perfect Picture

When redesigning the façade, updating or adding the landscaping not only gives the facility a fresh look but can help cut costs and deter unwanted visitors. The price to maintain a landscape is an important consideration in the process, and can even be greatly reduced if the landscape is properly designed.

A facility with a lot of grass will require consistent watering and mowing, increasing the expenditure to maintain the look. Drought-tolerant plants, however, will reduce the amount of water needed.  "A properly designed landscape can stop the need for watering after a couple of years once the plants get established," says Ken Carrell, principal of ARE associates, an architectural firm that specializes in self-storage landscapes. "And maintenance can be reduced with the use of the correct types of plants."

"Hostile" plants can be used in a landscape to deter people from climbing fences and entering other off-limits areas, Carrell advises. These plants typically have thorns or other dangerous parts. Some examples include bougainvillea, roses and crown of thorns.

There are various routes to achieve the desired landscape design, including hiring a landscape architect, working with a local nursery or the do-it-yourself route. If cost is a consideration, many nurseries will provide a landscape design for a small fee, as long as the plants are purchased from them. 

The Essentials: Roofs and Doors Need Lovin' Too

Janus International replaced this facility's existing red doors with shiny new orange ones. Replacing unit doors can give an older facility a fresh look.Among other improvements, doors and roofs are particularly important because of the essential function they provide—keeping tenants’ belongings secure and dry. While there are some simple fixes to repair roofs and doors, sometimes they just need to be replaced.

Dings and dents are acceptable signs of wear on a unit door. However, when a door is rusted beyond repair, no longer holds paint from excessive paint applications, or fails to open and close properly even after adjustments, it may be time to replace it. "From a visual perspective, doors that look to be in poor condition can often turn a potential renter off, so aesthetically it’s suggested your doors stay up-to-date," says Amy Fuhlman, director of marketing for Janus International, a manufacturer of steel roll-up doors and building components.

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