Determine how your desired features fit with your budget. Go shopping. Attend a few industry tradeshows and see the options available. Spend some time online looking at storage security websites, and go to storage forums like Self-Storage Talk and read the good (and bad) of what others are using.
Compare the various vendors, their pricing, features, reputation and history in the industry. Which ones are going to give you the best bang for your buck and the least headache in the future? Do you plan to piece-meal your security solution from multiple vendors, or would you rather work with a one-stop-shop that can handle everything?
Talk to the Experts
Call and have a conversation with a security expert. Look for a company that has been specifically in the self-storage industry for a while and understands your needs. Ask about the warranty that comes with the products you’re considering.
For example, if you’re buying a new access-control system, does it cover lightning? How long is the warranty? Remember this is likely a long-term relationship, so make sure you’re comfortable with your security consultant and he takes the time to answer all your questions.
Security equipment and features for the storage industry are constantly evolving, so choose a company that shows a history of innovation. The vendor should be able to grow with you in the future. Does it offer easy-to-add modular options? Just because you aren’t adding door alarms today doesn’t mean your market won’t demand them next year. Be sure the company you choose allows this level of modularity and upgradeability.
Taking the time to find the right vendor with the right suite of security products for your facility can make all the difference in the world to your tenants and your facility’s revenue stream. A bargain-basement system isn’t going to perform well in the long run and can frequently wind up costing you more than a higher-grade system. But spending top dollar for the most expensive system is simply foolhardy if there are other comparable systems with the same features available.
In the end, do your research and explore your options before committing yourself to an upgrade plan of action. You’d hate to find yourself facing the same needs again in just a short amount of time.
Steve Weinstein has been a security consultant for the self-storage industry since 2004. He’s a senior account representative at QuikStor Security & Software, which provides security and software products to the self-storage industry. For more information, call 800.321.1987; visit www.quikstor.com .