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Easy Money: Add-On Sales Strategies Can Really Add Up for Self-Storage Operators

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What these few ideas have in common is they don't require customers to need self-storage to visit your facility. Consider this type of sales strategy as advertising that pays you rather than the other way around. Best of all, every one of these sales can help increase consumer awareness of you in your local marketplace.

Does it work? I know of a self-storage facility in the Gulfport, Miss., area that offered truck rentals, pack and ship, packaging, moving supplies, propane, postal boxes, and even notary services. It had two counter employees who were busy all day. Its retail sales accounted for four to five times the average, and occupancy was always at maximum.

When I asked my aforementioned dinner companion if ancillary sales were really that important to a business as large as his, he laughed and said, “Let me put it this way: When I put pencil to paper, my retail revenues were the dollar equivalent to adding several more rental units without the construction costs. Moreover, with your help, I can grow my retail business and, in a manner of speaking, ‘grow’ additional rental units of income.”

Pump Up the Value

During dessert, my friend shared his investor’s outlook. “Rob,” he said, “every good self-storage pro is always re-estimating the value of his property and business. And when the day comes that someone shows interest in this facility, the annual retail-sales income I’ve enjoyed over the years will be multiplied by the agreed upon cap rate and added to the value of the property. Not bad for just ancillary sales, right?”

It was a great dinner. My customer picked up the check and left me with four retail truths worth remembering.

  • Retail-sales income is as important as rental income.
  • Retail sales can increase occupancy rates.
  • Retail sales offer growth when you can’t make your facility larger.
  • Retail sales have real value at re-sale.

The insight you can glean from your customers can be eye-opening, and the positive impact ancillary sales can make to your bottom line may prove invaluable to your business.

Rob Kaminski is vice president of Supply Side USA, a national distributor of packaging, moving and storage supplies for more than 50 years. He has helped self-storage owners improve their retail sales for more than 25 years. He has written numerous articles on the topic and speaks at industry tradeshows. For more information, call 800.305.6110; e-mail; visit .

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