By CJ Steen
Are you sick of banging your head against the wall wondering what you can do differently to increase occupancy at your self-storage facility? Have you read every industry marketing book, but still your rental activity is stagnant? The best way to increase occupancy is to have a unique marketing plan and memorable, exceptional customer service. A rental-truck program can help you with both, giving your operation differentiation and a competitive advantage.
Truck rental is not new to the self-storage industry, and using rental trucks as a marketing tool is a unique concept that has worked for more than 20 years. Facilities with a truck often allow tenants to use the vehicle for free during move-in. The truck is frequently covered in eye-catching graphics, enabling it to act as a moving billboard. Graphics that read, “Rent with me and use this truck for free” generate buzz around the community and create thousands of visual impressions while the truck is being used.
One of the best advantages of having a truck is the increased value it adds to your facility. Instead of advertising a free month of self-storage rent, use the truck as a promotional tool. This makes your facility more profitable since you’re not losing rent money.
Another use for a truck in your marketing plan is through community goodwill. You can allow local nonprofit organizations to use your truck free of charge during their events or to collect donations of goods. This will give you a reason to submit press releases to your local newspapers and magazines while building lasting relationships within the neighborhood.
Customer service is paramount in the self-storage industry. The tenant's quality of interaction with your facility will dictate future referrals as well as your reputation. By anticipating customers’ needs before they arrive, you guarantee an enjoyable encounter. A gesture such as simply providing a free bottle of water in your rental truck will be instrumental in enhancing the customer-service experience.
Moving is considered one of the most stressful occurrences of one’s life. Relieve as much stress as possible for your customer in transition by having all the essential paperwork ready when the he arrives at your door. This shows you value his time. Also keep in mind that most of your customers do not have experience driving a rental truck, so it’s imperative to educate them on how to operate it safely. Remind them of height clearances and assist them in adjusting the mirrors.
Another tip is to make sure the truck is parked in a manner that makes it easy for the customer to exit the facility by driving forward rather than having to reverse. Also keep the truck clean and full of gasoline. If it looks like you care about your truck, renters will be more apt to return it in good condition.
Additionally, offering furniture pads or a hand truck to your customers for a small rental fee can bring in incremental revenue. The convenience of providing these items will be appreciated and will help you generate a few more dollars.
Using a truck-rental program to improving your marketing plan while enhancing customer service are a sure way to bring in more sales. Happier customers are the key to securing your advantage, allowing you become the competition everyone else in your market chases. With this edge, your occupancy and profit will increase.
CJ Steen is the marketing director for On The Move Inc., which provides a turnkey rental-truck program for the self-storage industry including moving trucks, a rental-truck insurance program, and custom truck graphics that advertise the facility. For more information, call 800.645.9949; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.onthemovetrucks.com .