Refreshments are another way to add a few dollars to the coffer. Casassa sells candy and soda at her facility’s front counter, a place where customers often make impulse buys, especially if they have children.
Eric Isaacson, director of marketing for Isaacson Family Enterprises, which owns two A Mini Flex Storage facilities in Montgomery, Ala., says his stores have implemented several services to add to the perceived value of renting with them. In addition to offering customers free water bottles, A Mini Flex recently opened a business incubator adjacent to one of its facilities where customers can rent an office. He also offers a truck-and-driver program where a driver will bring a truck to the customer's location.
Giving customers more options and services is what makes A Mini Flex successful, Isaacson says. "Offering the full service is the way to go because we're just a small, family-owned and -operated company down in Montgomery,” he says. “We're taking on the big boys, and we're staying in business."
A large part of driving success is building successful relationships. It’s imperative that operators talk to their customers to uncover their needs and communicate regularly with vendor partners to ask what trends they’re seeing.
Taking initiative and talking to other companies will also help your company in the long run, says Isaacson, who asked Penske agents to let him know if a truck became available for sale. When one did, he was able to jump on the opportunity and buy it for his truck-and-driver program. A Mini Flex Storage company also works with a recycling company to buy boxes that are larger and stronger than average, allowing it to compete with The Home Depot's weaker, cheaper boxes.
Ultimately, what it comes down to is knowing the customer, Casassa says. After working as a waitress, she learned the same rule holds true everywhere: People will always return for personalized service. "When your phone rings or you have a prospective client who walks in your door, you have to stand up," Casassa says. "You have to make eye contact. You have to ask them their name."
The best tactics to making more money all come back to customer service. If you want to bring in a few more bucks, put your customers first. The better their experience, the happier they are, and the more money they're willing to spend. "If you show them you truly care about them, they'll rent with you,” Isaacson says.
Molly Bilker is a sophomore journalism major at Arizona State University (ASU) in Phoenix. She is part of ASU's Barrett, the Honors College, and is completing a minor in Spanish. She comes from an arts-focused middle and high school with a creative-writing background. She actively participates in the arts, including creative writing, guitar and vocal music, theater, photography, ballroom dance, drawing, and film. To reach her, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .