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The 'Million Dollar' Self-Storage Counter: Tips to Amp Up Service and Generate More Revenue

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Late Fees, Auto Pay and Pre-Pay

These should be outlined on a single laminated sheet and displayed on the counter. Many self-storage operators fail to realize how valuable this is. Too often we forget to tell customers about our late fees, or how they are guaranteed no late fees by signing up for our simple, automatic, credit-card payment plan. Did you know a renter on auto pay stays two months longer than the average customer? Money in the bank!

There’s nothing better than a client who pays for a year in advance. Sometimes all it takes is to offer him the 13th month for free. (Note I said the 13th month, not the first month.)

The Greeting

You can’t rent units or sell merchandise from behind the counter. When a prospect walks into your office, immediately walk up and greet him. It’s been proven that in a retail environment, more sales are made if the employee is the first to say "hello."

Then tell the customer your name. Typically, a person will offer his name in return, or you can say, “Sorry, I didn’t catch your name.” You should use his name a couple of times during the conversation.

We need to show our customers how we’re different. Most of the time, it only takes small actions like these to show we care and value their patronage.

The Key to Success

Here’s one more little surprise for your customers: Once they've rented with you, offer to open their lock package, and then put one of their lock keys on a free keychain printed with your facility's logo, website and phone number. Pay a bit extra for a nice keychain. I like one with a carabineer, flashlight or bottle opener. I see people all over town with our keychains even after they’ve moved out.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these ideas. It truly is the little extras we can offer our customers that make us stand out in competitive markets. Get creative when it comes to these simple surprises. You’ll find with a little effort, they’ll make your cash register sing!

Marc Goodin learned about self-storage and marketing over the last 30 years from real-life experiences. He designs self-storage as a civil engineer and owns three facilities he designed, built and manages, including one in Canada. He’s the author of “Your Self-Storage: Planning, Site Selection, Design, Build,” now available in the Inside Self-Storage Store . For more information, e-mail; visit .

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