Applying Technology to Self-Storage in 2014: 3 Things It Must Accomplish and Tools You Should Use

By Matthew Van Horn Comments
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Docs is Google’s version of Microsoft Office. It provides spreadsheet, word-processing and presentation software. It also allows multiple people to edit a document at the same time. Having the ability to collaborate on a document in real time is extremely valuable.

Management Software

There are many different self-storage management programs available today. The idea behind using this software is to remove as much human error as possible. No one should be using a physical ledger to keep track of a facility’s financials, nor should you be using a spreadsheet. You can install management software at your facility for as little as $50 per month.

Most programs now have some sort of Web component, so you can access your reports or accounts online. Many also include modules for online payments and reservations. These features are the new norm in our industry.

As a manager of multiple self-storage locations, I find Web-based management software to be a necessity; but for you, it may not be. If you have a single location and live on site, you can easily access your office computer. Remember, technology should help you improve, should fit into your existing operation and provide some kind of return. Only install what you really need, and don’t feel pressured to use items with which you don’t feel comfortable. Web-based software, often called “cloud-based” software, is the future, so consider giving it a try.

Security

One area where technology has really benefitted the self-storage industry is security. Digital video recorders have replaced VCRs, and cameras now have amazing resolution and recording capability. Gate systems are completely automatic and speak with your management-software program with relative ease. You can even watch the footage from your security cameras on your Web-connected computer or smartphone.

The great thing about emerging technology is it’s driving down the cost of security. A decade ago, putting up a few cameras was an expensive proposition. Now you can install cameras in every single unit. Imagine being able to give your customers a unique Web address where they can log in and view their items over the Internet in real time. Think of the universal selling proposition it would give managers when they’re closing a sale. These are game-changing types of technology that everyone can take advantage of right now.

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