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Seeing What You Don't See: A Fresh Look at Self-Storage Maintenance and Curb Appeal

By Linnea Appleby Comments
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Office door. Your office door is part of the first impression your facility makes on new customers. Is it clean and welcoming or covered with fingerprints, handmade signs, peeling stickers and tape remnants? Keep this portal shiny and clean.

Paint. While the paint you added five years ago still looks new in your mind, it may be time for a fresh coat. This is a simple weekend project. Just grab a couple gallons of paint and get it done.

Phones and computers. Without your computer, printer and phone, your business stops. Keep these items in top working order and plan to replace them every few years, as technology changes. Anticipate the cost by adding a line to the facility budget.

Restrooms. Do an honest evaluation of cleanliness. If you’d be uncomfortable with your mother or children using the restroom, then it’s time to do make some improvements. This area shouldn’t look like a bad gas-station bathroom! Replace the worn and discolored toilet seat, make sure the lights and door locks work, and ensure the room is well-stocked and clean.

Retail area. Change this up by rearranging the merchandise. Hang bubble wrap from fishing line to create movement or build an interesting box display that shows how items can be used together. Move everything, dust everything and get creative. Facilities where tenants must actually walk around a box display will generally sell more merchandise than if boxes are just stacked against the wall.

Signage. If the office always looks the same, your tenants become numb to it. Take stock of what’s hanging on the walls. Paper signs are designed to have a short life, yet we tend to leave them up forever. If it’s been a year or two, it’s time for a replacement.

Storage space. Just like our tenants, we tend to put stuff in storage and forget it’s there. Organize the breakroom and any company-assigned units. Look for items you can use like flags and banners, marketing materials, or office supplies you didn’t know you had. Sometimes going through the breakroom can feel like Christmas. Oh, there’s that box of magnets!

Other Property Features

There are a number of other components to a storage facility that can easily fall into the “already, always” thinking, including unit doors, exterior signage and even the roof. Here are other areas that should be included in your maintenance review.

Building exteriors. Look for damage caused by tenants, weather or pests. Do buildings appear dull? Maybe it’s time for a fresh coat of paint or clear coat. Fill any cracks to prevent water leakage and remove any rust spots.

Floors. If you have a drive-through facility or interior units, pay special attention to the flooring. Is it scuffed and dirty? Keep floors bright and clean.

Golf cart. If the golf cart is used to show prospects around the facility, a dirty one is a poor way to start the tour. Replace worn cushions. Take everything off the cart and give it a good scrub. Never store locks or company property in the vehicle. Your customers’ first impression shouldn’t include the experience of riding next to the trash bucket. Finally, don’t smoke on the golf cart, ever. The smell never goes away.

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