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4 Analytical Reports to Help You Improve Your Self-Storage Operation

By Rick Beal Comments

Being a self-storage operator can seem overwhelming even on the best days. For many of us, the desire to improve leads us to seek education by attending industry conferences, reading articles and studying business rules. The problem is this quest for knowledge can create or grow frustrations and sometimes make us feel more incompetent than we really are. This journey is almost a rite of passage. It means we care and are trying!

Among the most confusing aspects of daily storage operation is the analytical data at our fingertips. It’s OK. You’re not alone.

Discussions about data use can be compared to a horde of teenage boys gossiping about the birds and the bees. Everyone is talking about it, but nobody really knows how to do it. Everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so they claim they’re doing it. Well, guess what? You can be the one who’s actually doing it! Let’s review several reports on which I rely to improve my operation. Used effectively, they can benefit your business.

Setting Goals

Every self-storage facility needs goals to guide growth. These are a commitment to improve. If you fail to establish company objectives, you’re wasting valuable time and effort. You must know what you’re working toward with respect to retail sales, rentals and reviews. Employees must be given a path to walk, knowing their efforts assist in achieving the overall aims of the business.

That said, goals are meaningless without measurement and follow-through. This is why it’s essential to continually and consistently review your progress using operational performance reports from your facility’s management software.

Customer Market Report

What are the sources of your customers? Every experienced operator needs to know, with relative certainty, from where he gets his tenants. You can’t just take your best guess at this. Decisions related to marketing dollars, staffing, search engine optimization, unit pricing and even business expansion can all stem from understanding your customer pipeline.

To track this, use your management software to record every contact you have with potential customers, whether on the phone, in person or online. This takes time, but as you collect the data, it’ll help you make informed decisions that affect your store. Instead of guessing or being reactive, you’ll be proactive like many of your competitors.

How much better would you be as an operator if you could easily gather customer-acquisition information and examine it on a consistent basis? Take the time to make decisions based on the statistics.

Rate-Increase Report

I’ve attended many seminars in which speakers insist that raising rates doesn’t cause customers to move out. While I’ve always agreed, I needed to know for myself. I called technical support for my management software and learned there isn’t an easily accessible report to determine if this is true; however, because I believed understanding the effect of raising rental rates was important, I continued the pursuit. After an arduous process, I discovered a report I could export and modify to finally glean the information I desired.

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