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Awake Your Money-Makers: Add-On Sales for Self-Storage

When it comes to fortifying your self-storage facility's bottom line, you can cut costs, create more income or both; but its important to remember theres a lot more to revenue than collecting rent. Add-on products and services can be murky water for facility operators, many of who never delve any deeper than the sale of packing and moving supplies. But ancillaries offer significant potential for customer interaction, satisfaction and conversion in addition to providing a profit opportunity.

When it comes to examining the health of your self-storage facilitys bottom line, most of you would welcome new ways to fortify it. You can do this by cutting costs, generating more income or both; but its important to remember that theres a lot more to income than collecting rent. Operators can generate revenue through administrative and late fees, tenant-insurance commissions and, of course, add-on products and services.

That last is murky water for many storage operators. Sure, many of you sell the standard collection of boxes, packing tape and bubble wrap, but how many of you have a truly optimized retail space? And how many venture beyond the realm of moving supplies?

Facility managers and owners have sometimes debated the worthiness of investing in ancillary offerings, some of which are resource intensive and others of which are fairly simple but still require care. For example, consider building out a formal wine-storage area at your site vs. renting propane tanks. No matter which add-on you choose, however, you have to factor in the cost of implementation, staffing and marketing to the equation. If the return doesnt significantly outweigh the outlay, youre better off without.

In a recent thread on Self-Storage Talk, Top-Selling Side Product, members discussed the add-on products theyve triedthe ones that work, the ones that dont, and their thoughts on ones yet untested. The results werent particularly surprising, and the bulk of the responses focused on packing materials. But theres so much more your customers could be clamoring for; the trick is finding a new niche in your market.

If you want ideas, check out the new slideshow posted on InsideSelfStorage.com, 10 Amazing Money-Makers: Add-On Products and Services for Self-Storage. It covers nine of the most popular ancillaries for storage operations as well as a wild card outlining several imaginative choices. You can also read in-depth articles about a wide range of supplementary services on our Add-On Services topics page.

I regularly get press releases across the wire about storage facilities adding new offerings to their operation. For example, in recent weeks, LifeStorage Centers added records-management storage at all 18 of its ChicagoLand facilities. Just Right Self Storage of Ottawa, Canada, is now offering truck rental. And Penn Valley Mini Storage of California has added document shredding to its list of services. This is just a small sampling.

Whether youre a self-storage owner, manager, investor or builder, youre out to accomplish one fundamental goal: to make money. With the appropriate planning, add-on profit centers can be a great way to drive additional revenue. Research your market for its needs, and give customers the products and services they require. Not only will it generate more profit at the time of sale, these transactions are an excellent opportunity to educate consumers on your real bread and butter: storage.

Id love to hear from readers about the add-ons theyve tried at their facilities, both the money-makers and the bank-breakers. Please share your experiences on the blog.

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