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Teri Lanza

Teri Lanza
Editorial Director
tlanza@vpico.com

Self-Storage Newbie Finds the Right Fit for Her Stuff

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A guest installment by ISS Editorial Intern Rachel Adams

As with many people who turn to self-storage as a solution, I recently entered a transitional period in my life. I was moving back home with my parents to combat my last semester of college after four years on my own. While I had accumulated plenty of memories and life experience, I had also accumulated plenty of stuff. There was room at home for the memories, but there was no way one more pot would fit into mom's kitchen!

Dad showed up for the move, loaded my belongings and off we went looking for a place to put all those things that have no place. We ended up at a storage facility less than a mile from my parents' house. For me, renting a storage unit was like extending my closet. Since I had to store so many things that I still use on a fairly regular basis, I needed to rent somewhere nearby with 24-hour access.

With that said, how many tenants are 22-year-old college students moving in with their parents who have the same storage needs as me? Probably not a huge percentage.

In fact, in a thread on Self-Storage Talk, operators are addressing this very issue, discussing the various amenities tenants are seeking in a quality facility. SST member STORExpress Self Storage says, "I tend to think that it can be very dangerous to pin just one or two motivating factors to every customer. Each customer can vary so widely in regards to what they care about in terms of storage."

Security, pricing, location and cleanliness are all listed in the thread as being among the typical tenant's top priorities, although some tenants may also make it a priority to rent from a facility that is locally owned and operated. As SST member StrongTeam notes, "Every customer is different and their needs are different. We just try to go with what the customer's needs are."

Identifying these needs can help in targeting which features to promote. I knew location was important to me, but I hadn't considered the importance of 24-hour access until the manager at the facility told me how essential that would be since I work weekends and have a tight weekly schedule. I've already visited my unit twice after 10 p.m.!

The facility I chose not only has the amenities I need, it has many more features I never considered—all of which I learned from the staff, who asked questions in addition to answering my questions. Thorough and thoughtful help for this self-storage newbie made all the difference in finding the right fit for my storage needs.

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