Are You Open? Determining Your Self-Storage Facility Hours
I admit it. I’m one of those people who just expects things to be open whenever it’s convenient for me. And you can’t really blame me for having this mindset. Over the past decade, we’ve been groomed. Some grocery stores are open around the clock, as are many fast-food and dine-in restaurants. Plus, I can usually get someone from my cell-phone company, home-warranty reps and even tech support for my Internet at odd hours.
So imagine my surprise—and irritation—when I called a retailer last night at 6:57 and was dumped right into voicemail. Granted, it was a pool-supply store so maybe expecting them to be open on a Wednesday at nearly 7 p.m. was unreasonable. While I anticipate the water or electric company to only operate between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., I had grown accustomed to most other businesses to be open beyond those hours.
Operating hours is a critical consideration for every self-storage facility. All facilities differ, with some open 24 hours, seven days a week, while others may be closed during the night hours or even on a weekday or Sunday. There are also holidays to consider.
Much like my expectations that a pool-supply store be open after 5 p.m., I guarantee most folks figure a self-storage facility would be also. For smaller facilities manned by a single owner or onsite manager this can be tough to do. This was the case for Self-Storage Talk member lotr1967. In a recent post, lotr 1967 shared the facility’s winter hours were severely limiting access for customers.
On another SST thread, operators debated the advantages and disadvantages of being open 24/7. While most offer restricted hours, such as 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., a few operators said they’ve made exceptions for tenants who need to access the facility outside the normal business hours.
There are many factors that must be considered when designating a facility’s operating hours. Of course you want your customers to have access to their units, but you also must consider your facility’s security and safety, manager availability, and other overhead expenses. Operators should also consider the operating hours of other facilities in their market.
To ensure customers always understand your operating hours, tell them during the lease signing and post plenty of signs around the property. Small print on the facility office door isn’t enough. Post a larger sign on the entry gate and scatter a few more around the property. While you’ll still get the occasional, “I didn’t know you weren’t open at 11 p.m. on Thursday,” the majority of tenants will remember your operating hours.
How did you determine your facility’s operating hours? Have you ever changed them? Why? Share your story by posting a comment below or on Self-Storage Talk.