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Is it Time for a Makeover? Tips to Perk Up Your Self-Storage Property

As competition heats up for self-storage operators, it's imperative your facility is in top-notch shape. Whether you’ve grown accustomed to overlooking the cracks in your asphalt or no longer notice the peeling paint on your building, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate your facility’s overall look. Be honest, would you rent a unit there? if the answer is no, it could be time for a makeover.  

I recently decided to tackle a project that was long overdue: painting my living room. While the back of the house (bedrooms, hallway, bathrooms) and even the kitchen had received a fresh coat—or two—since moving in more than a decade ago, I had yet to paint the biggest room in my home. There were several reasons the project languished. First, painting meant moving a lot of furniture and various wall hangings. It also required a financial investment as the room would need more than just a single can. But the time had arrived and I wanted to put this project behind me.

I enlisted the help of my son to tackle the chore. However, once he discovered why I was painting white walls “white” once again, he was confused. He couldn’t understand my reasoning. I explained it wasn’t simply about the color, but adding a fresh coat to what had become lackluster walls. Once finished, he admitted the room looked brighter and cleaner.

Just as my family has become immune to the drab walls of our living room, you may also not notice certain aspects of your self-storage property that are badly in need of an overhaul. Perhaps the unit doors aren’t as shiny as they once were or the office blinds have more than a few blades askew. Whether you’ve grown accustomed to overlooking the cracks in your asphalt or no longer notice the peeling paint on your building, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate your facility’s overall look. Be honest, would you rent a unit there?

Whether you’re a DYI-kind of person or hire someone else to do the work, the first step is to evaluate what improvements will make the most impact for your facility. For many properties, an exterior and interior paint job combined with freshly cleaned unit doors will do the trick. Never downplay the power of new paint. Others may fine more extensive projects could greatly enhance their site. Perhaps the doors need to be replaced or a new unit configuration will spur business growth.

Another challenge many storage owners face today is a full facility. Sure, it’s a great problem to have, but turning away money is painful. Could an expansion help you keep up with demand? Dozens of operators have taken on this challenge, adding new buildings to their existing sites, purchasing an adjacent parcel or buying land nearby to create a satellite property.

Another way they’re growing is through portable-storage units, which can be added quickly and take the construction challenges out of the equation. These freestanding structures can also be placed in areas where a traditional storage building can’t be built. The units can even be customized to match your existing doors and branding.

Replacing a property’s lighting components has become a hot topic in the industry as more operators move to energy-efficient LED lights. Not only can they help you save money because they last longer, they will also help you create a safer environment.

Additional upgrades that can perk up a property include fresh landscaping, painting your bollards, new window treatments (particularly if your shades or curtains are well-worn), replacing office countertops and flooring, or adding solar panels. All these improvements will rejuvenate your site as well as show prospective and existing customers you care about maintaining it.

Most self-storage operators are facing fresh competition in their markets as new properties open. But just because something is new doesn’t mean it’s the better choice. Don’t compete with these new sites on price. Instead, win customers because your storage facility is simply the best on the block in every way.

Has your property undergone a makeover? Share your story by posting a comment below or on Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s largest online community.

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