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Self-Storage Operators and Marketing Gurus Debate Specials: What Works and What Doesn't?


Some self-storage facilities offer $1 specials or a free month of rent. Others offer free use of move-in trucks. Some get creative and pitch a 50 percent discount for the first two months to protect themselves from tenants who want a free month but will stop paying after they get it. Whatever the method, self-storage operators clamor for fresh ways to entice new tenants while still protecting their interests.

Their fervor is evident in a recent Self-Storage Talk thread called "$1 Special vs. 1st Month Free vs. 50% off 2 months vs. Free Truck," which has dozens of responses only a couple of days after it started. Member annek began the discussion to gauge which promotion methods facilities are using, especially in a hyper-competitive market. Here are a couple of notable posts, including one that chastises specials in general for being harmful to the industry:

From member mrodrigues: "We are in an area where price is king. We have found we get a lot of rentals solely on our specials being better than those around us. We are an older facility that is not nearly in as good condition as the newer ones around us. Our combination of best price and superior customer service is what drives our business ... The more we are willing to do to help our client's pocketbooks, the longer we keep them and the more referrals they bring in."

From member StorLyon: "This industry is frankly stupid to have ever introduced the temporary move-in special price. Like amazingly stupid. Dumber than a box of rocks. It hurts us, it hurts long-term customers, it blinds our market analysis, and it only helps the kind of customer we don't really want. It makes the pricing strategy unfair, as the overall cost per month is radically lower the shorter a customer's stay. The only reason we're doing it is because everybody's doing it and we can't be the only ones who don't offer 'specials.'"

If you have a reaction to this or a story about how specials have or haven't worked at your facility, jump in on the thread and give your take. Only registered members can post, but registration is free and can be done at

Live and growing since 2008, Self-Storage Talk is the official forum of Inside Self-Storage, a dynamic services company that provides publications, events and educational resources for the self-storage industry. SST has approximately 3,980 members, 23 different topical forums, 3,985 discussion threads and 34,875 posts.

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