The 24-hour retail operations, or "two-four stores," popped up first in Texas in the '60s at 7/11 stores, and ever since, customers (Americans, especially) have demanded businesses be open 24 hours a day. With Walmart, the planet's largest retailer, boasting ubiquitous 24-hour supercenters where consumers can buy most everything they would ever need, some seem to think the always-open tenet should apply to self-storage, too. And for the past several years, 24/7 access has been an often-debated issue: Should facilities offer anytime access to their tenants?
The debate surfaces again on Self-Storage Talk, the industry's largest online forum, as member ams.norma made an inaugural post asking, "Do you offer 24-hour access"? Most of the respondents have indicated they do not offer all-time-access, even those facilities that are automated or partially automated (kiosk). Member oms.mgr.Dustin writes, "We used to offer 24-hour access until some other facilities found people making meth in their 24-hour storage. After that, we cut 24 hour access and have reserved it to those with parking spaces and mainly those with motor homes. It's a shame the mass are punished for the few idiots, but what else can you do, short of having 24-hour staff to monitor people?" Do your facilities limit access like those in the thread? If so, do you have certain tenants you make exceptions for? If not, are you finding it worthwhile to be 24/7? Does it help you attract more customers?
Coincidentally, this discussion is occurring through a medium that's also 24/7: SST. Regardless of the hour or day of the week, other industry pros can be logged into SST, ready to interact and share advice. To post, you must become one of SST's 4,200+ registered members, but registration is free and takes only a few minutes. You can do it at www.selfstoragetalk.com/register.