Truck rentals are among the most complementary add-on products to the self-storage industry and an excellent source of ancillary income. Nearly everyone who moves into a facility does so by using a truck in some fashion. Although most self-storage operators offer tenants free use of a facility moving truck, there are additional ways to capitalize on this existing service and generate more revenue.
There are several truck-rental programs available, each offering different options and styles to fit a facility's needs. There are two primary programs in the self-storage industry: one-way moves or local moves. One-way moves are offered to customers who are moving a distance. In this case, the vehicle doesnt need to be returned to the original destination. Operators who offer this type of service receive a commission on each rental.
Local moves can be even be more lucrative since the truck is designated to a facility and allows the operator to brand his business on the vehicle itself. This is a creative marketing tool to rent more units. Local trucks are often rented to the customer for free in lieu of giving away free rent, creating a better net operating income and maximizing facility value.
Regardless of which program you choose, here are several strategies you can use to enhance your truck-rental program and generate more revenue.
The Extra Charges
Offering free use of the facilitys truck doesnt mean there isnt any ancillary income to be made. One way to garner profit from a truck rental is by charging for mileage and fuel. For most tenants, this will be nominal and far less than renting from an outside source. Operators can also rent to customers who are not tenants and tenants who are moving out of the facility.
Another way to add more dollars to a sale is by limiting how much time a tenant can use a truck. Free use can easily be determined by the size of the unit rented. For example, a tenant renting a 5-by-10 unit should be limited to two free hours, but a bigger unit might warrant three or four hours. If more time is needed, tenants can be charged by the hour.
A Branding Opportunity
Facilities offering truck rental can also maximize their return on investment through marketing, implementing a loyalty card and soliciting other businesses.
Spending time on eye-catching graphics for a facilitys truck makes marketing the service even easier. The truck will double as an effective rolling billboard that generates leads. Because the truck represents your business, take special care to keep it clean and in great working condition. The truck should also be advertised on all promotional materials including the facility website and brochures. The more the truck is on the road, the more a facility is branded.
These days, everyone has several loyalty cards, from grocery stores to gas stations. These work because consumers perceive them as having great value and believe theyre getting a good deal. Contractors and retail shops need rental trucks more often than storage customers, so working with them on a loyalty program will keep them devoted to any facility with a truck.
Working with other businesses such as apartment communities and real estate offices can also maximize the profit of your truck-rental program. When these companies have a new customer, theyll need to refer him to a moving company or storage facility. Capitalizing on this relationship can generate leads. These businesses may even allow you to park the truck in the apartment or office parking lot. This can give your facility additional exposure and potential customers.
The pricing of your rental truck should be indicative of the cost of renting it. Operators should shop their local competitors to gauge what they should charge. They should also consider splitting Friday, Saturday and Sunday into two or three rental possibilities or rent the truck by the hour. Holidays and peak rental seasons garner premium rates as well. People move most often on the weekend, so offering midweek specials will encourage rentals during downtime.
Remember, its up to facility managers to keep trucks on the road, so they should be incented to do so. The better the incentive package, the more often a truck will be put into use. Consider offering staff a bonus or other incentives to ensure theyre actively selling your rental-truck program.
Having either one-way or local rental trucks at a facility can generate additional ancillary income. There are several truck-rental providers to assist any size facility to embark on this opportunity. A program can typically be set up at any facility within a week. Nows the time to think about truck rentals and become the competition in your market.
CJ Steen has been with On The Move Inc. officially for five years, serving as the companys marketing director, but unofficially for 20 years as granddaughter of the company founder. Her first job was as a facility relief manager. Shes been in the self-storage industry for 12 years. For more information, call 800.645.9949; e-mail [email protected]; visit www.onthemovetrucks.com.