Security is a reluctant purchase in most markets, but not so in the self-storage market. The difference is self-storage operators can use security as a marketing strategy and, therefore, devote more attention to it than virtually any other commercial enterprise.
Storage customers need to be assured about the safety and security of their belongings. This is where overt security becomes a major marketing point. Thus a site’s security features translate into benefits for the customer in terms of peace of mind.
Every self-storage site has different security needs so solutions need to be flexible. Below are three examples of facilities in Australia where unique security solutions have been successfully applied.
Wine Ark, a wine-storage facility in an inner Sydney suburb, features a thick wooden door in a steel frame studded with steel bolts. The security system includes keypads and biometric fingerprint scan all linked by software and the software controller. The keypad at the front door allows entry to a foyer. Both the entrance door and the foyer feature closed-circuit television.
Entry to the vault from the foyer is achieved via a biometric fingerprint scan. This is linked back to the security controller and also to a separate PC for customer enrollment. Once the finger scan matches the template stored on the reader, a sliding steel door opens and the individual alarm on the private vault is disarmed.
Wine Ark also features fully regulated temperature and moisture control with multiple backup systems, including back-to-base alarms and sprinkler systems. The high-tech measures create an environment of maximum security for criminal and environmental risks. Because wine storage has high value per square meter, security is a critical sales and marketing tool.
In complete contrast to Wine Ark, CBD Storage is in a public underground multi-story car park in the center of Sydney. This presents significant risks as well as opportunities. Although anyone can enter the site, the potential client base is huge, as it consists of thousands of local businesses and inner-city dwellers. The developer spent a significant percentage of the fit-out budget on security, with the market intent to offer convenience and security to an inner-city clientele.
The security includes access control and alarms on all units. Since access to the site is available to any car-park user, it is backed up with a CCTV system featuring IP cameras connected to local hubs on each floor and fed back to a gigabit hub in the security control room. All recording is based on motion detection, and the cameras are sited to avoid capturing normal vehicular traffic. The management and recording is managed by a software-based solution allowing various types of storage.
The access control is limited to allowing free parking for self-storage customers as well as disarming and then rearming their individual units, which is accomplished by using keypads on one of the entry lanes to the car park and one of the exit lanes. This works for customers with cars, but there is also a shopping center, hotel and apartments above the car park, so customers can also be pedestrians.
To cater to these tenants, there is a manned reception office and marketing area on the top level. Outside the office are two keypads, one for entry and disarming, the other for exit and re-arming.
Aquastack, Perth, Australia
The third site is Aquastack, a specialized boat storage facility in Perth. The site has what looks like a giant cage with big sliding gates. Robust delinquency control is achieved by using an access-control system coupled with high fences enclosing huge racks for storing boats.
Security also consists of reliable lifting equipment and racks. The standard of construction is very visible, and the size and structure are also a strong marketing feature.
In addition to site security, the software package manages all access control and security functions in partnership with accounting software, giving the self-storage operator control of delinquencies and reducing business risk.
The type of security each site needs depends on a variety of variables including location, market conditions, special storage requirements for niche markets and, of course, budget. However, the common element is that for any site to be successful and profitable visible security systems are essential for both customer and owner peace of mind.
Martin Dugdale is the principal of Holdfast Security Pty. Ltd., the agent for Digitech products in Australia and New Zealand. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].