ISS BLOG – Message Received: Keeping Your Self-Storage Signage Fresh and Fruitful

The signage at your self-storage facility plays a vital role in conveying information to tenants and prospects while representing your brand. Consider the following guidance to designing and maintaining these important components so your message is well-received.

Amy Campbell, Senior Editor

May 10, 2024

4 Min Read
Safeguard Self Storage, Yonkers, New York

My daughter works at Kohl’s and most of her shifts are spent managing Amazon returns. The online giant contracts with the department store to be a drop-off point for customers to send back unwanted items. For several years, the center was situated at the back of the store. A few weeks ago, though, the company decided to make some major changes. The Amazon station was relocated to what had been the customer-service hub, which was moved to the front of the store. The longtime rows of registers were reconfigured to offer both self-checkout and cashier assistance. It was a huge undertaking that took a few weeks and required a lot of maneuvering.

To announce the major changes, the store added signs everywhere. The backdrop behind both the Amazon and customer-service area clearly designate what these stations entail. There’s a free-standing sign placed 10 feet from the store entrance with an arrow that points customers to Amazon’s new home. There’s also signage near the previous drop-off counter to redirect people with returns.

Despite all this, many customers are clueless. Kohl’s employees have spent the past month explaining where things are now—even though the store is one big circle. It’s been frustrating for them and customers, who often stand in the wrong line until they’re turned away at the counter.

Let me be frank. Many people simply aren’t paying attention. They’re on their phone, stressed about life or just distracted in general. They don’t take the time to figure things out for themselves, even when the answers is right in front of them.

As a self-storage operator, you likely run into this problem with your own signage. Not everyone reads and retains the information, which is problematic. It can lead to upset tenants and possible conflicts. How many times have you heard, “Well, I didn’t know that.”

This doesn’t mean you give up on your signage. On the contrary, it should be a focal point of your operation. Your signage is often the first interaction a person has with your storage company when they arrive at your property. They’re scanning the scene, looking for directions to the front office, and glancing at building and unit door numbers. Your signage provides information to your customers and represents your brand image. Consider these pointers to get your message across.

Types of signage. This can vary, but the signage your self-storage property should have includes hours of operation, property rules, use of cameras, wayfinding, exits, and restroom and front office location. Many operators display a lit open sign in their window that’s easily recognizable from the street.

You might also need signage in certain instances such as during repairs or maintenance. There are Americans With Disabilities Act compliances as well. Other potential signage include announcements such as rental specials, sponsorships or community events in which your facility is involved.

Design. The clearer, the better. No one wants to read small type, cursive fonts or be subjected to wild color schemes. Keep them simple and clear. If you need to convey a lot of information, consider using bullet points or truncated sentences. You can also add icons or visual aids.

In addition, be specific! Add a headline such as “Property Rules,” followed by a short explanation or bulleted list. Use as few words as possible to communicate your message. Some storage operators are experimenting with QR codes. With a click of their camera, customers can be led to vital information. They’re easy to set up and use.

Placement. This is key! Of course, this will greatly depend on the message. For example, you might hang a banner announcing a rental space where passersby will see it. Hours of operation signage should be near the keypad and posted in various places around the facility. Also, be mindful of keeping signage at eye level. No one wants to strain to read your site rules.

Maintenance. Like other physical components of your storage facility, your signage needs to be maintained. Weather can have a huge impact on their overall quality. Letters will fade, vinyl banners might tear or the message could be outdated. The best way to stay on top of this is to set a schedule to examine, clean and repair your signage. There will also come a time when signage needs to be replaced. Acting swiftly shows your customers that you care about your property. We’ve all seen signs with dropped letters. While it can be funny, it just looks bad and sends a negative image about your brand.

For many self-storage operators, spring and summer are the busiest time of the year. While you’re prepping your site for the onslaught of new rentals, add your property’s signage to the to-do list. As an integral part of your self-storage business, signage plays a significant role in conveying important information to your tenants and prospects. It also enhances your brand’s visibility.

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Senior Editor, Inside Self Storage

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