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6 Ways a Mobile App Can Positively Impact Your Self-Storage Operation

As modern consumers, we use mobile apps to do nearly everything these days, from booking reservations and shopping to monitoring our health and banking. So, why not make your own app to use as part of your self-storage service mix? Here are six ways it can positively impact your operation.

Rachael Osborn

February 9, 2024

4 Min Read

Mobile-app use has become commonplace for consumers. Today we use apps to shop, make reservations, read news, bank, monitor our health, communicate with friends and much, much more. So, why not consider developing an app for your self-storage prospects and tenants? As technology evolves, facility operators must adapt, particularly if new tools can streamline property management and optimize the rental and move-in process for customers.

In essence, mobile apps should be designed to make life easier for business operators and users. When built correctly, they drive sales, enhance convenience, bolster service and ease staff workload. Let’s look at six specific ways an app could positively impact your self-storage facility.

1. Rentals

We live in a largely contactless world, and customers frequently want to conduct business remotely. When it comes to self-storage, they often want to rent a unit online and even move in on the same day. Good news! You can configure your self-storage mobile app to show them available inventory and rent units. Users can choose their space, e-sign a lease and get a facility access code, all without having to call or visit the facility.

This enhances user convenience and speeds up the move-in process, but it also helps you capture more sales leads and frees up managers’ time to handle other responsibilities. It’s particularly appealing for locations that don’t regularly have staff on site.

2. Payments

The ability to collect rent from tenants is central to any self-storage operation. Allowing customers to pay via a mobile app adds convenience and reduces friction. It also takes cash and payment cards out of the hands of your onsite staff, minimizing human error and potential risk. In fact, it removes cash from the equation altogether.

An app-based system makes the payment process faster and more efficient. Not only does it facilitate situations in which a tenant is locked out and frustrated due to delinquency, it means rent can be paid at any time, even when the office is closed.

3. Move-Outs

A move-out feature is another great customer convenience, as many people avoid in-person and phone communication these days. Tenants will appreciate being able to notify you of their intent to vacate their self-storage unit on the mobile app. It can facilitate things for your managers, too. It helps minimize miscommunication and eliminate instances of no communication.

4. Activity Monitoring

Whether you own or manage a single self-storage facility or multiple locations, the ability to view gate activity via your app can be extremely helpful. An activity log lets you see when tenants entered the property and the access code they used. If a tenant calls and says they’ve entered their code three times but the gate won’t open, you can check the log in real time to troubleshoot the issue remotely.

5. Access Control

A feature that allows tenants to open the facility gate via their phone is one of the most sought after options for a self-storage mobile app. Mobile access allows traffic to flow quickly and safely onto the property. No longer do drivers of large vehicles like RVs or moving trucks need to hop out to use the keypad, which is often positioned to accommodate a standard car window. You never want a large vehicle or trailer extending into the street and potentially obstructing traffic. An app helps minimize this risk.

6. Feedback

Another solid option to include on a self-storage mobile app is the ability for customers to report an issue or share feedback. What happens if your gate fails to open, or someone has trouble using your kiosk or getting into their unit? Unfortunate incidents can occur on any property, and staff should be made aware of them as soon as possible. Allowing tenants to report problems quickly and easily through an app can be a saving grace. After all, they’re often the first to know! This is especially true at remotely managed sites.

Building Your App

When seeking to create a mobile app for your self-storage operation, start by compiling a list of features you’d like it to include. Consider conveniences and functions for customers as well as ownership and staff. Next, search the web for providers to find a solution that matches your needs.

As you examine potential vendors, take note of their customer service and inquire about their tech support. Look for ones whose platform will integrate with your existing facility-management software. Further, read their online reviews. Users will often comment when they’re frustrated or upset, or when they’re particularly impressed with a company or product.

Additional research can be conducted by attending tradeshows like the annual Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Las Vegas, where industry suppliers showcase their products, offer demonstrations and answer customer questions. There’s no better place to connect with other operators who can share their experiences and point you in the right direction.

No technology is perfect, but the pros of adding a mobile app to your self-storage service mix outweigh the cons. It’ll quickly increase brand awareness, create more appeal for your business and personalize the customer experience. It can even be used as a new marketing channel. Most of all, an app will enable faster and more secure rentals and payments and help take the load off of your onsite management team.

Rachael Osborn is managing director at SpiderDoor, which specializes in cellular gate-access control. The company also offers collections solutions, mobile apps, unit alarms and more. For more information, call 205.821.6000.

About the Author(s)

Rachael Osborn

Managing Director, SpiderDoor

Rachael Osborn is managing director at SpiderDoor, which specializes in cellular gate-access control. The company also offers collections solutions, mobile apps, unit alarms and more. For more information, call 205.821.6000.

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