In the self-storage industry, site security is a basic requirement. Visible security on the property assists in protecting your investment and creates a sense of comfort for tenants.

May 5, 2010

7 Min Read
Self-Storage Operators Capitalize on Visible Security: Observable Equipment Protects the Investment and Comforts Customers

In the self-storage industry, site security is a basic requirement. Visible security on the property assists in protecting your investment and creates a sense of comfort for tenants.

With the right products, a well-designed security solution becomes an effective tool for setting your business apart from the rest of the pack. Capitalize on the facility’s security characteristics, and your successful enterprise will retain customers who’ve already chosen your business and attract those who might.

If you want to establish your business as the facility of choice by promoting site security, keep two things in mind: customer perception, and component benefits of the solution itself. Fortunately, you can influence both. 

Inspect Your Property’s System

First, take a comprehensive look at your site security and evaluate whether the components are visible and provide the features and benefits your business requires. You should proactively inspect your equipment to ensure the acceptable condition of all components.

Also, market the value of your security to customers. Security options will speak for themselves, and customers will notice the difference between your facility and others in the area. You’ll want to make sure your business lives up to any claims you make about security in print, in person or online. 

The Solutions

Among the components of effective site security are individual unit-door alarms, unit overlock devices, alert systems, security cameras, video monitors and digital video recorders (DVRs). All of these products provide layers of protection for your facility. In addition, access-control systems and facility-management tools can affect the customer’s perception of effective security.

Not only will you attract and retain customers, industry studies indicate that facilities with visible security and electronic access control can command rental rates nearly 30 percent higher. Whether you plan to upgrade, expand or construct a new facility, costs for site security are extremely low when compared to a typical facility’s revenue. Here’s a breakdown of some common security products every owner should consider.

Door alarms and overlock devices for individual units. These products attract prospective tenants by increasing security at the unit. Owners benefit by adding competitive advantages and are able to command higher rental rates for the secured units. Door alarms enable the monitoring of every door status reactively. An overlock system will provide proactive benefits such as discouraging tailgating into the facility, preventing unit access during a customer’s extended absence, and improving documentation of site activity.

Cameras, monitors and DVRs. A video system supports an owner’s marketing efforts by making security very visible to customers in the main office and throughout the property. These devices can also reveal the truth about incidents that could result in loss or property damage.

Alert systems.  Alert systems are economical solutions that can be placed anywhere it’s important to detect a pedestrian or approaching vehicle.

Access-control system. Controllers and access devices help manage customer and visitor traffic through secured entryways such as gates, doors and elevators. Products that automate access control and contribute to site security minimize the potential for illegal or unwanted activities and enable a facility to demand higher rental rates.

Gate keypads. For the best security, add keypads with four-line display, additional relays and a color camera at entrances and exits. A free exit loop is less expensive, but an exit keypad identifies everyone on the site at the time of vandalism or theft, and can re-arm the unit if door alarms and overlock devices are included in the solution.

Keypads for building doors. Keypads used with a door strike or magnetic lock automate access and secure entrances to wine storage or areas for pharmaceutical or document storage. Add a keypad to an elevator, and you can control and secure tenant access to specific floors.

Gate and door operators. Commercial gate operators are the most common form of perimeter access control. Commercial door operators, ideal for premium storage of boats and RVs, provide additional customer convenience and security at each unit.

Stand-alone access control. A basic access-control system is a practical solution for perimeter access at small facilities or added interior-door access at larger sites. Although they’re independent of a more advanced integrated solution, these devices provide automated access control and important visible layers of security at a facility.

Lighting. Using functionality provided in the access-control system controller, you can automatically turn lights on as a customer moves through the facility and turn the lights off when the last customer leaves.

Music and intercom systems. A music system can soften a stark environment. When combined with strategically positioned intercom substations, the system can provide a sense of security for prospective customers.

Site graphics. Nothing demonstrates security like the status of every unit displayed graphically in the lobby. Customized, color-coded maps guide prospective customers to featured units and provide quick tracking of site activity. Add individual unit door alarms, and you’ll be able to visually monitor the status of every door.

Promoting your facility’s site security sends a clear message to would-be criminals and gives your current and future customers comfort. The right products working together will protect your investment, and give you an effective marketing tool to establish your business as the facility of choice in your community. 

As marketing manager for Chamberlain Access Solutions, Nikki Estrada leads the promotion of the company’s offerings. Chamberlain develops and manufactures access control, site security, and facility-management products and services for the self-storage industry. Offering the AccessMaster, PTI and Digitech brands, the company delivers integrated hardware, software and service solutions for customers worldwide. For more information, call 800.331.6224; visit


Dealing With Business Challenges

Business challenge: Theft

The solution: The right access control, site security and facility-management solutions will help protect an owner’s investment. Products and tools that secure a site’s perimeter, assist with recording revenue transactions, and provide evidence when needed will reduce the potential for incidents that result in revenue loss or property theft.

Recommended products: Individual unit-overlock devices, facility-management software, automatic gate and door operators, code and card tenant-access devices, cameras, monitors, and digital video recorders. 

Business challenge: Illegal activities and property abandonment

The solution: Attention to perimeter access control will deter intruders and minimize the potential for illegal or unwanted activities such as dumping or abandonment of materials. The right security solution can reveal the truth about acts of vandalism that result in property damage.

Recommended products: In addition to the ones mentioned above, pedestrian and vehicle-alert systems. 

Business challenge: Providing tenant services

The solution: Expansion of services and conveniences for tenants can increase revenue and customer satisfaction.Products that extend hours of operation, increase tenant communication with the office, and make site security more visible are indispensible for expanding services and adding competitive advantages.

Recommended products: In addition to the ones mentioned above, radio-frequency transmitters, intercoms, and music and paging systems. 

Business challenge: Increasing revenue

The solution: The perceptions of prospective tenants are influenced by systems that are superior to the equipment at other neighborhood storage facilities. Periodic security and access additions can validate rent increases for existing tenants.Studies show that more than 75 percent of tenants feel anytime access is important, and more than 30 percent are willing to pay more for this service. Fifty percent of renters believe it’s important to have security at the unit, and 22 percent are willing to pay more for it. Facilities can command rental rates nearly 30 percent higher with visible security and electronic access control.

Recommended products: All of the above.

Related Articles:

Overcoming the Threat of the Bump Key: Protecting Your Self-Storage Facility From This Theft Device

Tackling Self-Storage Security Installation: What Facility Operators Should Know

Finding the Right Combination of Self-Storage Security System Components

Marketing Self-Storage Security

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