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Curb Appeal: The Key to Luring in the Customer

Most people checking out self-storage are looking for a place to keep items they care about. A properly maintained property shows the facility manager shares their customers' desire. Good curb appeal is a critical component to attracting new customers and retaining current ones.

Amy Campbell

July 7, 2009

3 Min Read
Curb Appeal: The Key to Luring in the Customer

Facility grades are based upon many factors, one of which is location, but even with a less than desirable location you can draw people into your store. A fresh coat of paint, a flat of flowers and a clean property speaks volumes in a customer’s eyes.
 
As the person in charge, I’m constantly reminding staff members to walk outside and look around. I like for each staff member to start at the street, approaching our place and taking a good look around. Is there trash in the street gutter? If so, we pick it up. We’re located in a business park so what's usually blowing around is someone’s packing material from our place. Picking up the litter makes the approach to our place pleasant, and simultaneously makes us good neighbors.

Next in line is our street sign, the first flowerbed and our massive flag. Have the birds been resting atop the sign after a lunch of bugs and berries? Well, then it needs to be cleaned as no one wants to see tons of bird droppings as a first impression. Is there a 2-foot tall dandelion that doesn’t match with your flower-planting color scheme? Then it needs to be yanked out.

Next I have the staff look up and determine if our flag is in good condition. Are there any signs of peeling paint on the gates, or other maintenance issues to address? If we find something it's noted and addressed.
 
The parking lot and the stepping stones through the main flowerbed are next on the list. We pick up any litter, and sweep up leaves and such that have blown into the corners of the three-stall parking lot. As we approach the office, we take a look at the windows to determine if they are spotless, including the windowsills where the dust loves to collect. If they’re dirty, it takes literally five minutes or less to grab a wet cloth and wipe down nine windowsills. When they're clean, the whole place feels nicer.
 
Opening the office door brings forth the other items on our daily to-do list. Is the office neat and tidy? Is the coffee, water and snack area clean and well stocked? Is the office in need of a wipe down or a quick pass with the vacuum? Are all the items stocked and ready for the customer’s purchase? If all is well, it’s out to the customer restroom for a quick peek and restocking of any necessary items.

All in all, if we needed to do every one of the things above, the entire process takes easily less than an hour for one person. Some may argue this point, but if you do this type of inspection continually, the jobs are easier as there is less to do each time. For example, if a toilet stays dirty for days, it's harder to clean and, therefore, takes longer than if you had cleaned it earlier. The same holds true for a dusty office or carpet that never gets vacuumed.

Maintaining a clean place is a lot easier than cleaning it once every month or so. Walk outside and be your customer, look at your place through their eyes and ask yourself? Would I rent here? Do I like what I see?
 
When a potential renter sees that nothing is out of place, your facility could be 25 years old but will show like a new one simply because you are showing that you care. Most people checking out a storage facility are looking for a place to keep items they care about. A properly maintained property shows you share their desire for caring for items. Curb appeal for your facility is truly that simple.  

For more on curb appeal, check out these articles from the ISS archives:

A Self-Storage Cinderella Story

Capture Self-Storage Tenants With Low-Cost Curb Appeal

Self-Storage Maintenance Retains Customers and Property Value

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

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