Inside Self-Storage 09/2004: Small-Business Packages

September 1, 2004

4 Min Read
Inside Self-Storage 09/2004: Small-Business Packages

Small-Business Packages

By Cary F. McGovern

Small records-storage accounts have two unique attributes.First, they are the easiest to handle; and second, they are by far the mostprofitable. The question has always been how to attract these small accountswithout high sales costs. This article discusses high-yield/low-volume accounts.

Business records are defined as proof of completion of abusiness transaction. Every business and nonprofit organization has them. Inthe universe of your potential prospects, the number of small-business clientsexceeds the number of large clients by 100 times. Traditional commercial-records businesses have not even scratched the surface of the small-businessbase in any market due to the cost of marketing.

Small records-storage clients can be defined as those with upto 200 boxes. These clients abound and are more likely to come into your selfstorage center than to any commercial records center in your market. These clients also have the lowest rate of retrieval,generally are the least trouble and require very little care and handling.

So whats the secret? How can you get these withouttraditional sales calls and salesmen? This is the conundrum that has faced theindustry from its inception. Today we have several factors that make this anideal opportunity for self-storage operators. In last months column, I wroteabout records storage lite, a concept that allows the operator to simplifyhis records-storage operation and maximize square-foot yield. (To read thisarticle, access the online article archive at

Small-Business Packages Defined

A small-business package is a bundle of records-managementservices that costs less than a typical 10-by-10 storage unit and has value to abusiness client beyond simple storage. I recommend developing at least threealternative packages:

  • The Economy Package may include storage of up to 50boxes, one box retrieval per month and will-call service.

  • The Business Package may include storage of up to 100boxes, five box retrievals per month, box-level indexing and will-call service.

  • The Professional Package may include storage of up to200 boxes, 10 box retrievals per month, box-level indexing, file retrieval and acourier-delivery option (for an additional fee).

These three options are simply examples, and the pricing forthese packages can be different in a variety of markets throughout Canada,Europe and the United States. Regardless of your specific pricing structure,there are some key components that make small-business packages attractive toclients.


Small businesses have very little time to properly managetheir records. They have little storage space, no expertise, and no real desireto deal with the growing mess. Boxes are stored hither and yon with very littleorganization. These businesses are looking for you and your services, but theydont even know it!

Off-site records storage adds significant value to theintegrity of business records because clients cannot access records unless theyhave the authority to do so. This avoids the ever-present danger of documenttampering, damage or loss. This ethical and physical barrier has been used toprove the authenticity of business records in court and to regulators.

Another issue all businesses face is storage space. With asmall-business package, companies can now have an incremental perunit cost foradditional boxes. They never need additional rooms or floor space in theiroffices. As a matter of fact, if you provide appropriate levels of service, theymay be able to send more records off site rather than adding additional filingequipment to their own facilities.

The Value to Self-Storage

Small-business packages combined with records management liteallow self-storage owners to provide a simplified service. This adds productdiversification to your business, lengthens your contract terms, and providesthree to five times the per-square-foot of traditional records storage.

The quest in self-storage records management has been de-fined: develop a low-cost service package that is simple to execute, is highlyvaluable to business clients, and has elevated profit margins. This is not aneasy task, but the method I prescribe has been proven by hundreds of facilities.In some cases, yield exceeds that of traditional records management by three orfour times. The best part is, its simple.

Self-storage facilities have significant walk-in traffic, withsome percentage represented by small businesses in any market. You have the opportunity to sell these prospectsrecords-management services. You just need something to offer and know how to present it.

Regular columnist Cary McGovern, CRM, is the principal of FileMan RecordsManagement, which offers full-service records-management assistance forcommercial records storage startups, marketing assistance, and sales training incommercial records-management operations. For assistance in feasibilitydetermination, operational implementation or marketing support, call877.FILEMAN; e-mail [email protected];

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