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Self-Storage Rules and Regulations: Spice Them Up With Innovation and Fun

Putting a little diversion into your communication with self-storage tenants will catch their attention, improve your customer relations and help present your facility in a positive light. Here are suggestions for spicing up your facility's rules and regulationsusually so dry and boringso customers will be more apt to follow them.

September 27, 2011

4 Min Read
Self-Storage Rules and Regulations: Spice Them Up With Innovation and Fun

By RK Kliebenstein

Many successful companies have that proven cheeky or less than conventional approaches to even the most serious business topics can have stellar results. Just look at Southwest Airlines, a company famous for getting your attention during the pre-flight instruction. Rather than some droll recording, its flight attendants customize and personalize their announcements.

Why shouldnt we take a similar approach in self-storage? Some levity in our communication with tenants might go a long way toward improving customer relations.

One of the most boring self-storage documents is the facility rules and regulations. Every property has a set of such guidelines for tenants. Its important stuff, but usually pretty dull. For example, most facilities have a rule for tenants to follow when they wish to vacate their storage space. It usually goes something like, A tenant wishing to vacate his or her storage space must provide seven days of notice prior to move-out, and the unit must be left empty and clean. Its a good rule, but how can you spice it up? Try one of these humorous approaches, which make plays on Paul Simons popular song 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover:

  • There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but theres only one way to leave your storage space at XYZ Storage.

  • You can step out the back, Jack, but we prefer you use our exit gate.

  • You can make a new plan, Stan, and we hope the next time you need storage, you plan to choose us. 

  • You can drop off the key, Lee, and we want to remind you that you are a paying guest up until the time you remove your lock from the space.

  • Please stop by the office and leave us a love note on one of our so sorry forms, or send a Dear John e-mail to [email protected].

Presenting Things in a Positive Light

Rules and regulations tend to be negative, frequently structured as do nots. We almost always use downbeat messaging to get these important points across. But such instructions do nothing to build positive relations with customers. Consider these fun alternatives:

  • Boring: No smoking on the premises at any time.

  • Fun 1: If youre smoking at our facility, well assume youre on fire and need to be extinguished, so expect to be drenched by our hose.

  • Fun 2: Maybe our competitors encourage smoking, but we like you and would like you to be around for many years. Please be smoke-free on our property.

  • Boring: No tailgating.

  • Fun 1: Nine out of 10 insurance companies recommend tailgating for tenants who like to fill out insurance claims and pay deductibles.

  • Fun 2: Tailgating may be away to meet new friends, although we highly recommend Match.com.

Keep It Legal

If you choose to liven up your facility rules and regulations, make sure you have them reviewed by your legal counsel. This is always a good practice, whether you take a straightforward approach or create something more innovative. Nothing says you cant have two sets of rulesan official version and one thats more entertaining. Perhaps laminate a copy of the fun set to go over with your customers at the time of lease signing, and then give them a copy of the stuffy set to take with them.

If you work for a self-storage chain or corporation, get full approval from your supervisor before going all Ernest Hemingway on your facility rules. Your employer may have strict guidelines and disapprove of any deviation from corporate policy. Then again, who knows? Maybe your boss will read your creative work and decide its time for a change.

Putting a little diversion into your communication with self-storage tenants will catch their attention, improve your customer relations and help present your facility in a positive light.

RK Kliebenstein is the author of How to Make Money in Self-Storage and How to Make MORE Money in Self-Storage, available at www.h2mmm.com. Hes also vice president of business development for Metro Storage LLC, which offers third-party management assignments and acquisitions of multi-store portfolios. To reach him, call 623.234.1231; e-mail [email protected].

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