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Is Your Tech Outdated? Why Your Self-Storage Operation Needs an Upgrade

If the technology at your self-storage facility was added more than five years ago, it’s outdated. Truly. The industry has ushered in a bounty of new tools that’ll benefit your business and your tenants. Read on to find out why now’s the time to upgrade.

Amy Campbell

November 3, 2023

3 Min Read
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I was recently in the checkout line at a retail store when a person approached the employee and asked if they accept Apple Pay. With an apologetic look, she said their payment machines aren’t equipped for this kind of mobile payment. The customer looked at the item in his hand, shook his head, then handed it to her and said, “I guess I won’t be buying this then” and left. I can vouch that the payment machines at this store are outdated. While they’ve moved beyond the old “swipe your card method” to be chip-enabled, they didn’t have tap, which is becoming increasingly common and popular, especially for people who prefer to pay with their mobile wallet.

In a thread on Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s most active online community, member EagleEye writes that they get the question about accepting Apple Pay a few times a week. They added, “This technology isn't just wildly convenient, but more secure than carrying a credit card.” Unfortunately, the software used at their site doesn’t accommodate this payment type. And they’re not alone. Many self-storage operators are grappling every day with outdated technology at their sites, not just for payments, but a variety of their security and access components, too.

The self-storage industry has welcomed a tidal wave of technology in recent years. While the isolation days of the pandemic might’ve been the catalyst for much of it, consumer habits and demand are the force behind the continuing evolution. Technology is changing the way we interact with businesses, and self-storage facilities are no exception. Your customers expect it, and if you don’t offer it, they’ll likely move on to a facility that does.

Let’s talk about payments again. While there will always be tenants who like to drop by the facility to make a payment or send a check in the mail, that demographic is shrinking every day! People desire convenience. They want to open their phone and take care of their bills quickly. If you’re not offering online payments, you’re doing them and your business a disservice. This goes for reserving a unit as well. People are shopping online, even for self-storage. If you don’t present a way for them to “book” the unit, you could miss them when they’re ready to buy.

Security at a self-storage facility is paramount. Just this week, my local grocery store installed security entrance gates at both doors to minimize theft. It’s the world we live in right now. People are looking for a quick crime, and your storage facility shouldn’t provide one. At a minimum, you should have an access-control system with a perimeter gate and keypad, security cameras, and an abundance of lighting. But think beyond those basics. You might also consider more advanced tech such as smart locks, motion sensors and door alarms. Just keep in mind that your security system must be properly maintained. A glitchy gate, burned-out bulbs and cameras that aren’t recording won’t protect your business.

Yes, there’s a price tag attached to upgrading your business with new technology, but it’s definitely worth it! There can also be a learning curve for staff and even your tenants. But technology is becoming so common everywhere, most will get on board when offered guidance. If you think your older clientele aren’t using tech, guess again. Many are and they expect your business to offer it as do the younger generations. If your business is lacking when it comes to technology, it’s time to reconsider how it can benefit your facility and customers, then make a change.

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

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