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Improving Your First Impressions: Simple Ways to Refresh Your Self-Storge Management Office

Many customers get their first impressions about a self-storage business when visiting the management office. A quick way to brighten your facility and ensure those thoughts are positive is to refresh your space. Here’s where to focus your efforts for the best impact.

Faith Hill

December 29, 2022

6 Min Read
Simple Ways to Refresh Your Self-Storge Management Office

Self-storage design has evolved tremendously. In fact, many of the newest facilities have been aesthetically crafted to satisfy municipal requirements as well as consumer preferences. As a result, you may feel as though your property is falling behind others in the market, especially if it’s older or smaller. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to make it more attractive and competitive without making a huge capital investment. The best strategy is to smartly spend dollars where they’ll have a significant impact; and a refresh of the front office is an excellent place to start.

Your management office is one of the first places a customer will interact with your self-storage business, and making a positive first impression is critical to converting prospects into paying tenants. If designed thoughtfully, this area can be used as a sales tool to convert leads to actual move-ins. It can also help you maximize on opportunities to sell retail product, truck rentals and other ancillary products and services.

When to Consider a Refresh

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The HomeAway office
before renovation

If you haven’t updated your self-storage office in many years, take a critical eye to it, even if you feel like you have a well-oiled operation. Try to evaluate it through an outsider’s eyes and look for ways it could be improved:

  • Is the furniture and other décor still in style or outdated?

  • Is the office clean and orderly or in disarray?

  • Is it warm and inviting, or does it feel cold and utilitarian?

  • How well does the office function? Could the layout be improved to better serve customers?

  • Could some technology upgrades make the move-in process more efficient?

Customers will associate the presentation of your front office with the overall cleanliness of the facility. If it’s unkempt or outdated, they may assume their belongings won’t be safe and protected there.

There are other times when freshening the front office is worth the capital investment. For example, if you’re taking over an existing facility from a previous owner, you may want to incorporate your own touches. You can do this by adding company branding with your logo, signage and colors. Current customers will notice the change, which will signal that new ownership is in place. This can help you set a fresh start with those who may have been dissatisfied with prior management.

If you’ve noticed a new self-storage facility being built in your market or an existing competitor making upgrades, it may be time to consider some renovations of your own. Visit the other property as a as a secret shopper or formally introduce yourself as a fellow operator. This’ll allow you to see up close the work that’s being done and better determine if your office is on par or better. As a business operator, there are always areas you can work to continually improve if you choose to look for them.

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Work in progress

 

Items to Upgrade

Once you’ve decided to revitalize your self-storage management office, allocate funds for the improvements that’ll have the greatest impact. Try to view items from the perspective of your target customer and make decisions that’ll appeal to them. It often helps to make the office look fresh and modern. Here are a few upgrades to consider:

  • Wall paint: This can give your office a bright, cheerful feeling to set the right tone for a new customer.

  • Flooring: Consider swapping out dingy, old carpeting for a newer, durable material like laminate wood or concrete that can hold up to high traffic.

  • Lighting: Check to see if there are any light bulbs that need to be replaced. If your office has windows, open the blinds during office hours to bring in more natural light. If there are no windows, consider additional lighting that’ll help the space feel bright and welcoming.

  • Furniture: If your office is small, consider re-arranging the furniture or possibly removing large items to optimize the feel and flow of the space. Decluttering can go a long way toward making a cramped office feel larger.

  • Curtains and other décor: You don’t want these to detract from the way your office speaks to prospects. Consider replacing them or change to a simple, clutter-free design. If you have a green thumb, bring in a couple of plants to liven up the space (just don’t go overboard).

  • Waiting area and refreshments: This doesn’t have to be extravagant. A comfortable chair and free bottle of water can go a long way in demonstrating your customer appreciation.

  • Technology: Look closely at your computer, security cameras and payment systems to see if they’re still functional or should be upgraded. If you’re using a 20-year-old computer with a processor that’s slower than you can write, a new one will be well worth the expense.

If you’re really on a tight budget or simply don’t want to do any major renovations, just focus on keeping the office tidy and organized. Keep papers filed away and out of sight. Clear your desktop and other working space to make things look less chaotic for customers. Vacuuming or sweeping the floors daily will help maintain a fresh, clean appearance.

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The finished product
 

Additional Advice

If you do a full office renovation, it’s smart to complete everything at once to avoid prolonged disruption to your self-storage operation. Making upgrades in a piecemeal fashion can extend the project longer than necessary and create a construction zone that decreases staff productivity.

Also, communicate with tenants about any changes. Send a friendly text or email to let them know if office hours will be disrupted during the renovation and explain how the upgrades will impact the services you provide. Customers like to know management is continually trying to improve the business, and they’ll appreciate the small touches that work to that effect.

Faith Hill is the asset manager for 3Prong Investment Group LLC, a boutique real estate company she co-founded in 2014 with her husband, Jermaine Hill. She’s a licensed attorney in Virginia and has managed more than $2 million in real estate assets. The couple recently acquired HomeAway Storage in Lanett, Alabama. To reach her, email [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Faith Hill

Asset Manager, 3Prong Investment Group LLC

Faith Hill is the asset manager for 3Prong Investment Group LLC, a boutique real estate company she co-founded in 2014 with her husband, Jermaine Hill. She’s a licensed attorney in Virginia and has managed more than $2 million in real estate assets. The couple recently acquired HomeAway Storage in Lanett, Alabama. To reach her, email [email protected].

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