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Summer Spruce-Up: Getting Your Self-Storage Facility Ready for the Busy Summer Rental Season

Getting Your Self-Storage Facility Ready for the Busy Summer Rental Season
Summer is on the horizon, so now’s the time to make sure your self-storage facility is ready for the busy move-in season! The following maintenance advice will help you spruce up your property to impress new renters and existing tenants.

While some self-storage facilities are busy all year around, others may have heavy rental seasons that vary by location. In the South, for example, our busy time is typically in late spring, when folks are heading north to escape the heat, and again in the fall when the new school year begins. In fact, summer is often hectic for many operators, as families take advantage of their kids’ vacation to move into new homes and tenants are ready to start using their big “toys” again, like boats and RVs.

So, now is the perfect time to spruce up your property and get it ready to impress potential new tenants … and existing ones! Site maintenance is always important, but especially now when your facility may have weathered a hard winter.

It’s important to take a good, hard look at your site. Walk around with a notepad and take photos. This’ll help you prioritize tasks and create a timeline. While many items can be handled in-house, others may need to be outsourced for time-management and safety reasons. Following is more advice to help your property look its best this season.

From the Street

Begin with a refresh of your self-storage facility’s street frontage. Walk the length of the roadside and consider:

  • Do your trees or shrubs need to be pruned to increase visibility?
  • How about the mulch in your planting beds? Adding a fresh layer can help keep weeds at bay, reduce irrigation needs and neaten things up. Just don’t forget to spray the weeds first.
  • New flowers can lend an eye-catching splash of color around your signage.
  • Do you need to order new flags, banners or signage? Exposure to sunlight, pollen, dirt and pollutants will cause them to fade, discolor or even rip and lose their visual appeal.
  • If you have a message board, create at least 15 never-used posts you can use from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Some should be funny, some insightful, and others can promote specials or features that set you apart from the competition. Changing the message each week will create interest, as drivers will pay attention to them.

The Grounds

Once potential customers drive through your stunning front entrance, the rest of the property needs to look just as good. Evaluate the same items you examined on the frontage, including the landscaping. Trim foliage so it’s presentable. Remove any dead plants and replace them with fresh greenery. Add new flowers in pots near the office. Are there weeds growing in the sidewalk or along pavement edges? Spraying cracks with weed killer can prevent them from sprouting.

While you’re at it, do those sidewalks need to be power-washed? A local company can clean up your walkways in a few hours while you’re working elsewhere. They can also clean building entrances and exteriors, canopies, and unit doors to improve the overall appearance of the property. I have a battery-operated power-washing “wand” with a syphon hose for quick touch-ups. I carry it around with a bucket of solution. It cost me less than $100 and helps make the place look great!

Spring is also a good time to repaint your facility fire lanes, parking spaces and ramps. With the warmer temperatures and more sunshine, paint will dry faster. Also, fix any potholes in the parking lot.

The Buildings

Now, let’s look at the buildings. Do the self-storage doors need to be cleaned? Start with the vacant units, and wipe the door on both sides. Do this each time there’s a move-out.

Cleaning all the doors at once can be a monumental task. If you’re short on time, at least do the ones closest to the office, so when you’re giving a prospect a tour, they impression they get of your facility will be positive. It helps to break the task into smaller, manageable bits, for example, only X number of doors per week. If they haven’t been washed in a long time, consider hiring temporary workers to tackle the job.

In addition to washing the doors, check for cobwebs, sweep and mop the floors and make sure all the lights are working. Also, ensure your signage is in good condition.

The Office

Next, it’s time to tidy and organize your self-storage management office. Here are a few essentials:

Dust and rearrange your retail merchandise. Is there a better layout or location that would allow customers to better see and select products? It makes sense to group items by type. You can also create add-on sales opportunities by showing how products work well together, such as rolls of tape with tape guns or dish packs with the coordinating box size. Using props such as books in a box or hangers in a wardrobe box create visual interest and explain the use of the packaging materials without words.

Be prepared with new-tenant packets that contain anything a new customer might need upon move-in. Ensure your computer is clean and working effectively. Clear away any clutter and file any old paperwork. A professional, organized office shows customers you care about your surroundings—and their belongings.

The Team

Lastly, take a little break and refresh yourself! After all the hard work you’ve done to spruce up your self-storage site, you deserve it. Go learn something! When was the last time you were able to take a class or attend a seminar that can improve your performance? Maybe it’s on digital marketing or time management. Find something that can give you an edge and make you more valuable to your employer. Many local colleges offer affordable, if not free, courses on myriad topics to support local businesses.

Maybe you could learn a new skill that would help you stand out among your team. Your local chamber of commerce or self-storage association might have great ideas on how to further your career on a budget. Most are easy, affordable and will work with your schedule. New learning not only looks great on a résumé, it looks good to your tenants, teammates and superiors. Plus, the more you know, the more you can teach others!

Many self-storage facilities are operating with limited staff these days, which has given us little time to handle big projects when it comes to maintenance and upkeep. But summer is coming, and it’s bound to be busy. Determine what you can do now to get your property looking its best before the next wave of tenants. Splash a little cold water on your face, take a few deep breaths and get started!

Kevin Edwards has been in the self-storage industry since 2015. He’s a state-licensed property manager in South Carolina, where he currently oversees several properties, and a seminar presenter for national self-storage conferences. He’s worked for both privately owned and national operators as a site manager, traveling trainer, site auditor and auction coordinator, and has aided in property acquisitions and site inspections. To reach him, call 843.422.3461 or email [email protected].

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