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Is Outsourcing the Key to Growing Your Self-Storage Business? Read This and Find Out!

There are many reasons why you might consider outsourcing key functions of your self-storage business. Read about the benefits of hiring a third party for management, marketing, human resources and other company responsibilities, plus how to create a successful vendor partnership.

Sarah Stapley

August 3, 2023

6 Min Read
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Outsourcing has become increasingly popular among many types of businesses, including self-storage. It involves contracting a third party to provide services that would otherwise be handled in-house. This article offers an overview of the practice and common services to consider, plus how to ensure you achieve good results from your partnerships.

Why Outsource?

There are several reasons why you might consider outsourcing certain self-storage tasks. First, it allows your team to focus on core business activities, such as customer service and business strategy, instead of getting bogged down in administrative or maintenance work. Outsourcing can also reduce overhead costs by eliminating the need for employees, office space and equipment.

Additionally, outsourcing provides access to specialized expertise that might not be available internally. For example, a marketing agency can offer access to the latest trends, tools and strategies that might be outside the capabilities of an in-house person or team. Similarly, a human-resources (HR) company has experienced professionals who can handle complex issues such as compliance, benefits administration and employee relations.

What Can You Outsource?

There are many outsourcing options for self-storage operators to consider, including:

Management. Third-party management companies bring extensive industry experience and expertise, such as best practices in operations, marketing, maintenance and customer service. This can help you optimize your facility and enhance the customer experience, leading to increased revenue and profitability.

Management companies also provide economies of scale, as they typically oversee multiple properties. This allows them to negotiate better deals with vendors, lower your operating costs, and invest in technology and infrastructure that can benefit your business.

Hiring such a company also gives you time and flexibility to focus on other aspects of your business, such as strategy, innovation and growth. You won’t need to worry about day-to-day operation.

Finally, a management firm can offer a higher level of risk management and compliance, as they have the expertise and resources to navigate complex legal and regulatory issues. Overall, it can be a smart and cost-effective way to enhance your self-storage operation and achieve long-term business goals.

Marketing. When spending a lot of money on marketing efforts, it’s critical that those dollars are managed responsibly. Hiring an expert is one of the best ways to do this. Having a vendor partner can go a long way toward ensuring your marketing spend achieves the results you need while providing a strong return on investment.

For example, they provide access to specialized knowledge and resources, including website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media management and advertising. In addition to crafting and effectively managing your campaigns, they understand Google AdWords and local SEO, two top strategies used today.

HR. Professionals in this area can offer proficiency in recruitment, payroll management, benefits administration, labor compliance and employee relations. This can help you attract, retain and manage your workforce more effectively. By outsourcing, you can save time, money and effort, while reducing the risk of legal and regulatory compliance issues.

Additionally, HR experts offer access to state-of-the-art technology and tools, which can help you streamline your processes, improve data accuracy, and enhance employee engagement and productivity.

Finally, it gives you flexibility and scalability to adapt to changing needs, without having to worry about adding or reducing staff. Overall, hiring HR vendors can be a smart and economical way to manage your self-storage workforce and achieve your goals.

Maintenance. By entrusting these tasks to experienced vendors, you’re able to keep your storage facilities in top condition. Outsourcing can also lead to cost-savings, as hiring an in-house team can be expensive, especially for small and mid-sized companies. It can also reduce maintenance costs thanks to reliable repairs and preventive work, as well as improve property value and ensure compliance with safety regulations.

Accounting. A professional provides expertise in bookkeeping, tax preparation and financial planning, which can help you make informed decisions and optimize financial performance. Additionally, these vendors can provide valuable insight and recommendations on how to minimize costs, increase revenue and manage risks, ultimately leading to improved profitability and sustained growth.

Factors to Consider

When deciding whether to outsource services on behalf of your self-storage business, consider the following. The big question is whether outsourcing can help you improve business quality, efficiency or innovation.

Costs. Outsourcing should save you money. By contracting non-core business functions such as maintenance, accounting or marketing, you can often save on staffing, training and equipment. Additionally, these providers can leverage technology and economies of scale to offer services more efficiently and economically than you likely can in-house.

Expertise. Outsourcing offers access to professionals with years of experience and knowledge, which can help you improve the quality of your services, stay current with the latest industry trends, and deliver better results to customers.

Flexibility. Outsourcing allows you to scale your services up or down as needed without having to worry about hiring or eliminating staff. This can be particularly useful in a self-storage operation, where demand can fluctuate seasonally or due to other factors.

Time. Outsourcing should save time by reducing the workload, thereby allowing your team to focus on core business activities and strategic initiatives.

Reduced risk. Experienced professionals can help you navigate complex issues, allowing you to reduce legal, regulatory or financial risk.

Customer experience. Outsourcing should help you improve in this area. For example, it may provide your tenants with access to experts in answering questions and handling complaints. Which can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

How Can I Ensure Good Results?

If you’re going to hire a third-party company to support your self-storage business, the next big question is how to ensure the partnership is successful so you garner good return on investment. The most critical element is to choose the right provider. Look for a company with experience in working with self-storage businesses and a proven track record of delivering high-quality service. Ask for references to help you find the right fit. Here are some other best practices:

Define the scope of work. Before you sign a contract, make sure you have a clear understanding of what specific services the vendor will provide as well as your performance expectations. This can include things like response times, service-level agreements (SLAs) and key performance indicators (KPIs). Having these details spelled out in advance will help you avoid misunderstandings and ensure you get the results you desire.

Establish clear communication. Good communication is key to any successful partnership. Decide which channels or tools you’ll use, then et expectations for response times and availability. Also, encourage open and honest discussion.

Regularly monitor performance. This can include tracking KPIs and SLAs, conducting regular check-ins, and providing feedback on the vendor’s work. Regular evaluation will help you identify any issues early and adjust as needed to ensure the partnership remains productive and beneficial for both parties.

Consider the cultural fit. Finally, look for a provider that shares your values and is committed to building a strong working relationship. This can help ensure the partnership is good for everyone involved and you’re able to achieve your goals together.

Outsourcing can be a valuable way to improve efficiency, reduce costs and gain access to specialized expertise. By following these tips for choosing and working with providers, you can maximize the benefits of these partnerships and achieve your self-storage business goals.

Sarah Stapley is marketing director for Crescendo Self Storage Management, a third-party management firm that oversees 32 facilities comprising 2.4 million square feet across seven states. Sarah helps owners optimize their properties for maximum revenue and occupancy rates. To reach her, email [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Sarah Stapley

Marketing Director, Crescendo Self Storage Management

Sarah Stapley is marketing director for Crescendo Self Storage Management, a third-party management firm that oversees 32 facilities comprising 2.4 million square feet across seven states. Sarah helps owners optimize their properties for maximum revenue and occupancy rates. To reach her, email [email protected].

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