Great self-storage curb appeal can draw new customers, while poor curb appeal will likely drive them to your competition. Consumers relate well-maintained, clean properties with safer, more secure facilities.
Think about how prospective tenants look at your facility. Many will size up a property within seconds of viewing it. Does your site look welcoming, pleasant and safe? With all of the competition in this economy, how do you differentiate yours from the other self-storage facilities in town? Sprucing up the exterior can give it immense curb appeal—and it doesn’t have to be expensive. There are a number of clever, affordable ways to improve your look and entice new customers.
Assess Your Site
First, stand back from your facility and consider it the way a prospect would. Look at it from across the street or do a drive-by. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is the facility starting to look shabby? Does it need a good cleaning?
- Are the windows grimy or do they sparkle?
- Is the metal on your storefront or office clean or marked by fingerprints?
- Are the walls dull or faded? Are there cobwebs in plain sight?
- Are there weeds in the flowerbeds?
- Are your curbs faded and chipped or freshly painted?
- Is your sign faded or dull? If it’s an electric sign, are all of the lights working?
- Are your doors dusty, dirty or faded?
A thorough cleaning and some inexpensive touches can make a huge difference. Here are some pointers for enhancing your self-storage facility’s curb appeal:
Office. Wash windows inside and out until they shine. Wash away fingerprints and grime from the anodized aluminum door and windows with mild soap and water, and then dry. Microfiber towels make this job easier. If the metal is faded or dull, the color and luster can be restored with a quality clear coating. If necessary, paint the office inside and out.
Exterior. Sweep or vacuum cobwebs on a regular basis. Pick up trash or papers every day. A new coat of paint on curbs or bollards is inexpensive and makes a big difference. The paint can match your doors or be a contrasting color. New paint draws people’s attention. Pull weeds in the flowerbeds. Add a fresh layer of mulch or bark to save water and enhance the look of landscaping. Exterminate weeds growing in cracks in sidewalks or driveways.
Signage. Your exterior signage represents your business image. If it’s faded or broken, it will reflect poorly on your facility. If the signs posted around the property are faded or shabby, you can restore their color and luster with a clear, protective coating.
Doors. Are unit doors dirty or faded? First, you want to remove grime. It is best to wash metal in the shade to avoid hard water spots. Wet the door first, and then wash it with a soft bristled brush and a mild soap and water mixture (never put soapy water on a dry door). Rinse well with plain water. To keep water from seeping into the unit, avoid using a nozzle with a hard spray or spraying directly into the edges of the roll-up door. The seals are not designed to resist water if it’s sprayed hard into the edges.
If the doors are dull and faded after being washed, a clear protective coating can restore their color and luster. Coatings can also be used on metal buildings and colored metal roofs. Make sure the coating has UV protection to minimize fading and oxidation, and choose a coating that will remain flexible when doors roll so the coating doesn’t crack and peel. Automotive coatings are not the best for this use because they are made for short pieces of steel, not roll-up doors, which roll on themselves and compress into as little as a 5-inch circle.
For doors on interior units, skip using water altogether, as it could easily spill and damage customers’ goods. Instead, use a waterless wash and wax product. This is also great for cleaning the grimy fingerprints and marks customers leave on elevators and interior walls and doors.
Curb appeal is a critical component to attracting prospects to your door. Keeping a fresh and appealing facility doesn’t have to cost a lot. Using creative and cost-effective measures will attract new customers and keep your current tenants happy.
Teresa Sedmak is president of Everbrite Inc., which manufactures Everbrite Protective Coating and ProtectaClear as well as building cleaners. She is a licensed painting contractor with extensive experience and knowledge of protective coatings. For more information, call 800.304.0566; e-mail [email protected]; visit www.renewstorage.com.