Inside Self-Storage Magazine 09/2001: Keeping Vacating Summer Tenants

September 1, 2001

3 Min Read
Inside Self-Storage Magazine 09/2001: Keeping Vacating Summer Tenants

Keeping Vacating Summer Tenants

By Pamela Alton

The summer holidays and graduations have all passed, students are getting ready toreturn to school and the weather is getting cooler--all sure signs that summer is comingto an end. That rush of rentals you experienced in early spring may be ending also. Homesbought this summer are closing escrow, tenants are moving into new apartments and collegestudents are back on campus. They don't need storage anymore, so it seems they're movingout in droves while new rentals seem to be declining.

Your owner or supervisor is wondering what happened to the income and what caused thedrop in occupancy. The pressure is on you, the manager. What are you going to do? Throwyour body in front of the rental truck and stop your tenants from vacating? Now, that isnot something I would recommend to any manager, regardless of how much your occupancydrops. But there are some ways you might be able to put the brakes on that downhill slideyou may be experiencing.


If you haven't already been out laying a solid marketing foundation, now is the time tostart. Make up fliers and hit the local businesses in your area. Stop by the apartmentcomplexes down the street and talk to the managers about referrals. Call other storagemanagers in your area. Find out what unit sizes they have available that you don't andvice versa--negotiate a referral program. Look in your local newspaper for handymen,carpenters, gardeners, electricians--any small-business owners who could use storage. Calland tell them the advantages of storing with you.

Always carry your business cards with you and be prepared to give them out wherever youare: standing in line at the grocery store, a restaurant, the doctor's office, a gasstation or bank. Put on your thinking cap. To whom can you market and earn rentals thatwill last all year?

Downsizing Those Vacating Tenants

When your tenants come to vacate those larger units, point out to them the advantagesof keeping a smaller unit to store seasonal items, excess garage items, and business orpersonal items. If your tenants are students who are now back from summer break, let themknow you have some smaller units available to keep the personal items they don't want aroommate to get into. Asking a tenant why he is vacating gives you clues as to how toapproach him about staying on board with you.

Ask for Referrals

Each time a tenant vacates, always ask him to remember you when he needs storage. Givehim a discount card for the next time he rents a unit. Ask for referrals. Does he knowanyone who needs storage--a family member, friend or coworker? What about his company?Does it have excess records or office furniture or supplies that could be stored? If youdon't have a sign on your counter or exit gate reminding tenants to "tell afriend," you should invest in one.

Be Clean, Friendly, Service-Oriented and Professional

People willremember you and your facility and want to store with you again if you offer superiorcustomer service. Always keep the hallways, driveways and units swept clean and locked.Your office should be inviting, professional-looking, uncluttered and clean. You shouldalways be dressed professionally, well-groomed and ready to greet your public once thosedoors open in the morning. Don't forget about your relief managers--they need to be taughtabout marketing and how to keep those vacating tenants. Be friendly, helpful andprofessional and you will always be a winner in the self-storage game.

Pamela Alton is the owner of Mini-Management®, a nationwidemanager-placement service. Mini-Management also offers full-service and"operations-only" facility management, training manuals, inspections and audits,feasibility studies, consulting and training seminars. For more information, call (800)646-4648.

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