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Adding a Truck-Rental Program to Your Self-Storage Business

With consumers placing a premium on convenience, self-storage operators should consider adding a truck-rental program to assist at move-in. Here are four key benefits of this ancillary and pointers on how to launch a program.

By CJ Steen

Have you ever purchased a cell phone and asked where the store keeps its chargers and cases, only to be told you’ll have to shop somewhere else? Probably not. That would be very inconvenient and frustrating. Phone providers carry these products right in their stores because they know they can upsell customers. In our consumer-driven economy, convenience is king.

I personally detest Walmart and what it’s done to small, local business owners, but there I am during my lunch break buying a tire and a loaf of bread after getting my eyebrows waxed. Everyone appreciates convenience and ease of use, and we’re willing to pay premium for it. For example, I know I can go to the grocery store to buy everything I need at a reasonable price, while a “convenience” store may charge 10 percent more. Yet, I still spend more time (and money) at CVS. Why? Convenience sells! We’ve all grown a little lazier with everything at our fingertips.

Keep this in mind in regard to you self-storage facility and use it to your advantage. Make your store the most convenient one available. One of the quickest, best ways to become the local one-stop shop for customers is by offering services such as truck rental. Moving is stressful! If you’re able to make it less nerve-wracking, you’ll have loyal, happy, referral-giving tenants.

Here are four primary benefits of adding a truck-rental service to your self-storage operation and some tips for launching your program.

Benefit 1: Visual Impressions

According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, mobile advertising can be the most effective and efficient form of out-of-home advertising by reaching more consumers at a lower cost per thousand impressions. By incorporating a truck-rental business at your facility, you have the ability to customize a moving truck with graphics. Your truck can be a rolling billboard for your facility, garnering 600 visual impressions for every mile driven. The more your truck is rented out, the more visibility you gain in the marketplace. This is a proven, cost-effective, efficient way to market your storage and truck-rental offerings.

Benefit 2: Image Enhancement

Your company’s image is very important. After all, people are trusting you with their possessions. They value these belongings enough to pay to store them. I know if I were to store my deceased grandparents’ things, I would want to go somewhere that had a professional, secure and caring environment.

Offering truck rentals can enhance your image within the community in several ways. Not only is a nice, clean, professional-looking truck often the first impression someone has of your business, it conveys your marketing message: that you offer a secure, safe and clean facility. The truck has the capacity to spread your image and message throughout the community. You can also expand your reach by donating the truck for use by local charities, which further demonstrates your community support and involvement.

Benefit 3: Additional Revenue

A rental truck has the ability to be rented 60 times per month, based on half-day rentals at $19.95 per day. Additionally, the customer pays a rate of 79 cents per mile. Hand trucks, blankets and damage waivers are also available for customers to rent and buy. This can add a significant amount to the bottom line.

As a result of the truck’s visibility, a typical facility can also expect three new tenants each month. These tenants have an annual value of $1,548 based on renting a 10-by-10 unit at the average rental rate for a full year.

Benefit 4: Customer Service

Customer service is the ability to ensure tenants have an easy and enjoyable experience with your business. You support and listen to their needs. Your customers may be focused solely on shopping for an actual unit and may not realize they’re going to need locks, boxes and even a truck to move in. This is where you become their trusted adviser and provide these extras. They will rave about your service to friends and family.

Putting a Program in Place

Incorporating a truck-rental program at your facility is really very simple. All you need is a place to park a truck! There are only four steps to launching:

  1. Find a truck.
  2. Get an insurance license that allows you to rent the truck to customers.
  3. Design eye-catching graphics that can be put on the truck to advertise your business.
  4. Get state-specific rental forms or software to schedule truck use and print pertinent paperwork.

There are two types of programs you can provide. The first is a local rental program in which you own the truck and schedule rentals within the area. The other is a one-way program offered by companies such as Penske. With the latter, you rent the provider’s trucks and receive a commission based on those rentals. Either one can reap great benefits for your business.

If you find these advantages and the ease of implementation appealing, then truck rental is probably the right fit for you. Call a specialist to learn more about the opportunities. He can help you find the right truck and insurance program as well as help you design your graphics.

CJ Steen has been with On The Move Inc. officially for nine years as marketing director, but unofficially for 25 years as the founder’s granddaughter. She’s been working in the self-storage industry for 16 years. Her first job was as a facility relief manager. She has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Hawaii Pacific University and an MBA from Texas Woman’s University. For more information, call 800.645.9949; e-mail cj@onthemovetrucks.com; visit www.onthemovetrucks.com.

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