There are hundreds of thousands of apps available for use on the iPhone, and most of them are free. While not all of these apps are useful to you as a self storage manager, there are a handful that can make your life much easier and even improve your business. Even if you’re not particularly tech-savvy, chances are that some of these apps can help you run your storage business. Check out these go-to iPhone apps for managers and business owners.
Nextdoor was designed as a way to help people get to know their neighbors and discuss things that are happening in their neighborhood and local community. The app features community posts from your neighbors, coordinates with the emergency weather service network, and distributes information from your county’s public announcement board, such as the schedule for garbage pickup or snow plowing in your area. Neighbors will also ask for advice and recommendations on local businesses - including self storage - and post classified ads. But the thing that self storage managers love most? Notifications from your neighbors about suspicious activity, break-ins, theft, and crime. Nextdoor is a great way to stay ahead of criminal activity near your facility, as well as notify community members about any upcoming auctions.
You might already have Facebook to market your business and share cute pictures of your kids, but there’s a lot more that you can do to benefit your business. Nearly every community has local Facebook Groups where people can buy and sell gently used items. Many also have community groups for neighborhood residents to post and discuss community news. Self storage managers can utilize local buy and sell groups on Facebook to advertise auctions, and they can use community groups to monitor what’s going on in your neighborhood and stay up to date on local events.
For years, people permanently lost their photos and videos when their phone was accidentally damaged or destroyed. With Google Photos, your photo and video memories are stored in secure online albums for free forever. The app backs up your photos as you take them, so that even your most recent memories are always backed up. Google Photos frees up space in your phone, makes it easy to share images, and organizes your images in an easy-to-understand way. This comes in handy for important images you want to document at your storage facility, like unit damage, auction previews, and RV, boat, or vehicle documentation.
If you manage a large property with drive-up access, predicting the weather is a huge part of your day. You need to know when a snowstorm is headed toward your facility, and you definitely don’t want to be caught out on a golf cart in a large parking lot during a thunderstorm. This free app shows the forecasted weather radar in your current location, and lets you zoom out to see the larger radar map for your city or state. MyRadar also features push notifications for severe weather in your area, and it always seems to be one step ahead of the Weather app on your iPhone.
Reviews play a huge role in your business’s success. If you’re not convinced, just check out one of my last blog posts! Yelp for Business Owners offers a free, easy-to-use app just for business owners to manage reviews, respond to users, and edit business information and photos. It also provides great visuals for analytics, with helpful charts showing user feedback and star rating changes over time. If you’re new to Yelp for Business Owners, their website has an excellent support center to answer all the questions you could have.
Everyone has busy work that they hate to do, whether it’s cleaning out units or auditing your books. A little music can help you sail through a difficult task and get more enjoyment out of everyday work. Spotify is free to play any song, any time, featuring artists from ABBA to Zac Brown Band and everything in between. While this app might not save your business any money, it can help save your sanity. Download Spotify for free and crank up the music next time you’re about to do a chore or task that you hate - it might just make your day a little better.
Instead of using your phone’s standard browser, Safari, upgrade to a faster, more secure web browser with this free download. Chrome lets you work across devices extremely easily, and it’s one of the most popular web browsers in the world for software (including storEDGE!). Google is constantly updating this app in tiny ways to make it faster and more intuitive, and it syncs perfectly with other apps like Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Photos.
Instagram presents a huge opportunity for business owners: advertising. The market for advertising on Instagram is much less competitive than Facebook, and all kinds of businesses are getting in on it. Download Instagram for free, make an account for your brand, and follow other storage brands or get inspiration from popular ‘grammers. The app offers high quality photo sharing in a simple, easy to browse interface.
This free app is perfect for catching up on all kinds of news. Twitter collects the top stories in everything from breaking news to entertainment, sports and politics, to world events and topical interests. You can find other local businesses and check out what they’re up to by following their “tweets” - short, 140 character messages posted to Twitter that can also contain photos, videos, or links. Many businesses use Twitter to have conversations with other brands and find out what their followers are interested in to better market their products. Plus, there are tons of storage brands on Twitter, so check it out!
You’ve probably already checked out Craigslist on your desktop computer, but if you try to access it from your iPhone browser, it can be a frustrating experience. Qwilo is the cost-free, ad-free app that Craigslisters use to browse classifieds in their area. This app makes it easy to post about upcoming storage unit auctions, buy and sell items, and find out what’s going on in your area. You can even set alerts for “self storage” in multiple cities and neighborhoods so you know when people are searching for storage near your business. While you’re at it, set an alert for your business name, so you can keep an eye on what people are posting about at your facility.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, you may also like: Top 6 Technology Trends for Self Storage in 2017, Gadget Review: Bluetooth Locks, and Top 10 DIY Productivity Hacks for Self-Storage Managers.