I love spreadsheets. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I think data is fascinating - it tells the story behind all of the work you’re putting in to bring in more leads, improve website conversions, and maximize revenue. But even if you’re not a nerd like me, you need to be tracking business data. Otherwise, you could be missing out on key metrics that are vital to the well-being of your company.
With more and more business intelligence tools available to self storage owners, it’s not a matter of finding or organizing data - it’s knowing what matters most to your business. Whether you run a large, multi-facility brand, or you’re just starting out with a small property, creating routines around analyzing your business metrics will help you stay out of financial trouble.
To help you get started, I’ve pulled together the top 15 most important metrics you should be evaluating if you’re looking to boost profits at your self storage business. Looking at the right data can help you strengthen your brand, increase revenue, and maximize manager efficiency. Check it out below to get self storage data-savvy.
Good help is hard to find, and it can be even tougher if you have multiple facilities needing extra hands. But there’s good news: with cloud-based management software and call tracking, you can actually monitor employee activity at your facility remotely. You can listen to inbound phone calls and check call histories anytime, using any device, whether you’re at home or on-the-go.
With all of your inbound phone calls stored in your software, you’ll be able to evaluate your manager’s go-to sales pitch and monitor their approach with customers. You can even bookmark exemplary or difficult phone calls as training examples for new managers or part-time employees. Using call tracking, you’ll be able to hold facility managers accountable for high-quality customer service, track how many calls are coming in every day, and listen back to previous phone calls with problem tenants.
It’s a fact: Tenants who are using autopay are less likely to become delinquent. By encouraging tenants to sign-up for autopay when they first rent a unit, you’ll increase the likelihood of getting an on-time payment and avoid the lien process.
By running an autopay roll report in your software, you’ll be able to see all of your tenants who are currently enrolled in autopay, including tenant names, unit numbers, next autopay date, and credit card expiration date. You can use these numbers to incentivize facility managers to get more tenants to sign-up for autopay, or cross-compare them to your delinquency metrics to see how they correlate at your facility.
Just like autopay, you can encourage managers to ask renters to enroll in insurance by monitoring insurance sign-ups through your software. By running an insured tenants roll, you’ll be able to see all tenants enrolled in insurance this month compared to last month, as well as the renter information, unit number, start date of coverage, cancellation date of coverage, coverage amount, and insurance paid-through date.
This metric is vital for tenant questions about insurance, and helpful when it comes to incentivizing managers to get tenants signed up for renter’s insurance. Using these numbers, it’s easy for owners to hold an insurance sign-up competition among managers, or simply compare insurance sign-up rates from one facility to the next.
Since storage can be such a seasonal business, and move-outs tend to happen in a giant exodus all around the same time, tracking net move-ins ensures that you’re bringing in just as much (or more!) business than you’re losing due to move-outs.
You can chart your net move-ins in your management software to show the total number of move-ins minus the number of move-outs over a select period of time. Using this data, you’ll be able to analyze move-in and move-out trends to find out whether they’re trending upwards or downwards.
Want to find out what facility is raking in the most leads? Of course you do! Using the incoming leads by facility report, you’ll be able to find out the overall number of leads a facility or a group of facilities has received. You can sort and display the data on a month-by-month basis to analyze monthly lead trends. You can even integrate these metrics with all of your lead-tracking data, including in-software leads, website leads, walk-ins, and more.
Using incoming leads data, you can fine-tune your marketing efforts to provide resources to underperforming facilities and analyze where leads are coming from to maximize marketing ROI.
Your economic occupancy shows your current income per month compared to your potential income per month. Unlike your unit and square foot occupancy (which tend to be only a few percentage points different from each other), your economic occupancy rate tends to fall behind. Why? It’s simple: deals. All those specials and discounts you’ve been offering may have brought more people to your facility and ultimately increased your unit and square footage occupancy, but while you’re busy filling up units, you’re charging below full price, leading to a negative impact on your facility’s economic occupancy.
By analyzing economic occupancy, you can make more money on your units and maximize profits. You can then use economic occupancy data for revenue management and rate management purposes. Simply view occupancy trends to find out how much more revenue you could be capturing.
Even if your website is ranking in the top spot of search results and bringing in lots of leads, your website isn’t worth squat if it isn’t converting leads into paying customers. Website conversions are the #1, most important factor to the success of your business online. If your website is running low on conversions, it may be a sign that your website is hard to navigate or slow to load.
Using Google Analytics, you’ll be able to calculate your website conversion rate. If your conversion rate is low, you might want to re-vamp your website’s call to action buttons (like “call to reserve a unit” or “move-in today”) or improve your website’s accessibility on smartphones and mobile devices.
Like it or not, social media is an essential part of your business. Even if you’re not devoting a large chunk of your time to managing it, it’s important to check in at least once a month to track your social media following and engagement levels. By simply tracking your followers and engagement levels, you’ll be able to make the most of social media’s free marketing tools.
Download our free social media tracking template to start measuring your social media impact from month to month. For an easy guide on how to maximize social media results in just a few minutes a week, you can also check out our free ebook, The Ultimate Social Media Playbook.
I find search behavior very intriguing - and you should, too. Why? Search engine traffic tells you how people are searching for self storage in your area, what kind of storage they’re looking for, what they’re needing to store, and where they want to store it. It’s like being able to read minds! The insight you can get from search engine optimization (SEO) tools offers a plethora of knowledge.
You can find out all of this information (and more) using Google Analytics. Instead of just checking your website’s rank in search results, try evaluating your website’s keyword performance - that is, how your website is performing when it comes to various keyword searches like “climate controlled storage in Little Rock” or “24 hour RV storage facility near me.” If your website has many relevant traffic-producing keywords, you’re doing a great job. If not, you may need to do a content audit of your site in order to maximize opportunities online.
Your software’s management summary report is a one-stop-shop for information, allowing you to get an instant pulse on your business by piecing together your most important data into one summary.
By monitoring the management summary report, you’ll be able to see a list of unit groups and total move-ins, move-outs, and transfers for each unit group, including unit square footage, length, width, height, type, floor, indoor or outdoor access, door type, total units in each unit group, as well as useful information like net incoming tenants, net change in revenue, and net change in square foot occupancy.
If you want to stretch your marketing budget, it’s important to know where leads are coming from. Whether you you run a Facebook-only promotion, or you offer a move-in special on your website, you’ll need to be able to track how many leads you’re getting from various promotions, specials, and coupons.
You can track where leads are coming from and how many of these leads are converting into paying customers right from your software. After all, no matter how many leads you get from a marketing campaign, it’s not an effective one unless you’re converting. The lead sources report will show a summary of leads, reservations, move-ins, and cancellations by each lead source, as well as move-in conversion leads. Using this information, you’ll be able to start tracking customer lifetime value (CLV) by lead source.
If you want to raise your rates, you’ll need to know when the last rate increase occurred, and how it affected the rental. You don’t want to raise rates for a tenant who just had a rent raise last month, and you don’t want to raise rents so high that tenants leave you for another storage business. Even more, tenants at one facility location may accept a higher percentage increase than tenants at a different facility location.
By looking at rate increase data, you’ll be able to find out additional details about tenants’ historical rate increases, including the date and current rate, as well as variance between new tenant rates and historical tenant rates. Using this report, you’ll be able to analyze the numbers and adjust rates based on historical rate increase data and occupancy information.
Alas, the most popular among storage owners: the occupancy report. This metric will provide you with a summary of all three measures of occupancy: including unit occupancy, occupancy by square footage, and economic occupancy, all sorted by unit type, size, and status. Your overall occupancy is calculated as occupied square feet versus total rentable square feet, including vacant, rented, unrentable, and reserved units.
While occupancy is a basic metric, it’s an important one for your business. Unlike economic occupancy, a high occupancy percentage is not necessarily indicative of superior business performance. If you’re at nearly 100% unit occupancy, it may mean your rates are too low, and you’re missing out on potential profit.
Delinquent tenants make life difficult for storage owners. But by running your delinquency report, you’ll be able to set actionable delinquency goals and calculate the economic impact that delinquent tenants are having on your business.
Generated in your management software, your delinquency report will show a list of any tenants that are currently in delinquency as a percentage of your overall facility. Your delinquency report should also provide the delinquent tenants’ names, move-in dates, phone numbers, rent rates, last payment date, last amount paid, number of days past due, paid through date, rent balance, fee balance, and account balance.
By running this report for one facility, a group of facilities, or all facilities, you’ll be able to see the total percentage of your tenants who are in delinquency, sort them by various delinquency stages, and organize your lien process for auction-ready units.
What do users do when they get to your website? Do you know where they click, how long they hang out on each page, or how long they stay before going back to search results? Time to find out - knowing this information is vital to diagnosing any problems with your site and improving on its performance.
Track your website user behavior in your management software (FYI: super easy for storEDGE users), or log into Google Analytics to find out how many desktop vs. mobile sessions your website has, the total number of leads and unique page views, and important stats like bounce rate, dwell time, and top performing pages.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, you may also like: 6 ways business intelligence can help you crush your competition, What’s the ROI on your self storage marketing efforts? (Infographic), and What is Google Analytics - and how can it help your storage business?