With the average motorhome costing around $270,000 and many selling for north of $1M, the RV and boat storage customer differs greatly from the average self storage customer. Because of the high price tag, RV and boat storage typically falls into the luxury storage niche. Storing such expensive toys comes with higher expectations and a different mindset - and your storage property should reflect that. So what can your RV and boat storage business do to meet customers' high expectations? Read on to find out!

A boat on the lake. Image by Yamaha Watercroft Group via Flickr Creative Commons.

1. Offer the best customer service around

When you’re storing an extremely expensive motorhome, you need a little extra reassurance that it’s being taken care of properly. These customers may want to tour the facility before renting, have questions about winterizing their vehicle, or just want to stop in and check on things a few times a week. Since RV and boat storage customers are more likely to store with you year after year during the off-season, it’s important to nail customer service every time to keep them coming back. Plus, happy customers will be more likely send their friends your way, keeping your lot consistently full. Being patient, knowledgeable, and helpful will set you up to offer fantastic customer service.

Luxury RV in a parking lot.

2. Give your customers online conveniences

Technology provides round-the-clock service for customers wanting to rent a space, check their account balance, or pay ahead. By offering conveniences like an online rental center, customers can easily browse available units and check out facility amenities right from their smartphone. Technology tools also give renters a greater sense of independence and control over their rental experience. Encouraging pre-pay is always a good idea for those that rent with you year after year. Offering these online tools makes renting move convenient for customers.

  • Online payments & move-ins
  • Rental kiosks
  • Electronic signatures
  • Paperless communication
  • Mobile-friendly login

You know your customers best. Find out how they prefer to be contacted (phone, text, or email) and what online tools they're using to gauge their interest.

Motorhomes parked in the mountains.

3. Make your location work for you

If you own an existing RV and boat storage facility, you've probably already scoped out the location and market. But if you're looking to buy an existing property or planning to build a new one, make sure you thoroughly research the area.

Location is everything when it comes to RV and boat storage. Many RV and boat storage properties are close to lakes, beach access, camping grounds, and national parks. But many large metro areas also have a need for RV and boat storage. Families may live far from outdoor recreation areas but want to store their boat close to home. The success of your RV and boat storage facility will be largely determined by the consumer demographics in your area.

If you are located close to a national park or waterfront area, use it to your advantage. Offer amenities like boat detailing or firewood sales, and become an expert on local outdoor recreation. If you’re in a community with tough winters, consider offering temperature or climate controlled units.

Boat driving on the water with a wake behind it. Image by Yamaha Watercroft Group via Flickr Creative Commons.

4. Offer amenities for boats and RVs

The best way to separate your boat and RV storage facility from the rest? Offer amenities! When you’re offering specialized storage, there are tons of options for amenities that can give your customers an extra reason to store with you.

  • Vehicle wash bays
  • Electricity hookups
  • Dump stations
  • Water-filling stations
  • Propane gas
  • Vehicle detailing
  • Pre and post-trip inspections
  • Shuttle services

Some of these amenities may be free to all renters, while some are available for an extra charge. Your location and customer base will determine which services make the most sense. Think of amenities as a way to provide more value to your customers and bring in more potential revenue for your business.

Security cameras on the outside of a blue building. Image by Namelas Frade via Flickr Creative Commons.

5. Invest in advanced security monitoring

When you have millions of dollars parked on your property, it’s important to keep a close eye on them at all times. If you’re in the RV and boat storage market, security is one place you should definitely not cut corners. One of the first questions many RV, boat, and vintage vehicle owners will ask you is, “what kind of security do you have?” Make it an easy question to answer by getting top of the market security features for your facility.

  • Gated access
  • 24-hour video monitoring
  • Partnerships with local police
  • Secure property fencing
  • Personalized key fobs
  • Individual unit alarms
  • Fire sprinklers

Advanced security features can be expensive to implement. But in specialty storage, the extra expense can set you apart from other facilities in the market and allow you to charge a premium rate. The more security features you have to offer, the more peace of mind you can give your customers.

Airstream parked in the sunset.

6. Offer 24-hour access

Letting customers access their stored RV, boat, jet skis, and snowmobiles 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is a great way to differentiate your business from others in the area. Many luxury and recreational vehicle owners are small business owners, work demanding jobs, or have growing families. These obligations make it difficult to walk-in or make an appointment at a 9AM-5PM facility.

Plus, when renters are storing items that are used on vacations, it helps to offer flexible hours. Renters with 24-hour access will be able to come hook up their camper or boat early in the morning before heading out for a long weekend. After the vacation is over, all day access makes it easy for them to securely store their camper or boat, no matter what time they get back in town.

Boats at a boat show. Image by HimmelrichPR via Flickr Creative Commons.

7. Go to the boat show

Or the outdoor expo, RV trade show, or anywhere your RV and boat owners are gathering together. Getting to know your customers by attending these events is vital to your marketing success. Attending trade shows can also help you develop relationships with potential customers and get to know your customers’ storage needs. Consider setting up a trade show booth or partnering with another local vendor to hand out business cards. Get to know other RV and boat vendors in the area and start developing relationships with these businesses. Once you build referral partnerships with other businesses, you'll be able to bring in more leads and show your expertise.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, you may also like: How to Tap into the Wine Storage Market at Your Facility, Why You Need to Introduce Mobile Technology at Your Facility, and How to Build Credibility as a New Storage Business in Your Community.