If you’re looking for a small business success story with a hint of southern charm, you’re in the right place.
Byrd’s Mini Storage first opened its doors twenty years ago in the fall of 1997 with just one facility. The family owned and operated business started with a single property that would lay the framework for the brand: the Dawson 400 facility in Dawsonville, GA. The original facility now boasts 135,000 square feet and just over 600 units, and serves as the main location of the eight facility brand.
All of the Byrd’s Mini Storage properties are currently located in northern Georgia near the Chattahoochee National Forest, with the majority in the Dawsonville area. While storage options vary from location to location, nearly all of their facilities offer climate control, 24-hour gated access, LED lighting, and recently upgraded security cameras. Calvin Byrd, owner of Byrd’s Mini Storage, says the brand sticks to their roots as a family business to provide exceptional customer service.
“We pride ourselves on keeping our facilities clean, well-lit, and secure. Our business has a family atmosphere, and that’s something we’re really honored to provide. We wanted to thank the community and our customers for their support, so we just had a big chamber celebration a few weeks ago with about 350 people and served hamburgers and hot dogs to celebrate our 20-year anniversary at our main location.”
Byrd’s Mini Storage started off using a detailed pen and paper system to track tenants, units, and payments at their Dawsonville facility. But as they acquired more facilities, the need for facility management software grew.
In 2003, Byrd joined the family business and made the move from using pen and paper to working with a facility management software. In 2009, he also upgraded the brand’s website to a search engine optimized storEDGE website tailored to provide online rentals, online move-ins, and online bill pay. After the website’s success, Byrd upgraded his facility management software again, ultimately trying out two different software programs before landing with storEDGE in 2015. Byrd says he was surprised at how easy it was to transfer their company data over to the storEDGE platform.
“Switching software can be so nerve-wracking, because your whole livelihood depends on your software,” said Byrd. “But storEDGE definitely made it very easy to move over. Everyone has been super friendly and helpful to make it as easy on us as possible.”
Byrd also utilizes Rental Center™ to run two unmanned facilities: a 35,000 sq foot facility with 225 units in Dawsonville and a 21,000 sq foot facility with 165 units in Gainesville. These facilities also offer truck rentals, boxes and supplies, and online bill pay.
Since 2013, Byrd’s Mini Storage has also owned and operated a RV, boat, and vehicle storage property at their Byrd-Elliott Boat & RV Storage location in Dawsonville. The facility boasts 200 parking spaces and is located close to prime camping, boating, and fishing real estate on the Chattahoochee River and Lake Lanier, one of the largest lakes in Georgia. The facility offers amenities unique to RV and boat storage, like an ice machine to fill up coolers and water filling stations to prepare a camper for a weekend at the lake.
In addition to traditional self storage, Byrd also offers portable self storage units as part of his business. Byrd says he saw a need for it in the community, and wanted to be able to fill that niche with his current business.
“I looked at portables for three or four years and finally found a company that we could work with. We bought twelve of them to start off with and I thought, ‘well, worst case scenario we can just put our names on both sides and use them as basically as billboards around town.’ They were delivered to us the first week of February 2014 and we rented eight of them out within a week. It’s just grown more and more ever since then.”
Byrd now offers 36 portable storage units with delivery, pickup, and relocation within 40 miles of Dawsonville. It’s ideal for customers who are moving: they can reserve a portable any time or call the office (open six days a week) to have the portable delivered to their home. Then, they can fill it up and have it relocated to Byrd’s high-security facility or taken directly to their new home. The high-security facility is popular for people who want the convenience of portables along with the security of traditional self storage. The portable storage facility is unlisted to deter theft, has state-of-the-art security monitoring, and is defended by high-strength perimeter fencing. Byrd’s storEDGE software is also used to run the portable side of the business.
“The way the lead system works in storEDGE, the portable customer can give their credit card information and make a reservation without assigning them to a particular unit number. Then, we can select a portable unit and ensure it’s clean and ready to go before we deliver it. Once the unit is delivered, the driver processes the payment, assigns the unit to the tenant in our software, and the customer signs the lease electronically.”
Byrd would like to see his software expanded in the future to include portable unit mapping and a modified portable move-in flow, and eventually hire a full-time driver to make portable deliveries and pickups around the Dawsonville area.
“We all work together as a family to make it work and I think we’ve really found our niche,” said Byrd. “I really like the portables and I think they’re the next big thing. My goal is to offer over a hundred portable storage containers in the future.”
Thank you Byrd's Mini Storage! At storEDGE, we are proud to work with clients who excel at what they do, care about their customers, and lead the industry in technology. If you liked this article, you may also like: Client Spotlight: Columbia Storage Group, Client Spotlight: Castlerock Interests, LLC, and Client Spotlight: Beyond Self Storage.