Summer is finally here! Storage owners prepare for the summer storage rush like retail owners prepare for Black Friday - with careful, meticulous planning and lots of late nights. Summertime in self storage is a beast, and if you’re not well prepared, you’ll be smashed by your competition and lose out on thousands of dollars of potential revenue.
But fear not: you can make your huge summer storage season a big success with the right preparation and marketing strategies. Read on to get all of our top tips to conquer the beast and optimize your storage facility’s revenue over the summer, or jump to a specific section by clicking below. Ready, set, go!
Hopefully you’ve already got your tenants on a rent increase schedule. But if you haven’t increased rent for years, spring is the perfect time to do so. You’ll want to hike up your rent to be competitive with your market and increase profits for your facility before your busy season. Be sure to check out our resources on how to handle a price increase at your storage facility and get organized to determine whose rates need to be increased and by how much.
Before the peak summer season, adjust your tenants’ rent rates by a set percentage or dollar amount (depending on their unit size), then adjust your corresponding web rates to be the same price or more. (Pro tip: never send out a rent increase letter before you adjust your standard rates for walk-ins and website users to be more than the rent rate you’re asking loyal customers to pay.) Set up a rent increase schedule in your facility management software or create reminders in your storage facility calendar to consistently adjust rates on the same time schedule - the consistency will help increase renter tolerance of price increases and get new renters used to the idea of small, routine price increases. Remember: many tenants will complain about the price increase, but few will leave. As the old industry saying goes, “if none of your tenants are complaining, then you didn’t raise your rates high enough.” Tenants that do leave as a result of a price increase were likely planning to move out soon anyway, and you’ll soon be able to fill their unit with a higher-paying tenant.
Sometimes it’s hard to put your foot down when you know tenants are struggling to pay their bills on time due to unfortunate circumstances or difficult financial situations. Sometimes loyal tenants even become friends over time. But as a business owner or facility manager, your first priority should be collecting rent. If you’ve been lenient on delinquent tenants and have been putting off sending units to auction, now is the time to make a change.
As summer rolls in, your facility will soon be filling up and you don’t want to turn potential, paying renters away because delinquent tenants are occupying the space. To boost profits, you’ll need to get your overdue tenants out and ready your units for new tenants. If it’s been a few years since your last auction, check out your state’s lien laws to find out what’s changed since last time. You’ll need to follow the law to the letter to ensure your business is protected against legal action. Capitalize on your auctions by getting organized, utilizing your software’s delinquency tools, and promoting your auction via local media.
After you’ve got delinquent tenants out, it’s time to get cleaning and start checking things off your maintenance to-do list. Spring is the perfect time to deep clean your facility to get units sparkling and improve your curb appeal before the summer rush - the weather is mild and tenants are deep cleaning their homes, as well. Create a spring cleaning checklist like the one below and start crossing things off. If you live in an area with intense summer storms, be sure to take additional steps to prepare your facility to withstand severe weather.
Summer storage facility maintenance checklist:
You’ll also want to include additional items that are unique to your property, like climate controlled unit and air conditioner maintenance, data storage, lawn care, and detention pond maintenance. Also, consider the last time you did a thorough inspection of your facility’s “bones,” like buildings, basements, electrical and HVAC systems, and roofs. If you haven’t done a complete roof examination in the last few years, be sure to add it to your to-do list. Proactive property maintenance can save you thousands in the long run!
RV sales are on the rise, and your RV and boat tenants will soon be rolling in for convenient, safe parking near their favorite summertime camping spots. Expect to see increased demand for parking spaces and interior RV and boat storage spaces this year. Start preparing your facility now to maximize profits off RV and boat parking and extra-large unit rentals.
If possible, consider expanding your lot or doing some development on-site to add more RV parking and storage options for the busy summer season. You might be surprised at the ROI of converting small units into extra-large spaces or adding a canopy to your parking lot - canopied RV parking typically rents for three times the rate of outdoor, uncovered parking spaces (or more!). In addition, find out what amenities your RV and boat storage competitors are offering and see if you can add value for RV tenants with amenities like 24/7 access hours, electricity hookups, vehicle detailing, and valet services.
If you’re in a college town, summer is the perfect time to prepare for the back to school season. You may have quite a few units already rented to students who are home for the summer, and you can analyze how well your spring marketing worked to bring in new student renters. As summer goes on, your student renters will soon be coming back to school, moving out, and leaving room for new students to rent. These renters may be replaced by parents looking to rent small units for their kids’ dorm overflow or indoor parking spaces that protect their kids’ cars from hail or storm damage.
Prep for your fall student rentals and make the most of your college location by marketing to college students over the summer months. Add a student storage page to your website to help your website rank higher for queries like “student storage near K-State.” Work with your local college or university to provide college student moving services and promote student storage rentals around campus. Place flyers and specials in local student hangouts, like coffee shops, pubs, and popular shopping destinations. If you’re advertising on Facebook or Google, try targeting your ads to be geared towards students who are looking for safe, affordable storage space near campus.
Every summer, take notes of what worked well and what didn’t work well to prepare your facility to optimize summer rentals next year. Every spring, you can look back at your last summer notes and make a game plan to be more prepared and increase profits. Keep this document alive by updating it year over year and improving your strategies as you learn and grow.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this blog post, you may also like: How to protect your storage facility from summertime pests, How to automate your rental rates to boost revenue, and How to optimize your tenant’s rental experience.