If you’ve been in the self storage industry for a while, you’ve probably seen your fair share of self storage startups come into the space with hopes to take Uber and Airbnb’s ideas and apply them to self storage. For many storage owners, it’s fun to watch these startups from the outside looking in, but their innovative (and expensive) business models are just too risky to apply to your own property investments. You don’t have to be the industry’s next hot startup or invent an app to learn from the success, simplicity, and creativity of Uber. Find out how you can apply Uber’s bold ideas and crazy successful strategies to your self storage brand without changing the bones of your business by reading on below, or check out the full article on the Self Storage Association blog.

What is Uber’s special sauce?

Uber may have had a billion-dollar idea with their ridesharing app, but the lightbulb moment behind the company wasn’t what made it special - it was the simple user experience. Uber’s special sauce is its simplicity and convenience. In our article on the Self Storage Association blog, we outline three ways self storage owners can steal some of the magic behind the success of the Uber brand:

  1. Make it incredibly easy for your customers to do business with you
  2. Focus on safety and security
  3. Attack big picture problems head-on

Note that I said “incredibly easy” and not just “easy,” because that’s key. Uber is incredibly easy to use. With just a tap, your car is on the way. Disney, Amazon, Starbucks, and Apple do the same thing: they make it almost too easy for you to give them your money. Spending money with tools like Apple Pay and Starbucks’ reloadable club card with in-app rewards feel more like playing a game than cash leaving your bank account. Disney’s wristbands act like a wearable credit card that let you pay for anything and everything in the park, skip lines, and get on rides faster - it’s literally like waving a magic wand, and it’s so easy that people forget they’re spending real money. Even though you’re selling a much different product and service, your facility can copy the “it’s like magic” experience by making things incredibly easy for your customers.

Why do people love Disney, Amazon, Uber, Starbucks, and Apple? One thing connects all these brands: they make it super simple for people to give them money. With a couple taps on your phone, your Uber driver appears to pick you up, your new shoes are on their way from the Amazon warehouse, or your Venti Iced Vanilla Double Shot is ready and waiting for you to pickup at your local Starbucks.

Renting a self storage unit can (and should) be just as easy. Self storage brands that succeed online have websites that are incredibly easy to use, from choosing a storage unit size and renting a unit to digitally signing a lease and buying a lock online. You want to make renting a storage unit so easy for customers that it’d be a waste of their time to even bother looking somewhere else.

How to apply the Uber model to your self storage business

The good news is that the simplicity model is easy to scale, no matter how large or small your self storage business is. Your customers are super busy and they love anything that saves them time. Design your website to be optimized for mobile devices so that your leads can rent a unit in just a few taps from their smartphone. Offer value-adding timesavers whenever you can. For example, if you offer moving truck rentals, try offering moving and packing supplies online on your website for convenient delivery to their home with their moving truck rental. Never underestimate the power of time-savers like this when marketing to your prospective tenants - people are so busy that they’ll gladly pay for a little extra convenience and simplicity in their lives.

Regardless of your facility size or business scope, you can attack problems head on to win more rentals and stand out from your competition. Talk to your tenants and managers to find out what your facility can do better and engage with other owners in the industry to brainstorm creative solutions to big-picture problems.

Another tip from Uber? Invest in security. You simply can’t oversell security - it’s a huge deciding factor for storage tenants, especially those in saturated markets who see storage facility break-ins and theft on the news all the time. Whether you’ve had security incidents in the past or you’re trying to stay ahead of the curve, there are tons of options to improve your security technology stack. Check out all of the latest tech by attending an industry trade show - there are options for every budget, from unit alarms and electronic door locks to cloud-based access control systems and smartphone-enabled security cameras. Updating your facility’s security tools is great marketing for your business, and you’ll reassure current and prospective tenants that their stuff will be safe with you.

Ready to modernize your self storage business model? Click the image below to get our FREE guide for new storage owners looking to update their technology, including tips for selecting the right software, security cameras, gates, and more for your facility’s unique needs.

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Thanks for reading! If you liked this blog post, you may also like: Will the traditional self storage model win out against 'Uber for storage' and 'AirBnB for storage' startups?, How to succeed in an over-saturated self storage market, and Will storing firearms be the next big thing in self storage?