by Josh Parker
Student rentals are great, and they provide a nice seasonal bump in occupancy. I love the energy they bring when they come in and rent, and often they will take advantage of the student move-in specials- one that I love is a pre-pay special because it is guaranteed for 4 months (May, June, July, and August) and that means I won’t be chasing them down for late payments!
6 things you should know about renting to students to maximize your profits:
1. Remember that 3 student rentals (4 months each) equal one regular rental (average stay 1 year), so don’t overbuild for student rentals.
A good unit mix is crucial when designing your facility to maximize profits. Overbuilding to accommodate students is a costly mistake because they are seasonal, and those units will sit empty for much of the year.
2. Raise your unit rates every March for your most common sizes for students- 5x5, 5x10, etc.
Students need to store their belongings. Price is not the determining factor for them- they will rent where they can get a unit, because often they have no other option, and often they will rent to the first place they call. So raise the rents, and make sure you are the first place they call.
3. When your competition gives a free month to students, don’t.
Give a pre-pay special that includes a free lock or a waived admin fee. They might fill up faster down the street by giving away a free month, but I never give a free month, and I still fill up every year.
4. Don’t offer them the smallest size first.
Start with a 5x10 or even 10x10, then work your way down if they say it is too big. Often they will take the first size you offer them.
5. Only ONE name on the lease.
Best if it is the student’s name- even if the parents are paying for it. Having multiple names on a lease is a no-no and can lead to costly and lengthy legal issues. Having the student's name on the lease makes access easier, as they are typically the ones to bring their belongings to the facility.
6. Market, market, market.
As I said above- students will often rent at the first facility they call. Effective marketing campaigns help you to be that facility.
In-person marketing on campus can be extremely effective- do they have a housing fair? Go and hand out something fun (reusable “solo” cups are a big hit).
Run targeted ads online starting 2 months before the summer break.
Parent and student referrals are HUGE. Students are more likely to use referral cards- so make a big deal out of them- $30 bucks for you, $30 bucks for your friend!
Often there are university-specific Facebook groups for parents. By asking parents to post about their rental experiences those groups we have gotten many rentals.
Always ask how they heard about you so that you know how to improve your marketing the following year.
Don’t forget that many students will be repeat customers- so load them up with positive experiences so they remember you! They love free stuff, and anyway that you can help them to make the process easier, they appreciate it!
If you want to learn more about a Storage Authority Franchise you can request it here www.storageauthorityfranchise.com/opportunity4 or give me a call.
Josh Parker is VP of Technology and Development at Storage Authority. A tech guru with a background in large facility operations and team leadership, Josh is passionate about helping individuals and teams achieve success! He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (942) 275-1340, and can also often be seen visiting local coffee shops across Central Connecticut.