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Free self storage pre opening checklist

By Marc Goodin

A self storage owner has an incredible amount of things to do in the 6 months prior to opening to have a very successful grand opening and to be prepared to shatter the rent up estimate provided by the 3rd party feasibility study. One way to keep on track is to use a checklist and descriptions, examples, and how to's for each item in the checklist. We have 4 new facilities going to bid so we updating our pre opening checklist and sections in our manuals over the next couple of months.

Our current pre opening checklist below you a better understanding of the many things that need to be done by the owner before opening. If your not a storage Authority Franchise you will note that you will need to prepare many items/manuals vs using Storage Authority systems, manuals and platforms which makes it so much easier.

180 Days Before Opening (or Sooner)

_____ Review and use the Storage Authority Pre-Opening Marketing checklist

_____ Review and use the Storage Authority Pre-Opening Marketing plan

_____ Review Storage Authority Artwork Standards

_____ Start your Facebook page and regularly post your construction photos. Make sure it is a company page and not a personal page.

_____ Soon after Planning & Zoning approvals and you have purchased the property install a coming soon sign:

Typically: A 4’ x 8’ - ¼” corrugated white plastic sheet with red vinyl letters that is screwed on a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood. You need to check your local zoning as they may have certain requirements or even prohibit such signage. Sample minimum recommended sign details:

Coming Soon

Storage Authority identifier


Now Taking Reservations (This may be added in the future if opening is far off.)


Phone #

120 Days Before Opening (or sooner)

_____ Start a weekly pre opening review with your SA Operations Franchise Director

_____ Order Storage Authority® Website

_____ Review Managers Manual with Storage Authority

_____ Review Sales & Marketing Manual with Storage Authority

_____ Review hiring and training manuals

_____ Start pre-opening marketing checklist

_____ Re-read SA Operation Manual – print for use

_____ Obtain site address & phone number.

_____ Choose a renters Insurance/protection program/order - this must be done beofer your lease is prepared.

_____ Have lease prepared once type of tenant insurance is provided

_____ Order management program – see form

_____ Order office & gate signage

_____ Obtain Building & self-storage Insurance

_____ Set standard rates & grand opening rates

_____ Start advertising & Interview for managers and weekend manager

90 Days Before Opening (or sooner)

_____ Review & use Initial Office Setup Checklist

_____Order and set up Merchant Credit Card service

_____ Purchase office supplies & furniture see list

_____ Purchase maintenance supplies - see list

_____ Purchase self-storage merchandise

_____ Hire employees & start training and manager marketing

_____ Request sample chart of accounts

_____ Books/bookkeeper/CPA

_____ Payroll set up

_____ Office set up

60 Days Before Opening (or sooner)

_____ Continue Owners and Employee training with SA

_____ Standard rates & grand opening set in management program

_____ Post-opening marketing plan prepared. Use SA base plan

_____ Order slat wall hooks & baskets

45 Days Before Opening (or sooner)

Initial Office Purchasing Checklist

_____ Computer with Dual Monitors

_____ Cash register if you do not have built in desk drawer with cash tray.

_____ 2- color printers – one for backup – recommend long use ink printers like Epson EcoTank Series

_____ Microwave & misc. kitchen supplies

_____ 2 Wi-Fi Routers are required/ guest & secure for office computer to be PCI compliant for Credit cards

_____ Lamination Machine

_____ Return address stamp

_____ For deposit only, Account # xxx Stamp

_____ Paper/color paper/pads/envelopes/pens/highlighters/paper/paper clips, tape/staplers, folder clips and misc. small office supplies

_____ Hanging files, files, file tabs

_____ Label maker-Brother

_____ Clipboards (4 min)

_____ 1”, 2”, & 3” binders – 2 each min. with Numbered section dividers

_____ Mini Fridge

_____ Coffee maker

_____ Coffee supplies

_____ Beverages & water for clients

_____ 2 high counter stools for customers

_____ Office furniture

_____ File cabinets

_____ Wall Art

_____ Candy bowl & Candy

_____ Seasonal holiday supplies

_____ 2 -8 x11 plexiglass holders for desk signage

_____ plexiglass holders for 3.5 x 11 marketing rack card holders

_____ Business card holders

_____ Office calendar

_____ bulletin boards – if location available for various info

_____ Paper trays holders (i.e., for preprinted often used forms or holding locations until papers filed)

_____ One moving Flat Cart ordered for every climate control door

_____ SA Shirts for you & staff.

Initial Office and Facility Setup Checklist

_____ Manager Manual site specific sections completed

o Vendor contacts list

o Marketing Plan & budget

o Monthly marketing calendar

o Letters/Forms/ with your letterhead

_____ Manager Manual & Operations Manual printed & in binders and on computer

Desktop for easy reference.

_____ Storage Authority Manuals, forms, checklists etc. located on Storage Authority

Command Center studied.

_____ Scripts & rental process memorized – Role played over & over

_____ Sitelink basics learned – 20 plus practice rentals completed.

_____ Files set up per Operations Manual – Renters, Vendors, business, Marketing etc.

_____ CC reader & tablet for Sitelink

_____ Sitelink set up including:

o Lease and every letter, form & email printed and read for accuracy and readability. (Often typos and even names of other facility in letters

o All forms capable and set up for e-sign

o Late fee charges & notices timing confirmed

o Unit rented via cash test

o Unit rented via credit card test

o Tablet for e sign tested

o Products priced in Sitelink

o Show units made unavailable in Sitelink

_____ Website set up including:

o Proof for accuracy on all tabs, address, phone, spelling etc.

o API linked (Sitelink) to rent online, payments, show real time prices

o Pay per click account established with budget & campaign

_____ Kiosk set up including:

o API linked to open tech

o API linked to gate software

o Test with tech support multiple times for accuracy

o Kiosk ties in to VOIP Phone & Megan -Virtual assistant

_____ Office Computer with dual monitors on a swivel to turn to customers

_____ Office printer hooked up wirelessly to network

_____ WIFI Router (s) setup with one secure network and one guest network

_____ Office Furniture & Décor setup

_____ Flat screen(s) hung on wall behind counter and tested with cameras, slideshow

_____ Slat wall full of Storage Authority Locks

_____ Order self storage Products set up & all with prices clearly marked

_____ S/M/L boxes singles in box rack

_____ S/M/L boxes in 10 Packs on dolly

_____ Office products displayed, priced

_____ Lease (two-sided print) laminated on counter

_____ Client site/unit map laminated on counter

_____ No Late fee sign laminated on counter

_____ Guarantee Laminated on counter

_____ Lock on sale laminated – above locks

_____ Cheat sheet with site contact info & directions for phone calls

_____ Fridge stocked water & soda

_____ Coffee, Water or Soda on us laminated sign on fridge

_____ Business & Rack Card on counter

_____ Insurance info cards on the counter

_____ Price list & available unit list for managers use

_____ Insurance brochures on counter

_____ Why Climate Control Laminated

_____ Coffee machine, coffee & coffee supplies

_____ Oversized overflowing candy dish

_____ Restroom door signage

_____ 2 Manager rental clipboards with:

o Site map with show units highlighted with size noted

o Price list

o Available unit list

o Rack Card

____ Often used forms in paper form printed & available:

Lease, rules & all addendums.

Preopening Marketing & Sales Checklist

_____ Review Sales & Marketing with Storage Authority

_____ Review the SA Sales & Marketing Dynamic Ease Manual

_____ Prepare your monthly Marketing Calendar

_____ Prepare your 1-year Marketing Plan/expenses

_____ Open & use your company's Facebook page if not previously done

_____ Open & use your Instagram page if not previously done

_____ Open & use your Youtube if not done already.

_____ Open a Mailchimp newsletter account & add contact emails

_____ Prepare & send bimonthly construction newsletter

_____ Prepare & send "open" newsletter

_____ Prepare & send bimonthly newsletter

_____ Prepare your Google/FB pay-per-click program - PPC

_____ Order promotional handouts

_____ Order various marketing cards & rack cards

_____ Prepare grand opening specials

_____ Visit local businesses twice & hand out promo items, grand opening postcards & get emails

_____ Order marketing yard signs

_____ Prepare for Grand Opening Event, send postcards, promote on social media

It is a lot of work. But just imagine if you were not provided the baisics like marketing materials, yard sign slogans, gate signs, maketing and counter cards, newsletter format, intial product order manuals and so on ---- you would need to start a year in advance work full time to be ready to open.

If you want to have a 15-minute call to learn how Storage Authority helps insure the above items and more are accomplished at your facility and how we help you find land and get your facility built please send me an email or call me – no appointment needed:

Get more information on Storage Authority Franchise at

Marc Goodin is the President of Storage Authority Franchising. He owns 3 self-storages he designed, built, and manages. He has been helping others in the self-storage industry for over 25 years. He can be reached at or directly at 860-830-6764 to answer your franchising, development, marketing, sales, and operations questions. His best selling self storage books are available on Amazon.


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