By Drew Case
Storage Authority Franchise
Self-storage competition is constantly growing. Your primary competition is within a 3 mile radius of your location. The need to "be the best" in your market should be a driving force to constantly be innovative and determine ways to constantly win the customer over to be YOUR customer. To quote Sun Tzu: "To know your enemy, you must become your enemy". You simply must identify your shortcomings to help provide yourself the advantage in the current marketplace. In less philosophical words: "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight!" There are a variety of aspects you need to know about your competition, and yourself, to make your location "The Best"!
Visit your local competitors. You can try pretending to be a customer or simply introduce yourself and let them know who you are, as they will eventually know who you are anyways. You are both in the same business and have goals of renting your storage units, so you may as well know each other. Some competitors have different offerings and you may be able to help each other, instead of starting a "war". They might have RV storage and you may not. There will be a time when they are booked on 10'x20' and you have a couple available. Their customer may not take a two 10'x10's and you might be the next best option. That manager will know you and probably send the customer in your direction. Fact is, you don't know your "enemy" until you know their manager by their first name and you know all the offerings (weapons) they have to compete with you. Are you better?
Various aspects determine if you are "better". When you visit the competition, have a checklist in your mind, your mobile device or on paper. Drive-by visibility and overall appearance of the facility make a huge impact on the customer. I once drove by a major chain several times in one month and their overflowing dumpster allowed trash and debris and to blow all over the lot. I could not believe the manager allowed that to happen for that long. Review landscaping, signage, cleanliness and overall condition of the facility. Review the perimeter fence, lighting and front gate. Does the facility appear welcoming? How does this compare to your facility.
Head to the office and meet the manager. Did they greet you or did you have to find them and interrupt their game of Solitaire to get the information you were seeking. If they are with a customer, see how they interact with them while you wait. Were they personable and professional. Review the cleanliness and organization of the showroom as you walk in or while you wait. What are their retail offerings? While in the showroom, check out the security monitors and count the cameras and see how its displayed. If you get a chance, review the restroom. Is there anything else different that you can note that may provide an advantage over what your facility offers. Can you offer it or provide something similar, so they don't have an advantage over you. For example, a free coffee and beverage station really adds some hospitality. Customers are appreciative of a cool or hot beverage, depending on the weather.
Lastly, if you are pretending to be a customer, ask to see a unit. How did they try to sell you on their units? Listen and maybe you will like something in their presentation. If you introduced yourself upon arrival, complement their facility and ask for a tour. In my experience, most often, they will give you one. Feel free to discuss rates. You can always check rates online, but it's good to know their street rate. The new key aspect to rates is to know "How long before the rents are increased?" REITS are starting with a low teaser rate and raising rents. This presents a new challenge, one that the customer will catch on to soon. Be fair and do what is right for the customer and they will be your customer forever.
It's always good to know your competition. Your competitors are primarily within 3 miles of your own location and you should know every one of them. You don't have to bash your competitor, but you can certainly sell your own facility more creatively. Customers will rarely travel outside of three miles for self-storage and will select the best one within 3 miles of their home. Use what you learn to improve your own locations selling and service and work to BE THE BEST!!
Storage Authority's guidance in self-storage development underscores the intricate balance between meeting storage demands and environmental sustainability. By aligning with Storage Authority's principles and leveraging our team's expertise, along with your engineer, architect, and general contractor we can navigate the complexities of impervious coverage with confidence, ensuring the creation of self-storage facilities that are both economically viable and environmentally responsible.
Storage Authority Franchising is all about owning your own local self-storage business, supported by professional systems and expertise. We like to say, "You're in business for yourself but not by yourself." If self-storage is on your mind, don't hesitate to reach out to Drew Case at Direct: 513-582-0125 or Drew@StorageAuthority.com to learn more about the Storage Authority Franchise opportunity. Your self-storage journey awaits!
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