There is an art and a science to presenting auto-pay to the self-storage customer but there is a tremendous value for both the customer and the self-storage facility.
The presentation of auto-pay is everything, how you say it, how you deliver it and the sub-conscious triggers the customer reads all work as a synergy to optimize your auto-pay program. With Storage Authority Franchising we have the system in place for you to maximize your revenue and streamline the process.
We love customers on auto pay because they save us time (for marketing) Typically only the few who put themselves on auto pay get on auto pay. Even if asked if they want to go on auto pay say no because most yes or no questions naturally end up with as a no. This one is a no-brainer. It just takes learning the script and techniques mandatory and one hour of training and the proper lease. Because people stay 2 extra months if they are on auto pay an extra 10 auto pays a month is worth $30,000 a year.
When presenting the hard copy lease, Storage Authority may be the only one who has this option on the front page of a lease making it easy to present and get a yes at just the right time. And no extra paperwork like every other facility. Of course, we had to pay a self-storage attorney to set it up to make sure we met the law, but well worth the investment.
As self-storage evolves, and we make the paperless transition the very wording on how you start the lease presentation will be critical to your success, ” All I need is your ID and the debit card you would like to keep on file.” As you swipe the debit card (debit cards carry less merchant service fees than credit cards) into the software you remind the customer their card will be debited on whichever date their move-in date every month and we will send an email confirmation. You automatically put them on auto-pay by just assuming they want the value of the program. Remember they are also reading your late fee schedule that is on your counter (*See Below example) as your working through the lease presentation. It’s expensive to be late in self-storage there is an immense value to the customer to automate their payment process.
For self-storage owners & operators, auto-pay is, undoubtedly, their best source for obtaining on-time payments. It helps lighten many of the biggest hassles that go along with operating a storage facility—namely delinquent payments, collection calls and lien sales. In addition, too, customers on auto-pay generally don’t think about paying that bill every month or scrutinize the dollar amount they’re paying too closely. Because it becomes just part of their monthly budget many will also stay an additional two months or more as noted earlier. Adding a rental increase also becomes streamlined and more acceptable for tenants enrolled in an automatic-payment system.
Take advantage of the “no late-fee guarantee” program use your tool on the counter to help educate the customer if there is any hesitation. Tell the customer how convenient it is to enroll. Also, be sure to ease their fears about any risks of keeping the card on file by letting them know your software program meets Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) and compliance. Customers cards are stored on an encrypted level where managers can only see the last four of the card.
Ultimately, the service should reduce your collection calls and lien sales, as customers on auto-pay will always make their payments on time. Plus, it’s another great service and valuable convenience you can offer your tenants.
Auto Pay Program + Late Fee Schedule
These should be outlined on a single laminated sheet and displayed on the counter or positioned in a plexiglass 8×11 frame very visible on the counter for the customer to read. Many self-storage operators fail to realize how valuable this is. Too often we forget to tell customers about our late fee schedule, or how they are guaranteed no late fees by enrolling in our simple, automatic, debit/credit-card payment plan.
How much of a collections issue would you have if most of your customers were on auto-pay? Quit asking new tenants if they want to sign up for it. Instead, make it part of the lease and sales presentation. For example, you can say, “Our customers love the convenience of our auto-pay program. All I need is your ID and debit card to get started?” More auto-pay customers mean fewer past-due customers and more streamlined revenue for the facility.
Money in the bank following the Storage Authority Franchising system.
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