January 16, 2017 • Steve Hajewski, Marketing Manager
As I write this post, we’re about halfway through an icy gray January in Wisconsin. It’s pretty bleak outside, getting dark around 4:30 pm, and mother nature seems confused lately, with rain pouring down on us while the temperature hovers at 25 degrees. Hardly a good time for anyone to move if they don’t need to.
But it’s a great time to think about what will be going on in the Spring and Summer if you own a self-storage facility. For most operators, business will pick up significantly at that time. Smart operators will begin taking action to prepare for that now. For some owners, that preparation comes in the form of adding new units to accommodate a growing business. But even if you are not adding new units, there are a few things you should be doing.
Clean out the delinquents
It’s good practice to hold regular auctions. Once a tenant becomes significantly overdue, your chances of collecting are reduced. But it’s even more important to clear out any non-paying tenants in advance of your busy season. It can take a few months to serve proper notice before an auction. If you’ve gotten behind in these, start now to get units cleared out and ready for paying renters to come in the Spring.
Evaluate your rates
If your occupancy is high, it’s time to consider raising rates. Your expenses go up every year, and it’s important to the health of your business to adjust accordingly on a regular basis. In most states, this is a simple process of sending out an advance notice. Use rate increases to maximize revenue on popular sizes, or to make less popular sizes look more attractive in comparison to the sizes above and below. Rarely would anyone move out over a few dollars of rate increase. In fact, if increases are reasonably small, you’ll most likely not hear a single complaint.
Can your customers find you?
Try searching for “Self storage in [insert your city name here].” If you don’t show up within the top three results on the map on Google, you should investigate as soon as possible. If you have a web site, a great place to start is by talking to the company or person that built it for you. Assuming you are a Trachte customer, you can also call us for help as well. But get help, because about half of all renters will rent from the first place they call. If you don’t show up on the list, they probably aren’t going to call you.
There are probably a few more items to look at to improve the bottom line, but these are some big ones that many small operators miss. Best wishes for a happy new year at your facility!