The words “smart building” come up quite a bit nowadays. It’s an increasingly popular phrase, and although people generally know what it means, there’s quite a bit more to it than meets the eye. And having a working knowledge of exactly what goes into building smart can not only make your self-storage business more cost-effective and profitable now, but it can also set you up for future success and stability in the long run.
Think of smart building like assembling a roster for a team – find all the right complimentary pieces, watch them work together seamlessly, and enjoy success. When it comes to smart building, that roster includes the combination of infrastructure strategy and the newest technological innovations to create a self-storage experience that is ideal for owner-operators as well as tenants. And that experience is meant for now, as well as the years to come.
This can sound a bit intimidating at first, but building smart doesn’t have to be a “one-size-fits-all” approach. After all, every successful team plays to their strengths and adjusts as needed. There are a wide variety of scalable options, whether you’re ready for a full development project, or you simply want to dip your toes into the smart world. Whatever your level of interest, there are two key words that consistently come up when assembling that all-star smart roster.
The first is DESIGN. Securing a top-notch development partner who can help select and implement the exact features and functionalities you want gives you a leg up right away. The most successful smart buildings are not only mapped, wired, constructed, and outfitted with tools that benefit both owners’ and tenants’ needs today, they are also flexible for more upgrades tomorrow. This requires thoughtful and user-centered planning with the guidance of an expert development partner like BETCO, who can provide in-house design and engineering experts that can handle the base building infrastructure for your desired features and future upgrades.
The second key word is INFRASTRUCTURE. Truly smart building design requires owner-operators to carefully and thoughtfully map the building’s cabling pathways and integrations which allows for efficient installation and service, as well as better protection and accessibility. Sure, it’s tempting to try the DIY route or cut a few corners here and there to save money, but that can be an expensive mistake in the long run.
Let’s say you don’t have a well thought out cabling strategy and instead set up your systems with little planning. You may find that you won’t be able to install a new smart feature down the road because it’s incompatible with your patchwork infrastructure. The result is an unplanned, costly installation and renovation. And that will disrupt tenants, impact security and hurt your facility’s reputation. It all comes back to that word again – infrastructure.
So now that you are familiar with what goes into building smart – what does your playbook look like? What are the key steps to achieving your goals of a smart facility, one that sets you up for success today and tomorrow? Let’s examine the right plays to call:
PLAY 1: SEE THE ENTIRE PLAYING FIELD BEFORE EXECUTING
It all begins with a thorough, thoughtful, and flexible design. Sure, it’s tempting to cut corners to be able to open your doors sooner. But rushed or poorly planned wiring, cabling, and integrations pretty much guarantee costly headaches in the future. Instead, create a strategic plan for your ideal smart self-storage environment, collaborating with a team of builders with deep smart storage experience. Together you can look at the big picture and carefully orchestrate construction details, ensuring development will be efficient, on budget, and on time.
PLAY 2: OWNER AND TENANT MAKE THE BEST TEAMMATES
Like the greatest quarterback/wide-receiver combos, making sure the owner-operator and tenant are synced up makes everything run smoothly. If you look at any successful smart self-storage facility, you’ll find they all have one thing in common: they offer a seamless experience for both owner-operators and tenants alike. And that’s no coincidence. To design the ideal experience, thorough market and feasibility studies are used to evaluate the building’s use cases and needs. Those studies will provide the valuable insights needed to create that dream smart environment. And remember, building with your users in mind makes their lives easier, which in turn increases your profits – and that’s a combination that ensures true success.
PLAY 3: CALL THE PLAYS THAT FIT YOUR TEAM
In the sports world, you should never run plays that don’t fit how your team is constructed. The same goes for the self-storage world, meaning smart self-storage facility development is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. A variety of scalable options are key if you aren’t ready for a full development project.
The first step is to consider your infrastructure. A sound, intelligently designed framework allows you the freedom to try any technological feature or scope you desire. Your development team should be able to help you find and create that perfect dream smart environment, even if it means scaling down a bit. For example, you might consider a phased conversion, meaning the infrastructure is built first, followed by “smart wings” over time.
No matter the size or approach, smart buildings offer the ultimate in opportunity. Opportunity for tenants to have the convenience they will rave about, and opportunity for owner-operators to grow revenue through these premium units, helping to justify a larger-scale smart renovation.
PLAY 4: THE PLAY CLOCK IS RUNNING, SO DON’T WASTE TIME
Studies have shown that younger generations will pay a premium for self-storage convenience. Whether custom-sized units, smartphone access, or 24/7 remote support, let’s face it, a convenient experience like this feels easier, safer, and more valuable. And as those youthful tenants age, those smart self-storage perks will no longer be premium luxuries – they will be expected. Regardless of your market, demographics, or current capacity, it’s incredibly important to start thinking about your smart building strategy today to ensure viability tomorrow.
PLAY 5: MAXIMIZE YOUR ROSTER OF ALL-STAR TALENT
Behind every thriving smart self-storage environment is an all-star team, a group of experts carefully planning and choreographing a facility’s design, construction, and growth. Here are some important things your dream team should have in their arsenal:
An easy, one-stop development approach
Expert strategists with design, engineering, and in-house fabrication experience to plan your ideal, custom smart environment
Proven planning, installation, and site-wide technology maintenance experts to help you complete and oversee smart upgrades
Technical expertise in all self-storage systems, designs, and footprints, allowing flexibility for multi-company development teams
An in-house network easily connecting you to industry-leading smart features and innovations
A state-of-the-art, in-house training facility featuring a smart environment
A track record of successful partnerships with and installations for organizations of all types, including real estate investment trusts (REITs)
Decades of innovation and results to ensure smart building planning, construction, and installation are seamless and future-focused
A commitment to partnership and growth, helping your smart building thrive today and grow tomorrow
So, now that you have a playbook chock full of plays that ensure success, it’s time to execute. Strategic smart building is a no-brainer as far as being a sound investment for owner-operators in the short-term as well as the future. It offers the ideal convenient, secure, and innovative experience tenants value (and pay more for) today. As self-storage demographics and preferences continue to shift, building smart also protects your facility’s performance tomorrow.
Possibly the greatest benefit to an owner-operator of building smart is peace of mind. You’ll enjoy a more secure facility outfitted with state-of-the-art features that are functional, integrated, and expandable. This in turn saves money and time, and offers a premium rental experience to tenants, which helps your ROI.
And don’t forget the power of a satisfied customer. A tenant’s positive smart experience increases loyalty and satisfaction, which in turn leads to positive word of mouth, which in turn leads to your competitive advantage.
It’s pretty clear where the self-storage game is headed, so it’s wiser than ever to think about tomorrow while at the same time improving and advancing your business today. Smart building can help create a self-storage experience that benefits owner-operators as well as tenants, enhancing the experience for everyone, and assuring you’ll be leading the way for years to come. Contact the smart self-storage experts at BETCO who will be right there with you, every step of the way. Go team.
Ready to partner with BETCO? To learn more about BETCO and how they eliminate the development and construction headaches often experienced by self-storage owners and developers, click here.