The More a Manufacturer Can Offer, The More Valuable It Becomes

Posted by Terry Campbell on Jun 18, 2011 12:00:00 AM

“More” does not always mean “better,” but for owners looking for a self-storage manufacturer that has increased and improved its product and service diversification

over a period of years, it is an endeavor worth pursuing. Why?


First, it gives customers more options to choose from, and second, it indicates that the manufacturer is more than just a provider of building components, but a company that has the experience and understanding of the many facets of the industry. And it doesn’t hurt if a manufacturer has accumulated multiple decades in the business. In other words, look for a company that has built a solid reputation over a substantial period of time — one that knows what they’re doing.


Have a look at these essential products and services, then determine which ones will help fulfill your needs, plans and goals.


Building Packages — Find a manufacturer that offers every component needed for a complete building package, whether it be single-story, bi-level, multi-level, portables, or RV and boat storage. And because climate controlled units are becoming more and more popular, make sure your manufacturer offers these or dry air units as a part of your unit mix.


Roll-up Doors — Doors should be pre-painted with a high durability paint and come with multi-year warranties against chalking and fading. Door springs should also be under warranty. Make sure that all necessary hardware and equipment are included in the door package, such as tension adjusters with radial bearings, wear guards, and door stop channels. Also consider using cylinder latches and confirm that there are a variety of colors available.


Conversions — More and more owners are turning to conversions as a hedge against the lack of available land and the escalating cost of property. Then too, the fact that new  construction financing is difficult to come by these days has some owners turning to conversions.


Converting a building that was originally constructed for another business,  and turning it into self-storage has some distinct advantages: Former office buildings, retail stores, and warehouses are ideal for self-storage because they are usually situated in high traffic, urban areas and will often cost less than new construction. Plus, these kinds of locations often demand higher rental rates and will result in faster lease-ups.


Refurbishing — During difficult economic times, when financing is tougher to come by, many owners will use that time to refurbish existing buildings. When one considers that there are competitors in every self-storage market, it becomes incumbent upon owners to make sure their facility looks as good, if not better, than the competition. Statistically, 60% -70% of those making the decision on where to store their valuables are women. This means curb appeal becomes paramount. If current or potential customers view your facility as being less than attractive, they won’t need to go very far to find a facility that is more appealing than yours. Another positive reason to reburbish is that the expense to upgrade may result in a quick tax write off.


Infills — When there is a need to infill building interiors, with hallways, roll-up doors and partitions, you need a manufacturer that can complete the job with clean, contemporary hallway designs, soffit systems, with or without lights, vertical interior partitions that are moveable and have interlocking joints.


Construction Crews — Having a pool of professionally trained and certified construction crews is another distinct advantage for a manufacturer offering a “complete package.” How so?


Two reasons: First, they can provide crews who are familiar with erecting their own buildings, which will save time and money. Second, a manufacturer’s crew can be scheduled to be at the project site when the owner is ready to accept delivery of materials. And think about this. A responsible manufacturer should offer an onsite Field Superintendent to oversee the construction process through completion.


Pricing —  Look for a manufacturer that has a range of products and prices to match. They should be sensitive to the adjusted budgets that many owners have had to endure in recent times and they should be creative enough to have price ranges that meet most pocketbooks. Remember, doing business with owners who are looking for a price advantage doesn’t necessarily mean they are willing to accept inferior products. A reputable manufacturer should be able to offer components with no red iron, but still maintain an acceptable level of quality.


In the final analysis, finding a suitable manufacturer means looking for one that can give you everything you need to be successful, and from a single source. If you are an owner, there is no reason to spread out the products and services you need among a number of vendors, when you can save time, money and hassle by dealing with a manufacturer you can trust.


Terry Campbell is Vice President of Sales & Marketing for BETCO, a single-source manufacturer of self-storage buildings and components. Contact him at