Value-Added Services in Today’s Tough Economic Climate

Posted by Joe Barber on Oct 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM

In today’s competitive self-storage marketplace, having value-added services for prospective customers and current tenants is an absolute must. We are all familiar with the obstacles your company is faced with daily and realize that you must think outside the box in order to compete with the mobile self-storage industry, create additional revenue streams, and market your services online. With that in mind, there is a new and modern approach to these obstacles that can maximize your self-storage business.

Competing With The Mobile Storage Industry
For about the same cost of a delivered mobile storage container, there are specialized programs available that allow your customers to choose and hire movers that will assist them with moving into or out of your storage facility. One such program is The Move-In / Move-Out™ Program. Whether your customer is renting a truck, using a truck from your facility, or needs a truck and movers, this unique program provides one-stop shopping. Mobile storage has done very well because of the convenience of bringing the container to the consumer and eliminating the need for a truck rental. This program offers the very same convenience with one added benefit: it provides movers to do the loading and the unloading.

Creating An Additional Revenue Stream
In a recent phone survey, The Movers Review, based in Lancaster, Pa., called numerous self-storage facilities and asked one simple question: “Do customers ask if you can recommend a mover to help them?” The answer was an overwhelming “Yes.”

“With this in mind, we built a model that releases you from liability when recommending a moving company since you are merely recommending a moving service and not a specific mover,” says Daniel Cunningham, owner of The Movers Review. “When your facility recommends us, the consumer is given the ability to make an educated decision from more than 2,400 moving related service companies through history reports that include ratings/reviews from their neighbors, descriptions, license and insurance information, references, affiliations, and more.”

There is no charge to the facility for being part of Cunningham’s Move-In / Move-Out Program™. “In fact, we actually pay the facility a 15 to 20 percent commission for each booked referral,” he explains. “Facilities are registered within our Web site and issued a username and pass code. This allows for the facility owner or manager to monitor each referral and keep track of their commissions due.”

Cunningham goes on to say, “We will provide online banners that are tied to your account for reporting purposes, tri-folds, business cards, pens, banners, and posters for each of your business locations. By utilizing The Movers Review you are not recommending a mover but instead a moving service that allows your customers to make an educated decision.”

Marketing Your Locations Online
A self-storage category has also been added to the online program, which allows for facility locations to be added. The category allows you to create up to 10 storage unit sizes and list the cost for the first month and how much each additional month will cost. Consumers, based on history reports, will be able to find and purchase storage directly from the Web site, with payments made directly to the facility.

“The customer provides your required information and you will then receive an automated e-mail from our Web site letting you know that someone has purchased a storage unit from you,” says Cunningham. “Upon acceptance of the order, the facility manager simply contacts the consumer and schedules a time for signing the contract.”

Cunningham points out that updating your profile with sizes available will be very important. If you have a size that is not available, you want to be sure to take out the size and pricing from your profile so it is not an option for potential customers. “The cost to the facility per booked storage unit is $10 paid via credit card during the accepting process,” he explains. “We are sending you booked business, not just a lead that you need to spend money, time, and resources on in order to close.”

The end result is that by having the ability to recommend added services like these, facilities not only help their customers take the worry out of choosing the right mover—they also boost the bottom line.

Joe Barber is the Operations manager for The Movers Review, based in Lancaster, Pa., an online moving services company that operates with more than 2,400 moving related services nationally.