10 Ways to Take Advantage of the Storage Summer Spike

Posted by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell on Jun 25, 2023 12:00:00 AM

Summer is to self-storage what Christmas is to retailers—an opportunity to ensure your income is showing the most profit before the end of the year, and there is only a small window to capture those needing storage during the summer. 

According to the Canadian Association of Movers, 70 percent of people in North America who rent self-storage do it during the summer months (mid-June through September). You may be wondering how you can capture a significant portion of potential tenants in your market. “There are definitely things owners and managers can do to capture this business,” says M. Anne Ballard, president of marketing, training, and developmental services for Universal Storage Group, (USG) in Atlanta, Ga. 

Ballard offers these 10 tips for taking advantage of the summer self-storage spike: 

1. Tracking and converting your traffic

“First and foremost you should be counting and converting the online and walk-in traffic,” she says. Ballard adds managers should be seeing one and half people who come in after a call and converting 90 precent of those. Example: 15 people walk in and 13 of those should be converted to a customer. While many software programs help count the number of people hitting online and some call centers track calls, make sure your managers are also counting calls and walk ins. As well, Ballard says it’s very important to follow up with people to see how they learned about your facility. She says managers should be following up all leases with a call, even if the tenant did contactless rental through the website. Following up with a courtesy call not only establishes good customer rapport with the tenant, but also can provide key information about where marketing dollars are best spent. 

2. Ensure your staff is properly trained

To get those conversions, it’s essential for managers to stand up, greet customers, introduce themselves and ask how they may help. “We have the Five Magic Questions we ask,” says Ballard. “Just make sure your managers know what to do when a customer walks in.” If the manager is on the phone, they still should be acknowledging the customer by smiling and holding a finger up to indicate they will be with them as soon as possible. As well, she says never let a customer just leave, even if you don’t have what they need. “If they want RV storage and you don’t have that, for example, refer them to your competition, be their hero and they may remember you the next time they need storage.” It’s essential your managers know their market and their competition, so they are referring people to reputable facilities. 

3. Promote your referral program

Every property should have a referral program for tenants, nearby businesses, realtors, apartment managers, etc. This is the time of the year to heavily market and heavily promote. “Managers should get out and hit the streets to get referrals,” says Ballard. “You can never have too many leads.Don’t forget the community and business organizations to which your manager is a member, such as the Chamber of Commerce. 

4. Plan events

USG heavily markets and has great results holding community events on their properties and most of these occur in the summer. Think of having picnics or cookouts surrounding the patriotic holidays, including Independence Day, Labor Day, and Patriot’s Day. Ballard suggests involving non-profits, allowing them to make some money and bring people to your property. Car washes held by school clubs is a popular one. Kids are out of school, but they still need to raise money. Think sports teams, cheerleaders, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts. 

5. Consider extending hours

Longer daylight means more time to move and store stuff. Consider opening earlier and closing later, even if It’s just a couple of days per week. 

6. Maintain a consistent online presence

Social media doesn’t cost anything but a little of the manager’s time. Ballard says to tell unique facility stories. “One of our properties has an average length of stay over five years. That’s amazing and a story the manager told on social media.” Also, show short videos of happy tenants. You cannot just post once and forget it. Algorithms and your followers expect you to post once a day or at least 2-3 times per week. Remember not to just promote your property, relay community events and news as well so people see you as a part of the community. 

7. Make sure your property is bright

Even if you don’t have a new property, the best way to acquire new customers is to ensure your property is clean, bright, and colorful with flowers and landscaping. Ballard says flags are a good way to attract customers. Managers should be walking the property at least once a day, picking up even the tiniest trash. It’s also a good time to power wash buildings, parking lots and make sure everything trimmed. “I was recently on a property that had weeds growing up in front of every unit,” says Ballard. “There’s no excuse for that and it will cost your business.” 

8. Stay on top of rent and fees owed

Ballard says it’s a good time to make sure your facility is increasing rents appropriately. “We do a rental increase at least once a year,” says Ballard. Also, your managers should stay on top of delinquent fees owed and rarely issue waivers. 

9. Use those increases and fees

Ballard says you can then use those rental increases and collected fees to make improvements on your property.  

10. Process delinquencies for lien sales

Delinquencies should be monitored on an on-going basis. Ballard recommends staying on top of them, issuing the required notices and moving quickly to lien sales when tenants don’t pay. Ballard says if you’re doing everything to properly market your property, you’re likely going to need the units non-paying tenants are in by July and August. “Making sure you’re moving on lien sales ensures your units will be available to tenants who will pay when your marketing efforts pay off.”

Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell is a freelance journalist based in the Ozark Mountains. She is a regular contributor to Messenger. Her business articles have also appeared in Entrepreneur, Aol.com, MSN.com, and The Kansas City Star.