Women in Self-Storage: CJ Stratte, President and CEO, On The Move, Inc.

Posted by Erica Shatzer on Feb 1, 2024 12:00:00 PM

Born into the self-storage industry, CJ Stratte, president and CEO of Boerne, Texas-based On The Move, Inc., has watched the asset class shift gears over the years. Now, she’s driving the family business to new heights by elevating customer service.  


A Lifetime In Storage 

Stratte has always been around self-storage facilities. Before she was born, her grandfather built them in the 1970s. Her parents followed suit, building properties that she would later manage.


At 16 years old, she was co-managing a facility in Texas with her aunt, who taught Stratte everything she needed to know about self-storage management. They were actually committed to the site before its rental office was built, conducting business from a 10-by-10 building. Even after graduating high school and leaving to study marketing at Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, she would manage the property between semesters.  


Three years after obtaining a BSBA in marketing, Stratte was given the keys to her parents’ truck rental company, On The Move, as the outside sales coordinator. She was later promoted to marketing director and vice president of marketing and sales. While working full time, she also earned her executive MBA from Texas Woman’s University. She spent a decade steering the business on the road to success before taking a break to expand her own family and explore other opportunities.  


Though her hands were full with a newborn daughter, a six-year-old son, and a teenage stepdaughter, Stratte decided to rejoin On The Move. She climbed back into the driver’s seat as CEO in 2022.     


“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she says about selling rental trucks. “That’s all I know.” 


She’s also elated to be working with her family once again, especially her sister, who’s her “biggest cheerleader,” and her grandfather, whom she calls on a daily basis. “It has brought our family closer together,” says Stratte. “I’m proud of our family business.”  


New Directions 

CJ 1With renewed ambition following that hiatus, Stratte was raring to get back into marketing On The Move and expand its insurance services. Unfortunately, COVID delayed the execution of some of her plans, particularly exhibiting at industry-related trade shows—most of which were canceled and/or rescheduled due to the lockdowns and restrictions on social gatherings.  


Looking to help her customers navigate in the “new normal,” she sought ideas outside her business that could be beneficial for everyone utilizing On The Move’s trucks. Stratte found information on how to effectively sanitize rental trucks without damaging the various truck components. Sharing those tips with her clients enabled them to provide clean vehicles to their concerned customers and avoid potentially costly repairs.  


COVID also prompted Stratte and On The Move to pursue online truck rental options. “A lot of customers still use paper forms,” she says, but the company’s new truck rental program is paving the way for change. By sending their truck rental customers a link to online forms, self-storage managers are reducing their workloads and streamlining the truck rental process. Additionally, On The Move is in the process of developing a customer portal that would permit online payments.   


Two other noteworthy advancements include the redesign of the truck door and the addition of a “cat clamp” on every new truck—both of which were incorporated to improve the customer experience.  


Acting on customer feedback, the truck door redesign was initiated to prevent their previously detached ramps from being stolen. Ramps are now attached to the back doors and can be easily pulled into place for loading and unloading. Besides serving as an anti-theft mechanism, Stratte points out that this improvement has proven to be a valuable safety feature since the ramps are securely attached.  


“Customer feedback is taken very seriously,” she says. “Luckily, my grandfather is engineer minded and seeks solutions to potential problems for our customers. His experience in the self-storage industry gives him a unique perspective to what our customers need.” 


As for the “cat clamps,” they are designed to protect the catalytic converters from theft and prevent precious-metal pilferers from damaging vehicles. The countless thefts of catalytic converters had been weighing on Stratte’s mind, as she didn’t want any of her clients to be victims of that kind of costly vandalism. After obtaining approval from her grandfather, a quality control expert and engineer who retired from Ford Motor Company, she was able to ensure that each new On The Move rental truck is specially equipped with a cat clamp. All of their rental trucks are also outfitted with wooden floors to reduce slip-and-fall incidents, tie racks for bungee cords, spot mirrors, custom exterior graphics and QR codes to create “moving billboards” for facilities, hand carts, furniture pads, and insurance policies. 


On The Move’s insurance program is also designed to protect the self-storage operator and reduce any liability a truck rental program would entail. Their $5 million liability policy and comprehensive and collision coverage is available to renters over the age of 21.  


In addition to these newer products and services, Stratte has been instrumental in helping On The Move enter new vertical markets, including the real estate and mortgage industries. She’s actively seeking other possible verticals as well. Self-storage remains their core business, but she has been particularly impressed with the ingenuity of the company’s real estate clients, many of whom sell ads on the back doors of their rental trucks to offset the costs. Obviously, that’s a route self-storage owners and operators could take to obtain a customized rental truck at a lower rate.  


Back-door advertising and how customers are improving their businesses with rental trucks are the kinds of subjects Stratte covers in On The Move’s quarterly magazine. She has been responsible for writing the majority of its content, assembling it, and preparing it for distribution. Currently the 32-page newsletter is only distributed to On The Move clients, but she has plans to make it more readily available by having copies on hand at trade shows and sending them to prospective customers.  


On another note, Stratte is actively developing strategies for improving On The Move’s brand recognition. Because the company’s customers create custom graphics for their trucks that promote their individual self-storage facilities, most people don’t realize that they are On The Move’s trucks.  


Ready To Rev 

CJ 3Through a corporate culture of caring—one that’s based on the premise that treating the staff well encourages them to take better care their customers—and the company’s mission to provide innovative solutions that enable customers to enhance their businesses, Stratte has been able to expand On The Move’s products and services while upholding her grandfather’s “five-star program.” One component of the five-star program is that offering an amazing customer experience helps self-storage operators improve their facilities.  


Although her small team of 20 employees has been successfully doing this for years, she wants to continue to grow both the team and the business. “I want to empower creativity and happiness in the workplace,” she says. “I’ve always loved the philosophy of having the right people in the right positions steering our ship in the right direction.”  


Whether ensuring her team and family members are happy or paving the way for new offerings, it’s clear that Stratte is ready to turn On The Move into a household name with her drive for success! 



Erica Shatzer is the editor of Modern Storage Media.