For regional operators, site managers are the key to competing

Michele Cataldo
July 3, 2017

Regional operators in the self-storage industry, often ask:

“How can I compete against the big guys?”

“Can I have market share with Public Storage? Extra Space or CubeSmart?”

“With price, competition, size selection and all their technology… how can I compare? Where do I get the horsepower?”

Regional operators don’t always have the flexibility to slash prices to be profitable or discount to the point of no return. But if regional operators step back and examine their options, they will find that there is more in this consumer driven arena that can tantalize the rental customer, and it may be more basic than you imagine.  Bite into this:

There are many great artisanal hamburger joints that have a niche of followers because not everyone wants a quick fix or McDonalds.   Storage fits the same philosophy.  Find that customer.

Regional operators can offer more than convenience, price and a ‘trusted’ brand.  A motivated regional player can benefit by the overuse or misuse of a larger brand that the public is “familiar” with and comfortable.

In this exploration, we find that foremost is the property manager, the “mayor” of your property, and your number one weapon of personalized service your property manager will greet your customer, know his name, and create a referral program. The face of the property is the individual running the “show”. Traditional service and ambience overpowers the institutionalized approach.

A well-equipped property manager can develop a grassroots outreach program and strategies to attract the local neighborhoods and businesses within the essential five-mile radius. The most formidable customers who want their treasures safeguarded can be at an arm’s length. Empower the property manager’s ability to create trust and occupancy.   

According to Robb Kone, president and CEO of Best Storage in California,  an active manager can help you close the gap.

“A good site manager always seems to account for the last 10 percent to 15 percent of occupancy which can make a huge difference when you consider what your site financials might look like at 75 percent to 80 percent,” Kone said.

“Sometimes managers that are the most personable end up with the highest occupied facilities and the highest rent per square foot,” he added.

We all know that there are many ways to complete the conversion but your property manager is your edge.  Does he or she know the market and live in the area?

Remember not everything is technology and algorithms – sometimes it just an old fashion burger molded by hand and thrown on the BBQ. Step back and think about the possibilities, you may be surprised.   

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