Reflection is always good in business.

Self-storage owners and operators can all learn by looking back at this past year and measure the potential ahead or the obvious missed opportunities. Self-storage continues to amaze and delight owners and investors, but we can always do better. As 2017 comes to an end it is time to evaluate what simple guidelines we can follow to make 2018 even better.

Resolutions as we all know are a hot topic as the year comes to an end.  The past can be a gentle reminder that we can learn from, and then game plan our continued growth.  Reviewing the most recent accomplishments and practices is a sure way to really guarantee growth and new revenue.

You might be asking:

What can be done to make my net operating income better and my property more desirable?

Can I optimize the next twelve months and make 2018 a banner year?

Can I raise the bar and create more revenue?

No doubt all of this is possible, and that might mean getting back to the basics. Here are a few resolutions operators might want to follow in 2018.

1. Make a strong first impression

When was the last time you painted the trim on the outside of the building?  Trimmed a tree or washed the windows?  Drove by the property at night and make sure that the office looks inviting and fresh?

The aesthetic experience is often overlooked because we think of it as money not well spent and we’d rather crunch numbers.  While keeping up appearances does cost money today, enhancing the curb appeal can translate into higher rents down the road.  With a little ingenuity you can come up with several simple ways to visually improve the property visually.  Create cleanliness guidelines for all common areas such as bathrooms, hallways, and rollup doors to name a few.   Keep improvements on a monthly checklist because a tenant will notice how run down or well-maintained your facility is.   Having a well-swept property where the lights are lit show respect both ways.

2. Hire the right people

The property manager has to be just as engaged as you are.  Do they come from a service industry?  Do they take initiative to collect rent and resource new opportunities?  Are the empty units ready for the next customer?   Is this the right person or are we as owners or operators complacent and not giving them resolutions and goals to make 2018 a better year.

Anyone who feels loyalty will be mindful and proud to keep your property trending ahead of the rest.

3. Know your competition

No doubt this is one item that when any new year commences we are focused and blazing to seek out, but as the year rolls on we tend to forget.

Keeping the competition review on a monthly hit list will enable you to find lost revenue.  What services do they offer?

Rental rates and competitive pricing is not secret.   Build a game plan and target your neighbors.  Success is contagious and competition is healthy.   Know what rates to charge and how to stay in the game.  A sure way to increase your occupancy and retain your tenant base is to be competitive.

4. Don’t be a dinosaur

The technology factor is not going to go away.   Review your website, social media and even the customer experience.   Can customers pay online, auto pay and do you partner with a good aggregator to keep your property relevant and searchable on the internet?   The expense is worth the investment.

Get over it folks, technology is a force and making it an essential business resolution will pay off.   Study the possibilities and invest in 2018.  Self-storage and storage on demand is all the buzz and customers crave technological solutions and great user experiences.  There is a good reason why Makespace has funding over $57M.

5. Review your taxes

Then last but not least are taxes.  2017 is over and 2018 brings many new tax laws and regulations.  Have you consulted with an expert to optimize the ramifications and opportunities? If not, do not waste any more time.   As the year progresses there will be many ways to review and revise.

Michele Cataldo