Inside Self-Storage

FEB 2019

Inside Self-Storage (ISS) is an information source for industry owners, managers, developers and investors covering news, trends, facility operation, finance, real estate, construction, development, marketing, technology, insurance and legality.

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Page 37 of 47

"You never get a second chance to make a first impression" —Will Rogers T he first impression people get when they pass by your self-storage facility can either entice them to come back or encourage them to go elsewhere. While this holds true for most businesses, self-storage is unique. Our prospective customers aren't just looking for an oil change or cup of coffee; they're looking for a nice, clean, secure place worthy of holding their belongings. A property with overgrown weeds, peeling paint, and faded signs or banners sends the wrong message. We facility managers pass the driveways and front yards of our sites every day, so we may not notice some of these things anymore, but others do. As an exercise, I sometimes imagine my bosses just pulled up for a surprise visit. What would they think of my property in its current condition? Here are some tips to help keep your self-storage facility's curb appeal looking fresh and inviting. Signage Keep signage clean, clear and up-to-date. Refresh your main sign with paint, Armor All, Windex, etc. to keep it looking new. If you have a message board or electronic scrolling banner, change the message often; but keep it short so it's not a complete distraction to passing drivers. A cluttered sign with too much information may actually be a bad thing. Stick to your facility name, street address (the number, at least) and phone number. If your local ordinances allow for sale banners, lawn flags or other temporary signage, plan to change them a few times a year. Reds fade to pink and warm tones fade to blue. Damaged, old, ripped or faded signs don't look the part for your business. Keep spares on hand of whatever flags you're flying, including those for the country, state, city and company. Storm winds and summer sun can really do some damage, so switch out items as they become faded or ripped. Any issues with your signage should be addressed as soon as your budget and time allow. Landscaping Exposed buildings need to be free of branches, vines and other foliage. Trees and shrubs should be tidy and pruned. Landscaping that uses pine straw or mulch should be kept fresh. Inexpensive up-lighting is easier to install than you'd think nowadays, especially with "plug and play" solar-powered LED fixtures. This not only looks really cool at night, it helps add to the security of your facility. Your front yard, entryway (turn-in lane) and driveway should be free of debris and weeds. If you're next to a busy main road, this can be an everyday task. Water bottles, soda cans, coffee cups, food wrappers and other waste can build up quickly, so look around every morning as you pull into the property and then grab your trash bucket. Frontage Parking lots are often overlooked, but they're one of your first "welcome mats." Make sure your lot is clean, and free of trash and cigarette butts. Marker lines should be clear and bright, and any handicap spots should be clearly marked. Painted curbs should be touched up as needed for safety. Powerwash sidewalks, canopies and entrance areas a few times per year. If your facility has a move-in truck or offers truck rentals, leave one of the vehicles out front during business hours as an additional "billboard," then secure it behind the gate at the end of the day. This is recommended only if your facility's parking situation allows it because you don't want to inconvenience any current or future tenants by taking up needed space. Rental Of ce Exterior The area outside the rental office is also as important. It should be treated the same as your front yard and exposed buildings, particularly where shrubs, plants, vines and trash are concerned. The difference is you can have some fun with the details here. Flowers are always a welcome sight. Your landscaper should have ideas as to what plants and flowers will do well in your area without too much hassle. Perennials with a long bloom time or that bloom at different times of year can help reduce costs. Hanging plants are a nice touch as well if they don't impede entry (think about tall customers). By Kevin Edwards Tips to Keep Your Curb Appeal Looking Fresh LEARN MORE Learn more from author Kevin Edwards at the upcoming ISS World Expo, where he'll teach a session titled "Let's Get Physical! Self-Storage Safety and Site Maintenance" as part of the Management Track of education seminars. Get details and register at IN THE TRENCHES 36 ISS I February 2019

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