In 2003, family, friends, and local investors opened Old Barn Self-Storage in Grass Valley, California. Things were looking good even though there was stiff competition locally. Then, the economic walls came tumbling down. Sometimes, nation-wide companies can more easily weather rough financial times than mom-and-pop self storage facilities. However, the Old Storage Barn was able to successfully make it through the hard economic times by using classical business practices coupled with some creativity.
Old Barn Self-Storage lists several things that help them succeed as a business. On the creative side, they recommend that self storage owners and managers consider the potential of what is normally considered unusable space. For instance, an odd corner in your office area could be a display area for nonprofit groups or a partner business. If your property is on a slope or has a wall facing a highly traveled road, that could become advertising space – not only for your own self storage business but also for other local businesses.
People are very busy in today’s world. A self storage business adds value to their customers when they can make things very convenient. Offering special services such as pick-up and delivery, personal shopping, text-message notification, free Wi-Fi, and accepting package deliveries retains current customers and attracts new ones.
Old Barn Storage also recommends doing things to build a strong relationship with the community. Self storage businesses have two things that can be very valuable to nonprofit organizations, schools, and churches. Those are moving trucks and space. By offering them to these groups, you help them be successful in their activities and build strong ties to them. This can also bring in customers who might not otherwise know about your facility.
Another point they make is to be a weather watcher. This means to listen to the weather forecast so that you can be prepared to fill your customers’’ needs that change with the weather. Have umbrellas to lend if it’s rainy. Offer hot or cold beverages. Lend sun shades, outdoor heaters, or pop-up tents when those items would make moving in out easier for your customers.
Build a strong relationship with the community by sponsoring school sports teams or classes. Help non-profit organizations by having fundraisers where monies collected goes to that organization. To have some fun, hold unique and fun contests.
Above all, have excellent management skills. Be courteous. Be reliable. A cheery hello and competency go a long way to pleasing customers.
“Classic business practices pay off for Old Barn storage in Grass Valley.” The Union; 20 February 2014.