For the month of July 2009, in our weekly blogs, we are looking at the mini storage business and offering up information and tips along with helpful links to more in depth information about the topics.
In the Week 1 blog, Your Mini Storage Building: Buying tips, we discussed buying tips. In the Week2 blog, Your Mini Storage Building: Marketing tips for new owners, we discussed marketing tips. In the Week3 blog, Your Mini Storage Building: Leveraging your storage facility, we discussed how to leverage your storage site. This week we are discussing budgeting tips and mistakes to keep in mind so that you don’t have to make them yourself – thus hopefully saving yourself money. If you have researched the owning and operating of your mini storage building, and looked to understanding the metrics of your area, you should do well. What are the marketing metrics you need to figure out? You can get some great information from sites that have plenty of metrics in all areas of the mini-storage industry to help steer you in the right direction. There are 3 ways to grow your mini storage business:
- Increase occupancy by acquiring new customers
- Increase the value of each customer
- Increase margins by lowering operating expenses
How can you accomplish this goal while not making costly mistakes attempting to budget? Look at doing the correct things, and those mistakes will never happen:
- increase revenues – freshen up your buildings, grounds and tighten security
- decrease expenses - properly categorize your expenses: advertising, supplies, etc; get a software package that can track your expenses and show you where you are making money and where you can get rid of products or purchases that aren’t profitable
- create equity – look at decreasing your real estate taxes, perhaps a partnership would increase your equity and help to grow it Look into creating partnerships with the local businesses in your area. Find those with the same target market and make a deal with them on an exchange of services
- look for ancillary income – You can raise your sites income exponentially by offering services like packing materials, vending machines, auto credit/ debiting, truck rentals, locks and lock cutting fees – the list is extensive
- expand into new products and services – gauge what your budget can stand – check out what your competitors are doing
- cut expenses and keeping more of your profits – Write down everything you spend and you’ll probably find where you are wasting monthly.
With the current recession you’re most likely asking how can you increase revenues when you’re worried about keeping the units full. Again, by expending a small amount of money to make your business look fresh and neat with a simple coat of paint and area cleanup, you’ll instill greater confidence in yourself and your facility and add revenues through new rentals. Adding security features can be another great revenue generator. Offer fee discounts for referrals from any source – but especially from your current customers.
When tightening the budget, just remember that marketing is an extremely important part of keeping your units full. Smart marketing means making each dollar you spend work better. Perhaps instead of hanging onto that yellow page space – look into different marketing venues, such as the Internet. As Derek M. Naylor, president of Storage Marketing Solutions has stated, “You can advertise on Google™ for less than you spend on lunch each month. You can also post ads on free classified sites like Craigslist. You can list yourself on the local business listings of search engines for free. Also, storage directories like Usstoragesearch.com and selfstoragefinders.com are very inexpensive and get a lot of traffic.”
Hopefully, you have garnered some great tips over the writing of this series of mini-storage facility blogs.