The Best Time to Open a Self Storage Facility
You’re almost ready to open your first self-storage facility. This is an exciting time, but it’s also somewhat anxiety-producing. You’ve worked hard, and now it’s time to reap the rewards. Whether you’ve recently completed a ground-up facility or the renovation of an under-managed, under-enhanced and under-developed property , you’re probably wondering about the best time to open your business.
Your location, demographic, and competition will factor into your decision. Think about local clients and their needs. Some seasons are better for people who are storing the spring-cleaning overflow, and others are more suited to college students looking for extra space. Put some thought into evaluating these elements so that, regardless of your opening date, you’ll have a good understanding of how to present your storage services to gain the best outcome.
Spring is Your Busy Season
Historically, spring is the time of year when sales are likely to be the best. The warm weather inspires people to get a head start on their spring cleaning, and they need a safe, affordable self storage facility to store their items. People are moving, and college students are heading home for the summer. They need self storage for a multitude of reasons. Units fill up pretty quickly at this time of year.
Decide whether you want to make as much profit as you can or get as many new occupants as you can. If you offer a money-saving grand opening special, your units will fill up quickly, but you’ll make less money. Or, maybe you want to reap the most profits right away. You can take a chance by setting prices at the upper end of the scale, and see what the market will bear. If prospective customers don’t seem as willing to pay as you had expected, you’ll still have time to lower prices. The spring trend in increased rentals is fairly stable until September.
Another thing to consider is that if you price your units too high, your customers might end up with one of your competitors. If you price too low, you could fill quickly and have to refuse customers who would have been willing to pay more.
College Students Make Their Plans During the Summer
Summer can be a really good time to open if your facility is near a college or university and includes climate-controlled storage. Students are planning for the coming year and looking for storage units. You can attract them with month-to-month leasing, student discounts, and shared storage benefits.
Another, less encouraging, school of thought is that the majority of interested customers have already moved into your competitor’s facilities. People who are looking for storage at this point are less motivated and not interested in paying the higher rates that facilities were charging in the spring.
Keep in mind that, if climate-controlled storage isn’t included in your unit mix, you may have a more difficult time getting clients during the hot summer months.
Fall is Typically Slow
Fall is the time of the year when rentals slow down, and most facilities see a drop in sales. People don’t have the urgent needs for storage that they do in spring and summer. Seasonal renters, nevertheless, store their boats and RVs, as well as lawn furniture and gardening supplies and equipment.
You can take advantage of the fact that you’re a new storage business by offering grand opening discounts and specials. Be cautious not to lease units at your lowest rates just to fill up your units. The average renter will stay for 6 to 12 months, so you’ll be stuck with those low rates. It’s very unlikely that they will move out during the cold winter months.
Make the Most of Winter Holidays
Winter can be an opportune time to open a storage facility. People spend money more willingly at this time of year. Boost your marketing campaign by incorporating a festive holiday spirit.
People are looking for a secure place to store and wrap their Christmas gifts. Emphasize the same benefits of month-to-month leasing and shared storage that you did during the summer with college students. If you don’t already offer delivery acceptance, now is the time to start. If you’re able, offer retail supplies like tape and boxes and market them in discounted bundles.
You can use the post-holiday down time to prepare for a blowout spring season!
The best time to open your storage business is not a one-size-fits-all venture. Your location, amenities, and the market will factor into your decision. An owner with a facility in a college town may find it more favorable to open at a different time than an operator near a ski resort town. Every owner will strategize differently. Remember, you can only open once. Evaluate your priorities and use your personal situation to your advantage.