How To Plan Smart Self-Storage Move-In Specials

January 20, 2012 5
How To Plan Smart Self-Storage Move-In Specials

For a self-storage manager, one of the most tried-and-true ways to convert a caller or visitor into a tenant is to offer competitive move-in promotions. These are designed to speed up the sales process so your staff can move on to the next potential customer. But as our industry continues to grow and competition increases, more and more factors are influencing the way these specials benefit both facility and tenant. To help achieve a firm grasp on promoting smart, effective move-in specials, we’ll identify a few of these factors, how you can react to them, and what kinds of benefits you should be looking for down the line.

Don’t get carried away.
One of the oldest tenets of the free market is that the consumer benefits from a highly competitive industry. As businesses compete to attract customers, one of the first places they tend to look is their pricing structure. While this is great for the shopper, it can be a major headache for businesses who want to remain profitable.

Some dangers of a pricing war are obvious. By rapidly lowering prices and initiating specials a facility can’t necessarily afford, operators risk serious financial backlash and many unprofitable occupied units. The monotony of tracking competitive prices, while manageable in moderation, can become much more time-consuming while engaging in aggressive price-matching. Furthermore, prices that fluctuate rapidly tend to send consumers seeking more stable rates.

Depending upon your market, a little competitive pricing could prove beneficial. In some areas, consumers measure a storage facility’s worth by how far it is willing to bend to get their business. In others, price is a minor factor compared to cleanliness, security, and above all, proximity to home.

Timing is everything
Move-in specials should not be a long-term financial plan— otherwise, it’s just a permanent decrease in rental rates. This doesn’t mean these specials are not an integral component of your yearly projections. Rather than gunning for short-term gains, most specials reap benefits down the line, once satisfied tenants who took advantage of a discount begin paying normal rates. Careful planning and budgeting should influence when and for how long a particular move-in special will be put into effect.

Just because you thought of a great promotional idea doesn’t mean it needs immediate implementation. Marketers need to be sensitive to industry trends– in the self-storage world, a major consideration is the seasonality of the market. An exciting move-in special geared toward college-bound families won’t be nearly as effective in January as it will be in August.

Another consideration that should effect the ‘when’ and ‘how’ of your move-in special is your facility’s inherent costs. Can you afford to give away three months of free rent while you’re still making payments on a new security system? If the market or facility are not ready for your promotions, don’t force it. In sales, patience can be an invaluable asset.

Where to start
Your move-in specials should fit  a mold based on what you think your facility can manage, what your target market is looking for, and how it compares to your competitors. Make sure the details, including price and duration, are made explicit to customers to avoid confusion. The next step will be promoting your deals to reach as much of your target market as possible, so check out our top five places to promote your storage facility.

Let us know about your successful move-in specials and voice your opinion about our content in the comments below.

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  • Riverton Self Storage

    Great post, with a lot of good insight! We always makes sure our specials are worthwhile, and are not going to make us lose money in the long run.

    • Rachel Greenfield

      Thanks for reading!

  • Paul D Reynolds

    Thanks for useful post and the warning on the dangers of giving away too much on initial pricing. Perhaps it is better to try to move off price and use something else to close the sale: Use thing with perceived value greater than your cost:
    – Get local cinema to sell you coupons for Movie Nite for Two. So two tickets, lots of snacks say worth $45 but your cost $30 (example)
    – Buy cordless drills in bulk (say pay $45 with perceived value of $70) to give to new renters.
    – Create move in bundle of boxes, tape gloves etc. Your cost should be about 1/2 of the moving pack’s perceived value.

    So get the prospect focused on great gift to new renter rather than the $1 for first month. This may not be enough in some markets or where you are near to a competitor with huge sign saying “First Month Free”. However it will work well for many of us.

  • storage hertfordshire

    Like other posters we have been caught out before by offering big discounts, only to see that customer stay long term and see them pay considerably less than other customers. This is both annoying for us and unfair to other customers so we now offer a deal that is more economic for all.

    • Rachel Greenfield

      Learning from experience— always a good call! Glad you found an ideal special to offer, and thanks for reading!