Did you know that 27% of self-storage renters live in an apartment or condominium? That means if your facility isn’t actively trying to rent storage units to apartment and condo tenants, you’re missing out on substantial revenue.
Don’t rely on newspaper and Yellow Pages ads to bring in apartment and condo customers, though.
“None of that works anymore,” said Marc Goodin, co-founder of Storage Authority, a self-storage franchisor in Fort Lauderdale, FL. “Guerrilla marketing” is how you snare new customers from condo and apartment communities,” he said.
“It doesn’t take a lot of money but it does take a lot of effort,” said Goodin. “The problem is, everybody thinks it’s easy but it actually takes work.”
In other words, it’s time to hit the pavement and make your facility memorable to leasing managers and their tenants.
Visit the apartment manager’s office four or five times a year.
“That way, you get to know them, and they get to know you,” said Goodin. “Every time, drop off some different type of information.”
Find out when that community’s high rental season is. Offer to display the complex’s materials at your storage facility in exchange for them hanging your flyer on the clubhouse bulletin board. Get to know leasing staff so they’ll hand your brochure to everyone who moves in or out.
One of Goodin’s facilities rented 67 units for one month to tenants of an apartment complex who couldn’t move in on the date promised due to construction delays.
“They thought of us because they knew us, even though there were three or four self-storage places in the same area,” Goodin said.
Leave a tangible reminder.
When leaving promotional materials with apartment managers, go for something three-dimensional, not just more paper, which often gets tossed in the trash, said Anne Ballard, president of marketing, training and developmental services at Universal Storage Group, an Atlanta, GA-based self-storage operator.
Ballard drops off bags of popcorn labeled with a catchy slogan like “Popping out of your space? Pop into ours!” Give apartment leasing staff candy-filled stadium cups that display the storage facility’s logo and phone number, tied with a bow and referral card.
Rick Yonis, president of Sentry Self Storage in Coral Springs, FL, offers leasing managers anywhere from $25 to $100 for referrals, depending on the unit size rented. Occasionally, an ownership group may not want apartment managers compensated with cash. “In that case, we might use a gift card or send lunch,” Yonis said.
Sentry likes to sponsor cookouts at neighboring apartment complexes. If 50 people show up for your mid-summer barbecue, that’s dozens of potential self-storage customers under one roof. Whenever a nearby complex has an open house or a meet and greet, Sentry sets up a table with promotional materials.
Spread the word on social media.
People don’t get on Twitter to read about 10 x 10 storage units every day. Use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to promote events like cookouts, condo and apartment open houses or sponsorship of a 5K run.
Design custom specials.
Ballard once sent one of her self-storage managers across the street to find out which kind of floor plan that apartment complex most needed to sell. The manager learned that there was barely any storage in the apartments and worked out a deal to offer new tenants a free storage unit — paid for by the apartment complex — for a year as part of their apartment lease.
“Our storage rent was cheaper than giving away apartment rent, and they still got the $25 referral fee for every person they sent to us,” Ballard said.