[ by Rick Del Sontro, Zippy Shell ]
Choosing to franchise a self-storage business provides you with a history of research, expertise and market knowledge to pull from, giving you an advantage in a competitive yet lucrative business segment. Starting a self-storage business from scratch on your own means there isn’t a single person on the planet who is already familiar with your operation. That’s a daunting challenge! A franchise gives you the power of the parent company’s brand and the reputation it has developed with other outlets. You also don’t have to spend time developing a logo, website, etc. It’s all been done for you and is ready to go from day one.
A key benefit to franchising versus owning your own business is start-up time. Because a franchise company has created a business plan, done the market research, started several similar businesses in other locations, and developed marketing materials, the turn-around time from when you agree to own the franchise to when you start welcoming customers is shorter than if you started from scratch. If you are buying an existing business, franchising is still an advantage because the training and support you get from the franchise company gets you up to speed faster compared to learning the business on your own.
Between traditional and portable storage business models, you have options for your franchise. Traditional self-storage involves the brick-and-mortar, self-serve storefronts we all know and love. An emerging and fast-growing segment is portable self-storage. In this case, a container is delivered to the customer’s home or business, they load it, and you haul it off to the facility.
Then, there are cost savings. Many new franchisees are not accustomed to marketing a business effectively, and therefore aren’t familiar with costs associated with creating good campaigns to announce the business. Just hanging a banner on the front gate won’t do it. A smart franchisee will create a self-storage business plan, calling on the franchise company’s expertise to anticipate issues, roadblocks and possible threats before they happen. Your marketing dollars can be used effectively by focusing on proven marketing tactics, including new opportunities with social media. A franchise company will have already tested out major marketing avenues such as print and broadcast ads, fliers, pay-per-click advertising, and SEO.
With the demand for self-storage higher than supply, potential owners get so excited about entering the lucrative self-storage business that some do not consider a plan for when they eventually want to get out. Marketing the sale of your facility can be very time consuming, a full-time job in itself! When you decide to sell your facility, you are likely to face competition. There are many opportunities to buy existing businesses. Larger companies support the sale of franchises with aggressive marketing that ensures serious buyers find the opportunity. This is just another advantage of franchising versus private ownership.
All of this adds up to peace of mind for the franchisee. You will know that you have an effective, well-thought-out brand that has an existing reputation, your marketing efforts have been tested and money is being spent based on experience.
Image courtesy of Inc.com.