Going Tech Saves Time, Prevents Headaches For All In Self-Storage

March 12, 2012 5
Going Tech Saves Time, Prevents Headaches For All In Self-Storage

If you’ve spent any amount of time in a storage facility office, you may be familiar with the crushing feeling of Paper Overload. Thankfully, email offers a solution to your excess paper problem. If you haven’t yet been inspired to make the switch for tracking and distributing documents to your tenants, check out some of these ways email can make your life easier.

Email saves time and effort.
One of the immediate benefits of email is how comparatively simple and fast it is for completing normally paper-heavy tasks. During SpareFoot’s Adventures in Storage project, Marketing Analyst Rachel Greenfield used an Austin storage company whose application process was made simple and fast by email. When she called to book a unit at South Lamar Storage & Wine Cellar, they took her email address and sent over the paperwork to start the leasing process in advance.

“It was simple,” Rachel remembered, “I just downloaded the paperwork and completed it on the computer, where I was already doing work. It was a modern convenience I didn’t expect, and appreciated a lot.”

Email conserves funds and supplies.
Copying and filing a high volume of paperwork every day takes away from the tasks you’re really interested in, like selling your units. But it can also save you a pretty penny when it comes to printing and distribution of forms for anything from a new lease to updated insurance plans. By the time Rachel made her way to the facility, most of her paperwork had been completed electronically. Since most of the documentation had been emailed to her, she had time to look over it carefully in the comfort of her own home and show up prepared. To top it all off, the facility didn’t have to use any of its own ink and paper except to provide her with the lease agreement.

Switching to email for distributing invoices, legal documents, copies of lease agreements, and any other piece you can think of to cut down on paper and toner use will have both financial and spacial benefits. Instead of keeping a bulky file cabinet of important customer paperwork, back up the info onto a secure hard drive. It’ll cut down on clutter and leave more room for sprucing up your office decor.

Email keeps you connected and your tenants informed.
One common issue in the self-storage industry is tenants going incognito or otherwise dropping off the face of the earth. While a move or a long vacation can keep tenants away from both your office and their mailbox, email is available to tenants wherever they can get an Internet connection. Communication online is instantaneous and extremely useful for keeping tenants in the loop on late payments and facility updates, which means fewer communication breakdowns that lead to disputes. Rachel said the implications for switching to email go beyond just conserving time and resources.

“Customers perceive the efficiency and quality of your operation based on how simple you make the storage process for them,” Rachel asserted. “Moving is never much fun, so the quicker and easier they can get in and out of the facility, the better.”

Other industries have shown the ways moving online can be taken even further than email. Realtors host much of their legal information on their website for easy access, and services like Docusign can even eliminate the need for ink and paper lease agreements entirely. While switching online for all your documentation will mean a considerable upfront investment of time and logistic runaround, it might be worth it to weigh your options and see if you have room in your budget. The long-term savings of time and money, as well as the benefits of adapting to an increasingly web-based world, might be too exciting to ignore.

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  • Ben Wells

    This post is about the internal environment of a self service provider office. Really emails are good supplement to reduce the paper load. These have become time saver. Nice sharing of information.

  • Guest

    I think it is a great idea .. but I still had concerns about leases being on line ,,,, and there is always a risk with information on line…. alot of our customers like the option of not having their info on – line … or even having them fill out the paper work by email. most of the Young love it. … its a mix of customers…

    • http://thestoragefacilitator.com Rachel Greenfield

      That makes sense. It does depend on the customer, so you could always ask their individual preference on the phone before moving forward. Then the more modern crowd has the option of online or emailed forms, and you can still offer in-office paperwork to those who prefer it. Good luck!

  • http://www.h114tech.com/ Neelima

    Really interesting perspectives about different ways in which emailing feature can help make paper work and communication more manageable.

    As an IT solution provider for Self Storage Businesses we have identified some more ways in which emails can reduce the work of self storage managers. One of them is automated and scheduled emails sent on designated days such as
    – on first day of the month send recurring invoices (doing this manually is really a time consuming and error prone task)
    – reminders to tenants when their rents become due
    – reminders to tenants when their move out date is approaching (giving them steps to extend their lease)

    • http://thestoragefacilitator.com Rachel Greenfield

      Nice! Thanks for sharing your scheduling tips.