Self-storage facilities typically see business slow down around Labor Day, but there are plenty of ways for you to make the most of this time instead of trying to get to the next level of Candy Crush.
Rather than sitting around waiting for customers to come in, strive to take care of things you put off during the busy season. When the pace of work picks up you’ll be well prepared to rent out units and sell self-storage products. Here are a few ways to use your time better:
1. Take stock of your business
A slowdown is the perfect time to take stock of supplies and review financial records. If you can put your stock in order and make sure your books are balanced, you’ll have more time to devote to sales when business returns to normal.
Be sure to make a list of important maintenance chores you’ve skipped during the busy period. If you’ve been putting off having your driveway paved, the slow season is the perfect time to do it, since there’s less chance of disrupting business, said Eric Tyson, an economist and the co-author of “Small Business for Dummies.”
2.Review your marketing strategy
Adam Haydon, a member of the Minnesota Self Storage Association Advisory Board, said the slow season is a good time to review your marketing strategy.
You’ll have the time to brainstorm with your staff about how to generate business. Take the time to check out your competitors to see what they’re doing to increase sales. Find out if they’re offering specials that you need to match.
“We do a lot of direct marketing during our down time,” said Scott Reifsnyder, the manager of Crosstown Stor-N-More Self Storage in Tampa, Fla. “That is something we usually don’t have time to do in the busy season.”
3. Conduct employee performance reviews
It’s important to conduct regular performance reviews so you can reward good workers and set improvement goals for those who fall short of your expectations. It’s cheaper to offer financial incentives to good employees than to constantly be training new ones. When business is slow, you’ll have time to evaluate everyone on your team.
4. Update your business insurance coverage
It’s important to shop for insurance annually to make sure you’re getting the best deal. If you simply renew your policies year after year without shopping around, you could be wasting hundreds of dollars. If your insurance needs have increased because of improvements you’ve made, you won’t be adequately covered unless you update your policies.
5. Put the Internet to work for you.
Summer is the perfect time to boost your profile on the Internet by updating or opening a page for your business on Facebook. If you have a company website, make sure it’s up to date.
You can evaluate how complete your company website is by comparing it to those of your competitors. Make sure you review it thoroughly, getting rid of things that are no longer relevant. If you’re offering any products or move-in specials that aren’t listed online, add them to your website.
6. Make sure you’re networking
One way to find new business during the summer is to network with other business owners, said Sue Haviland, a partner at consulting firm Self Storage 101. If you’ve lost touch with key clients and associates, this is the time to reconnect.
Networking events typically are held by local chambers of commerce. They’re valuable because you’ll have an opportunity to pick the brains of other business owners. If there are new trends — such as an influx of people who need self-storage because of apartment construction — you’ll hear about them from your peers. You might also meet business owners who have major storage needs.
7. Increase your curb appeal
Tyson said slow periods are great for sprucing up you facility.
“Take a look around your property and see what could be done,” Tyson said. “It could be painting. It could be landscaping.”
8. Make sure you aren’t undercharging your tenants.
“As things slow down it’s a good time to take a look at what your customers are paying and how long they have been paying that much,” said Travis Morrow vice president of the National Self Storage Alliance, which manages self-storage businesses throughout the Southwest.