When it comes to setting your self storage business apart from the competition, there are some basic rules you can follow—things such as friendly service and a clean facility.
That’s not exactly what we’re going to cover here.
Instead, we’re going to go over some quirky—and quite possibly wonderful— ideas that your customers will enjoy, things that will make them remember you.
No doubt you’ve seen sitcoms use the “You’re our one millionth customer!” trope a time or two, where a certain number customer wins a prize.
You can do something similar, with a gift giveaway every day, every week or every month. Perhaps the tenth new tenant each week gets a free disc lock, or a set of book boxes.
We’ve seen businesses from pizza places to comic shops use this quirky and fun idea, and it can work just as well at a self storage facility.
Whether just signing up to rent a unit, or spending, say, $20 or more on merchandise, customers get to spin a wheel to potentially win a prize. It will have a variety of possibilities. Most should be “Try again next time,” but one could be, “Make a basket, get 15% off,” and then the customer gets to toss a small ball at a basket behind the counter. Make sure the ball is soft, and that it is possible to make the basket, though it doesn’t have to be easy. A couple more could be “Get 10% off,” and a few more, “Get 5% off.” The customer then saves a little on that purchase.
Want to help your customers get better at packing and storing their belongings? Hold a free, monthly class to teach the basics. You can cover climate control (and get specific about the weather in your area), the best boxing options, stacking versus shelving, and the like. In addition, you can serve snacks, like coffee, juice, and cookies.
Limit the number of attendees to an amount you can handle. You may want to just take on fifteen people at a time. Once the limit is reached, tenants will have to sign up for the next month. Also, if someone already took the class, they can attend again only if the fifteen slots don’t get filled up, and only tenants should be able to attend.
Here’s a way to get customers to open up and let you know what ideas they may have for improving your facility.
Put out a suggestion box, with a contest attached. One customer per month will get a gift certificate for lunch at a local restaurant. All they have to do is write a suggestion for how the facility can improve. The suggestion that the manager likes best, or feels is the most worth listening to, wins. This way, that customer gets a free lunch, and your facility gets some valuable feedback.
Do you have particularly friendly customers? Perhaps a customer with an interesting business who stores their inventory at your facility, or a local celebrity? Maybe one of your tenants helped you solve a problem while in the office paying their bill.
Consider featuring them in some way. You could write something about them for your website’s blog, or simply send out a thank-you tweet. Twitter now has a 280 character limit, to allow you to send an individual, sincere message.
Do get customer permission on this. Some customers may not want it public that they rent at your facility for privacy reasons.
Once or twice a year, hold a raffle with a great prize. This could be catering for Christmas dinner, or another holiday meal. It could be for a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Whatever you choose, each current tenant should get one entry. If they want additional entries, they can purchase tickets for a dollar each.
Raffles can generate a lot of excitement, especially if the prize is something people really want. So, use your imagination and give this idea a try.
Have fresh cookies and coffee available in your office every day. When tenants come in to pay their bills, or new customers come in to rent, they’ll get a delicious treat. We recommend everyone’s favorite, chocolate chip. Having something to nosh on also helps pass the time if there are other people in line before them, and they need to wait.
If serving cookies isn’t your thing, have a bowl of snack-sized candy bars on your counter.
As you can see, it’s not too difficult to stand out in fun and interesting ways. Feel free to try any of these, or come up with your own ideas, and best of luck!