According to a recent poll conducted by Inside Self Storage, less than half of self storage operators report that 25%-50% of their tenants are on autopay. Surprisingly—or perhaps not surprisingly depending on the storage facility—23% of self storage operators report that 25% or less of their tenants are on autopay. It’s true that some tenants prefer to pay by cash or check and it’s also worth noting that some storage facilities do not offer autopay.
That being said, autopay in the self storage industry is an increasingly welcomed—and oftentimes demanded—amenity. Most consumers are used to having their debit or credit cards automatically charged on a monthly basis for everything from auto insurance to Netflix. Offering autopay as a self storage operator will not confuse the majority of tenants; it will actually seem as logical as having a card automatically charged for any other bill.
If you’re not currently offering autopay at your storage facility, or you’re thinking of making it a requirement instead of an option, here are five reasons why you should.
Just think of all you’ll accomplish when you no longer have to spend time calling, emailing or sending letters to tenants who are behind on rent. Autopay makes late payments a thing of the past. You’ll experience fewer auctions and you’ll avoid the lien process.
No late fees may be a con to storage facilities that generate a lot of revenue from tenants who don’t pay on time and there is still the risk of a tenant setting up autopay on an account with insufficient funds (the joy of NSF fees), but ultimately the sharp decrease in late payments typically outweighs the lost revenue in fees.
Tenants who pay late, only pay partial rent or don’t pay at all cost you time. There’s the time you spend calling them, the time you spend overlocking storage units, the time you spend taking out ads in newspapers for self storage auctions. It goes on and on.
The self storage industry is increasingly customer service oriented. Autopay allows you to focus on that.
Going paperless benefits the environment. You can feel good about this and so can your tenants. If you’re working towards having a green self storage facility, this is one step that you can take.
As an added bonus, consumers like to spend their money at businesses that are actively making an effort to have a smaller carbon footprint. Advertise that this is a priority to you, and you will attract these eco-conscious customers.
Like every industry, self storage business owners are constantly looking for new ways to attract millennial consumers. One surefire way is to embrace technology. If your storage facility isn’t offering autopay or isn’t prioritizing it, you may be missing out on this key demographic.
If you offer autopay, and advertise it heavily—especially on social media—the checkbook-less millenials of the world will be more willing to rent at your storage facility.
For self storage users who travel often or live in a completely different part of the country or world than your storage facility, autopay is a lifesaver. This includes college students who often rent storage units near campus while they are away for summer vacation, military users who are relocated or deployed periodically or RV users who spend a lot of time on the road.
Adding autopay to your storage facility will allow these unique storage users to rent at your facility without having to mail a check in, deliver cash in person or find wifi in order to make an online payment.When deciding whether to add autopay to your storage facility, you must factor in what type of customers your facility tends to attract, whether or not your budget can handle the processing fees and whether you’d like autopay to be a requirement, a feature you incentivize with discounts or simply an option for renters who’d like it. Whatever you choose, you’ll quickly see the difference that autopay makes at your storage facility.