How to Cater to Military Storage Users

Jon Fesmire |

Active members of the armed forces have unique needs from businesses. This is especially true when it comes to self storage. Why? Because military members are frequently required to move, whether it’s to another base or to another country as a result of deployment. At any time, a soldier may have to pack up his or her entire home—and family—and move across the country, or leave that family entirely.

Self storage can help make these transitions easier.

Discounts

Offer active military members a monthly discount on their self storage units. While this isn’t specifically about helping soldiers move, it certainly can help them financially. Typically, storage facilities offer a 10% to 15% monthly discount. Active duty personnel must show their military ID cards to receive this. You may also consider offering a discount on merchandise, such as locks, boxes, and packing material. Depending on what makes sense for your facility, the discount doesn’t have to be the same as it is for storage units. For example, you may offer a 15% monthly rental discount, but sell them merchandise at a 5% discount. If you’re located in a high cost of living area, these lower prices are especially helpful for military members. You may want to suggest larger units for them as well. The reason here is simple. In high cost of living areas, the rental prices for homes and apartments can be very high, but self storage rental space is much less per square foot.

Moving

As mentioned, active military members move frequently. You can make this easier for them by suggesting that they use self storage as a base while moving. Let your military tenants know that they can store their belongings with you and hire a moving company to bring everything to their new home, from your facility. Alternately, you could suggest they move their belongings from their unit with you to a unit in another facility, in their new city. They would simply have to move what’s in their current home to their new home. If you work with a moving company, you might suggest they offer military discounts as well. If you also own a facility in their destination city, you could offer a deal and increase customer retention.

Deployment

Deployment to foreign lands is another reality of military life. In recent decades, we’ve seen extended tours of duty for many soldiers. Does your facility offer vehicle storage, or do you work with a facility that does? Deployed soldiers, especially those who are single, need somewhere to store their cars while away. Let them know if this is a service you offer. As always, make sure to offer them a discount. Military members have extra protection against their units going to auction for non-payment. The specific schedule for putting a unit on auction depends on the lien laws of your state. However, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects active duty military members in the case of various financial difficulties. In the case of self storage, that means it’s more difficult for a facility to put their units up for auction. Military members should be aware of this act, as should you. Of course, they should also know that the military frowns on them when they neglect to make payments. Keeping up on bills is a value the military wishes to instill in its members. You can help here, too, by offering automatic withdrawals for payments, or at least the ability to pay their self storage rent online. All these combined should be quite attractive to members of the military when they need self storage space. As an industry, we have a lot to offer them, so be friendly and let them know.