22 February 2022Przeczytasz w: 4 min.

What criteria do customers use when choosing self storage

Rising real estate prices and loan costs translate into smaller and smaller Polish apartments. This is a win-win situation for owners of self storage warehouses. Smaller apartments are associated with reduced storage space, and thus a greater demand for self storage services. A significant fact is also that in the face of the domestic crisis and rising inflation, many consumers do not decide to buy their own apartment and choose to rent real estate.

High demand for box rental also means a growing competition on the market. According to the FEDESSA 2021 report, there are 58 self storage warehouses in Poland. This is as much as 67% more than in 2020!

How to convince customers to choose our warehouse and not the competition? The answer is simple: offer tailor-made services, i.e. tailored to the needs and preferences of your customers.

But what are these mythical customer’s needs? What makes customers choose this and not another self storage warehouse? We have some tips.

Good location

According to users, the most important criterion for choosing a self storage warehouse is its location. This is important mostly for individual customers who store frequently used items (bicycles, sports equipment, documents).

Residents of large cities with small premises want to have quick and convenient access to their boxes. They also expect easy access to the warehouse and a large parking lot. If the target group of your business is B2C, a good warehouse location should definitely be on your priority list.

If you have a warehouse in a location that is perfect for customers, you can offer higher prices and get a high ROI on the rental of your boxes. If your warehouse is out of the main road, think about a price list that takes into account the less convenient access to the warehouse.

The size of storage spaces

If you want to achieve the maximum profit from your business, you should rationally plan the size of the boxes. If your focus is on individual customers, most of your boxes should be small or medium. If you direct your services to B2B, let your offer primarily include large boxes, more willingly chosen by business customers.

You should also follow the market on an ongoing basis, view rental reports and adapt your offer to market requirements. Do you see a declining number of business customers and less and less occupancy in large boxes? Divide them into smaller ones and rent them to individual clients. Do you have a warehouse outside the city and few individual customers? Focus on offering large boxes to business customers at an attractive price per m2 of space.

Michał Laszczyk, the Project Manager from SilesiaBox, says that ergonomic usage of the available space is a way to maximize profits.

“Reports are most important for the investor. If the correct numbers appear in tables, a smile will also appear on their face. However, in order for the smile to appear, several matters need to be well organized, such as ergonomic planning of warehouse space or proper management of an already existing building. In our company, we approach each client individually, because each client has different needs. In the case of new locations, I recommend that clients divide the investment into several stages, thanks to which the threshold for entering the business is lower, because the investment costs for the start are lower. This approach also allows you to check the market in a given location. “ – advises Michał Laszczyk.

“The first steps in business are made somewhat blind. We need to get to know our target customer well. Maybe in one part of the city there will be larger storage boxes > 10m2, while at the other end of the same town, boxes of 1-3m2 will be better? By dividing the investment into stages, we are able to adapt our warehouse to the needs of customers in this specific place, based on our experience. As in every area of life – the hardest thing is to start, and then it’s downhill.” – he adds.

Diversification of the area of activity

It can be a good idea to have a warehouse in several locations, targeting different customer groups.

A warehouse located closer to the city center may offer smaller boxes for storing frequently used items. It will be used by young customers who live in the city, have small apartments and are not motorized.

The second location may be outside the city and offer larger warehouses, dedicated primarily to business clients, e.g. traders or construction investors. The price per m2 of box should be lower than in small boxes dedicated to individual customers. The ROI on such a warehouse may be lower per m2 of warehouse, but it will be compensated by stable, long-term rental.

The third location can combine a good location and an attractive price per m2 of box and be targeted at small start-ups. In such a location, it is worth planning a place for conference rooms, stable WI-FI, mailboxes and even courier services.

Convenience of use

Today’s world focuses on things that are easy, convenient and not requiring too much effort. Therefore, in order to satisfy your customers, invest in modern, user-friendly solutions.

In research conducted by the Self Storage Association (SSA), the most important amenities from the point of view of self storage customers are:

– 24/7 access to boxes,

– electronic gates and locks,

– flexible forms of rental and payment,

– applications for users.

Therefore, if you run your self storage with traditional padlocks, your warehouse is only open for limited hours and you also offer rigid rental and payment methods – be careful, you may lose your customers soon.

Take a look at your business and think about what you can improve to better meet the needs of your customers. Maybe it is worth changing traditional gates to gate with electric operator, adding to your offer flexible rental packages or modern electronic payments, e.g. BLIK?

Self-service and online rental

A way to attract and retain customers may also be the implementation of a system that allows self-service rental and management of the boxes completely online.

Thanks to our solution, the boxes are being opened with the code generated in the application. The user rents, pays and manages the rental from the level of the mobile app, web app or in a free-standing kiosk. Time-saving and convenient use can become your trademark among your competition.

Such functionalities are available via the SavvyLockers system. More about the solution at www.savvylockers.com.

Find your golden mean

To summarize – to be successful in the self storage industry is to have an offer ideally suited to the customers of a specific warehouse. What works for others may not be the best solution for you. Thorough analysis of the needs of your clients and the surrounding business reality will allow you to find the most beneficial model for your business, resistant to crises and changing trends.

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