When a new customer signs a lease with your facility, you can’t assume that they know the ins and outs of being a good self storage tenant. Even those who have used storage in the past may not know some of these things, so make sure to communicate everything on this list.
Hours of Operation
Your tenants need to know when your office is open, and when the facility grounds are open if your grounds have later operating hours. Tenants need to know both, so they’re aware of when they can contact you and how early, or late, they can access their unit.
Make sure tenants are aware of all self storage insurance options, including how little and how much insurance they can purchase, and how much it costs at each level. You should also remind them to see what their homeowners insurance does and does not cover. People storing expensive or especially sentimental items will likely want higher levels of coverage.
Let new tenants know what sort of locks they can use on their units, and what you recommend. You probably sell disk padlocks, which are among the strongest, and many tenants will happily purchase one from you.
Another excellent type, suitable for many roll-up doors, is the cylinder lock. This handy device fits into the circular part of the locking plate and looks as though it’s part of the door. It has no metal bar to cut, making it especially difficult for would-be thieves to remove, and therefore may be especially attractive to your customers.
Make sure your new customers know about your climate controlled units, and how cold, dry weather as well as hot, humid weather can damage many of their belongings. If your facility is located in an area where the weather is mild year-round, they should know that they may not need climate control, but in areas where the weather fluctuates, climate control may be crucial. Share your expertise in this area with your tenants.
What Not to Store
New tenants need to know what they’re not allowed to store. You know what those items are, including flammable items, open food containers, ammunition, and in many places, firearms. Point out the area that mentions them in the rental contract, and explain why each is disallowed if the customer asks. They may not consider that living plants could attract pests, for example.
Give your new customers a few tips on how to store safely. Let them know that wet concrete can get slippery, and that they may want to purchase some rubber flooring for their units. Share tips on how to safely stack boxes. Though your contract undoubtedly limits your liability should an accident occur, no one wants their tenants to suffer injury. You also don’t want negative Yelp or Google reviews because a box fell on a customer in his or her own unit.
Your Facility Website
These days, few people pay bills by mail anymore. Let your customers know about your website and how to use it to pay their monthly rent or set up recurring payments if this is a service that you offer.
How to Enter and Where to Find Their Unit
Once the new tenant has signed on, take them through a visit to the facility. Have them enter their access code at the gate to make sure they do so correctly. Then, take them to their unit. In a larger facility, you may need to take the golf cart, or if the unit is near the office, you can walk them over. Finally, take them to the exit gate and have them enter their access code there to leave. This will not only make it far easier for them to return and get to their unit, it will familiarize them with the facility.
Moving Out Instructions
When a tenant closes a storage unit contract, it’s a good idea to walk to the unit with them to make sure everything is moved out and that the unit is clean. Otherwise, you may end up finding a dirty unit during your lock check, or even an unlocked unit with belongings still inside. On the day the new customer signs the contract, you have the opportunity to give them a simple instruction:
“When you close your contract and move everything out of your unit, come to the office and have one of us go back with you to look it over.”
They may forget by the time they move out, but you will have at least increased the chance that they’ll follow this simple procedure.
Finally, you may want to create an introductory packet for your new tenants. It doesn’t have to be long, complicated, or expensive. It should simply cover what’s in this article so that your customers can quickly go over the information at their convenience. Not only will this give your tenants the information they need to use your facility and their units safely, it will help them when they rent in the future.