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How to Choose Which Retail Products to Offer

Jon Fesmire | September 26, 2017 @ 10:51 AM

So, you’ve decided to expand your self storage business with retail products. That’s a great move! Years ago, not many storage facilities offered moving supplies, which is why you still find a lot of smaller self storage offices with room for just the basics. Perhaps that’s your business, or perhaps you’ve already upgraded your office so that it has plenty of space for those items that renters need.

The more room your store area has, the more items you’ll be able to sell. As such, let’s look at retail items in terms of priority. What are the most important items to have, and which are optional?

The One Essential Item

If you sell nothing else at your storage facility, sell disc locks. These are the toughest locks a storage facility can offer. They will cost tenants a little more than other lock types, but they’re worth it.

You should be able to mark the price of disc locks up by about 300%. Check to see what other storage companies are selling them for. It’s a requirement for tenants to have a lock on their units, so most new renters will buy one from you when they sign their contract. That can add up to several thousand extra dollars for your facility yearly.

For those outside, roll-up doors, consider also carrying cylinder locks, so called because they are cylinder shaped and don’t have a bar. Cylinder locks are specifically made for the sliding bars on self storage doors, and offer a high level of security.

Nearly Essential Secondary Items

Have a little more room for retail items in your office? Then stock it with the following:

Your customers will be happy if they can purchase boxes, tape, markers, and packing materials right there at your facility. It’s all about convenience. No one wants to rent a unit, then drive to another store to purchase their packing supplies. If you can stock only two kinds of boxes, we recommend book boxes and slightly larger boxes for lighter items, like clothing and sheets.

If you have more room, also include wardrobe, mirror, silverware, and dishware boxes. If you have a positively large sales area, boxes for cups and glasses are also a good idea.

Like locks, packing tape doesn’t take up a lot of space. You’ll also want to offer packing material, such as bubble wrap and possibly styrofoam peanuts.

Tertiary Items

All the items mentioned so far are needed for any storage unit. Those in this section aren’t always necessary, but are useful and can create a better moving and storage experience.

Third-tier items you should have, space allowing, include packing tubes, hand trucks, bungee cords, moving mats, furniture coverings, and shelving.

Packing tubes are great for storing art out of the frame. At your facility, tenants will be able to use the hand trucks and carts waiting in the hallways, but they may want a hand truck or two for moving items from house to rental truck at home. Bungee cords are great for securing a stack of boxes on a hand truck, or furniture against the inside walls in the back of a rental truck. Moving mats keep heavy items from taking damage against the floor, and allow tenants to slide them a short distance. Furniture coverings protect dressers, chairs, mattresses, and so on from dust inside the storage unit.

Finally, shelving makes it easier for tenants to get to certain boxes that would otherwise be at the bottom of a pile. Another great thing about selling shelving at your facility is that you can provide shelves designed to be attached to the specific sort of walls your units have. You may also be able to sell the service of having them installed in your units.

The Rest

That covers all the major items you would want to sell at your facility. Now, you will need to consider pricing.

Remember that by providing these products at your facility, you’re making it easier for your tenants to get everything they need in one place. For that convenience, you can sell the items for more. Don’t mark them up too high, however, or customers will feel that they’re being taken advantage of.

You can also save money on inventory by purchasing in bulk. This can be difficult if you have just one or maybe a few facilities. Look into our parent business, the storelocal co-op. This group of self storage businesses allows member companies to do things like pool resources to buy in bulk, saving participating members money.

With this knowledge, you should have little trouble adding a retail aspect to your self storage facility. May it improve your profit line and help your tenants.

Jon Fesmire

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