My calendar recently reminded me that it was time to schedule my regular dental checkup, and although it can be an unpleasant experience, I scheduled an appointment because I want to avoid serious problems in the future. We all know it is important to maintain our physical health, but how often do YOU assess the health of your business? As long as the phone keeps ringing and units are being renting, you may think that everything is fine. However, when was the last time you took a good look at the operations of your property and how it stacks up against your competitors? Would you be prepared to handle a new rival in your market? Today, in the very competitive self storage market, a facility checkup is a crucial exercise to do in order to ensure a healthy future for your business.
Several key indicators can help you determine the health of your local self storage market and your own property. First, track the frequency of phone and internet inquiries that you receive from renters and determine how many of those inquiries turn into paying customers. Compare those percentages to the previous years and months to see if your property has kept pace or if calls and conversions are declining. This could indicate that a more serious market condition is present. How long has it been since you raised your rental rates? Did you lose customers as a result? If you have had trouble raising your rates it may be another red flag. Keep a close eye on your economic occupancy if you have had to increase your concessions to keep your physical occupancy levels up. This may be a red flag and your market could be in for some turbulence.
Luckily, you have access to one of the premier local experts – yourself! Take the time to evaluate your property against its competition using the following criteria:
1. Location, Access and Traffic Counts
3. Rental Rates
4. Cleanliness and Friendliness
5. Age of the Property – Yes it does matter!
You are the ideal doctor to run the checkup on your property and market because you have valuable local experience and knowledge not available to an outsider. However, you must be relentless in obtaining all of the facts and impartial in evaluating the information you collect to make your assessment useful. You should also take the time to discuss your findings with your local Argus broker because they will be able to give you an objective point of view and also help you navigate the possibility of new competition in your market. You can find your local Argus broker at http://www.argus-selfstorage.com/brokers/
About Ben Vestal
Ben Vestal is president of the Argus Self Storage Sales Network, a national network of real estate brokers who specialize in self storage. Argus provides brokerage, consulting and marketing services to self storage buyers and sellers. For more information, call 800.55.STORE; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.