Are you considering investing in the self storage industry? If so, there are a few important industry trends you need to know in order to make informed decisions and maximize your investment.
At its core, the self storage industry is all about providing a safe and convenient space for people to store their belongings. However, the industry has evolved significantly over the years, with new trends emerging and shaping the landscape.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most important industry trends that investors need to be aware of in order to succeed in the self storage business.
Investing in Self Storage: Industry Trends You Need to Know
Increased Demand for Self Storage
One of the most important trends in the self storage industry is the increasing demand for storage space. This is largely due to changing lifestyles, growing urbanization, as well as the rise of e-commerce and online shopping.
One of the significant drivers of increased demand for self-storage is changing lifestyles. As people accumulate more possessions, they often find that they don’t have enough space to store everything in their homes. This is particularly true in urban areas, where living spaces are smaller and more expensive.
Additionally, many people are choosing to downsize their homes as they get older, but they still want to keep their possessions. Self-storage offers a convenient and affordable solution for storing these items without cluttering up their homes.
Another factor driving the increased demand for self-storage is growing urbanization. As more people move into cities, they often find that they don’t have enough space to store all their belongings in their apartments or homes. Self-storage offers a convenient and secure solution for storing items that people don’t need every day, such as seasonal clothing, sports equipment, or holiday decorations.
Rise of E-Commerce
The rise of e-commerce has also contributed to the increased demand for self-storage. As more people shop online, they often need a place to store their purchases before they can be delivered to their homes. Self-storage offers a convenient solution for storing packages until they can be picked up or delivered.
Additionally, many e-commerce businesses use self-storage as a way to store inventory and fulfill orders. This trend has been particularly prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic, as more people have shifted to online shopping.
All of these factors have contributed to a steady increase in demand for self storage space, making it a potentially lucrative investment opportunity.
Technology and Automation
Another trend that is shaping the self storage industry is the increasing use of technology and automation. Self storage facilities are using technology to streamline their operations and enhance the customer experience.
One of the most significant technological advancements in self-storage technology is the use of electronic access control systems. These systems use electronic keypads, card readers, and biometric scanners to control access to the facility. They provide a higher level of security than traditional locks and keys and offer real-time monitoring and auditing capabilities.
Another critical aspect of self-storage technology is the use of automated billing and payment systems. These systems allow customers to make payments online, eliminating the need for in-person payments or paper invoices. They also provide automated reminders and notifications, reducing the risk of late payments and missed deadlines.
Other self-storage technology solutions include mobile apps, online reservations, and digital surveillance systems. These solutions provide customers with more flexibility and control over their storage units and make it easier for facility managers to monitor and manage the facility.
With the advance in robotics technologies, self-storage automation is gaining more and more traction. Self-storage automation refers to the use of robotic systems and machines to automate tasks and processes within the facility. This automation can include the use of robots to move and stack boxes, automated conveyor systems, and robotic retrieval systems.
One of the most significant advancements in self-storage automation is the use of robotic retrieval systems. These systems use robotic arms and conveyor belts to retrieve and deliver storage units to customers. They eliminate the need for manual labor and make the process of retrieving and delivering units much faster and more efficient.
Another area where self-storage automation is being utilized is in the use of automated kiosks. These kiosks allow customers to access their units, make payments, and manage their accounts without the need for in-person assistance. They provide customers with more convenience and reduce the workload of facility managers.
Investors who embrace these technological advancements can gain a competitive edge and attract more customers to their facilities.
Sustainable and Green Facilities
As environmental awareness continues to grow, many self storage facilities are adopting sustainable and green practices in order to appeal to eco-conscious consumers as well as reducing energy costs.
Energy-efficient systems are utilized to minimize energy consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These systems include LED lighting, motion sensors, and energy-efficient HVAC systems. Solar panels may also be used to generate clean energy and reduce the facility’s reliance on traditional energy sources.
Eco-friendly practices are implemented to reduce waste and minimize the facility’s impact on the environment. These practices include recycling, composting, and reducing water usage. Some facilities may also offer bike storage and encourage the use of alternative transportation methods to reduce carbon emissions.
Additionally, some facilities are using sustainable building materials and practices in order to reduce their environmental impact.
Investors who prioritize sustainability and eco-friendliness in their facilities can attract a growing market of environmentally conscious consumers.
Consolidation and Acquisitions
Self-storage consolidation and acquisitions involve the acquisition of existing self-storage facilities by larger operators. These acquisitions are typically driven by the desire to expand the operator’s footprint in a particular market or region, to gain operational efficiencies and cost savings, and to increase revenue.
The consolidation of multiple facilities under a single brand allows the operator to achieve economies of scale and reduce costs by centralizing administrative and operational functions. This includes the use of standardized processes and systems, reducing duplication, and leveraging purchasing power for supplies and services.
The trend in the self storage industry is consolidation and acquisitions. As the industry continues to grow and mature, larger companies are acquiring smaller facilities in order to gain market share and improve profitability.
This trend presents opportunities for investors who are looking to sell their facilities, as they may be able to attract interest from larger companies that are looking to expand their reach.
However, it also means that investors who are looking to acquire facilities need to be strategic and proactive in their approach, in order to compete with larger companies and secure the best deals.
Focus on Customer Service
Finally, customer service is becoming increasingly important in the self storage industry. With more options available to consumers than ever before, facilities that prioritize customer service and create a positive customer experience can stand out from the competition. A positive customer experience can lead to customer loyalty, positive reviews, and word-of-mouth referrals.
Train Staff on Customer Service Skills
One of the best ways to improve customer service in self-storage facilities is to train staff on customer service skills. Staff should be trained to greet customers warmly, listen actively to their needs, and provide helpful and informative responses. They should also be trained to handle difficult customers and resolve conflicts effectively.
Provide Clear and Consistent Communication
Clear and consistent communication is crucial to providing excellent customer service in self-storage facilities. This includes providing clear information about rates, policies, and procedures, and responding to customer inquiries in a timely manner. Customers should also be informed of any changes to rates, policies, or procedures in advance.
Maintain a Clean and Safe Facility
Maintaining a clean and safe facility is essential to providing a positive customer experience. Self-storage facilities should be regularly cleaned and maintained to ensure that customers feel safe and comfortable. This includes regular pest control, lighting, and security measures to prevent theft or vandalism.
Offer Convenient and Flexible Payment Options
Offering convenient and flexible payment options is another way to improve customer service in self-storage facilities. Customers should be able to make payments online, over the phone, or in-person. They should also have the option to set up automatic payments or make payments in advance.
Provide Excellent Security Measures
Security is a top priority for customers when choosing a self-storage facility. To improve customer service, facilities should provide excellent security measures, including video surveillance, access control systems, and regular security patrols. Customers should feel confident that their belongings are safe and secure while stored at the facility.
Offer Additional Services
Offering additional services can also improve customer service in self-storage facilities. This may include moving and packing supplies, rental trucks or vans, and referrals to reputable moving companies. Offering these services can make the moving and storage process more convenient for customers, leading to a positive customer experience.
Investors who focus on providing exceptional customer service can build a loyal customer base and differentiate themselves in a crowded market.
Investing in self storage can be a lucrative opportunity, but it’s important to stay informed about industry trends and changes in order to maximize your investment. By understanding these important industry trends and embracing new technologies and practices, investors can gain a competitive edge and succeed in the self storage business.