The self-storage industry isn’t an area which you would think that technology plays a massive role in. Years ago it used to be an area which had some space such as a warehouse or empty lot that had some storage containers and locks.
However, the self-storage industry is rapidly changing with the new advancements in technology and in this article we will discuss some of how it has changed for the better.
No need for keys
Ask any self-storage owner one of their biggest headaches and they will tell you it’s clients losing their keys. Lost keys are expensive to replace and sometimes you need to change the locks if the customer doesn’t return them.
Scott Evans of Pink Storage Cardiff had this to say: “We have replaced all the keys on our storage units with pin code access which has removed the need for physical keys.”
Having customers have their unique key code means that they can access their storage unit simply by entering the key. If they forget they can go online and reset their code instantly. This alone is saving the self-storage industry thousands a year.
No need for offices at all sites
If a storage company can remove the need for physical office spaces at their sites they can earn more money by having more storage units on that site.
Technology is helping storage companies with mundane tasks like contract renewal, payments, access codes and customer queries as they can all be done online.
Online usage can help storage owners cut down on location costs and also staff costs which can then be used to reinvest in more self-storage locations.
Digital Kiosks for 24/7 access
Storage owners used to employ staff to be at their locations in the twilight hours just in case people wanted to store or unload from their containers then someone would need to be there to let them in.
Digital Kiosks however now can let people access their storage containers without the need to have staff members waiting on customers after dark. Quite often hiring a staff member to open the front door of a facility wasn’t cost-effective so digital kiosks are a much-welcomed addition in the self-storage industry.
We discussed keys earlier in this article which have been replaced with keypads but storage locations with more advanced tech are using biometrics to allow their users access to their storage.
Biometric technology provides secure access that’s next to impossible for the everyday person to try and breach. Another advantage of using a persons biometrics is they don’t have to remember any codes to access their storage.
Self-storage companies are using state of the art technology such as facial and iris recognition to keep their client’s belongings safe.
Typical storage locations would have to manually enter their client’s billing information and then set them up on a monthly fee and if the client wanted more or less storage you would have to adjust the billing manually which can be a massive problem when you have many locations to run and operate.
Self-storage management software can help storage owners with all of the above and more. For example, if your storage prices go up every year because of your rent then you can build this into the software so that your customers are automatically billed.
The above will save hundreds of hours depending on the number of customers that your business has.
Automatic cleaning scheduling
Working out which storage unit is vacant and needs cleaning is another time-consuming task when you have multiple locations to operate.
Storage software can automatically schedule cleaning to that unit based on when they become vacant. This may not seem a big deal to some owners with one location but if you run more than one location remembering which lots are vacant can be a troubling experience.
If you are currently managing your cleaning and vacant units with excel spreadsheets or on paper I would highly recommend checking out storage software solutions to see how they can help manage your business.
Custom welcome and goodbye messages
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business so you should look after them as much as possible, one way of doing this is by using storage software that can automatically send out custom emails when a user signs up or leaves.
Updating your users with storage tips and hacks through automated software will also show them that you care and appreciate their business. After all, there are many storage companies that they could have hired space from but they chose yours.
Finally, a goodbye message with a discount for them to return or to give to someone else can increase your sales with very little effort.
Technology has changed the self-storage industry dramatically over the last few years and will continue to do so. In the future, we could have AI technology that works out the best storage container for the number of items the client has, it could also be used to stack these items so the user can add more into their storage without having to purchase a bigger container.