The following post was originally published on Inside Self-Storage, an online publication dedicated to the self-storage industry. To read the original article written by Live Oak Bank’s Anna Taylor, click here.
Whether you’re depositing a check or buying groceries, many aspects of your daily routine may look very different than they did 10 years ago. Technology has given us tools including bank mobile apps and self-checkout lanes to make everyday transactions faster, easier and more convenient for consumers while increasing business efficiency. Many industries are adopting automation to provide customers and users with fast, real-time results. It was only a matter of time before this trend made it to self-storage.
Five years ago, kiosks weren’t readily-accessible in storage facilities. Customers came in, visited with the manager, went to their units and left. Believe it or not, there wasn’t nearly as much hustle and bustle back in 2013. Many sites didn’t even have a website, so payments were made in person or through the mail.
Automation is changing the self-storage landscape, enabling owners to cut costs and enhance the customer experience. The one-on-one interaction between tenants and a real person is still significant, however, there are ways to increase efficiency and return on investment without losing that personal touch.
For a self-storage operator, automation allows you to control expenses and increase margins. Online reservations/rentals and keypad gate access will enable you to securely operate your facility beyond traditional business hours, without the incremental cost of an hourly employee. With rental-rate increases slowing down, expense reduction is one way to add more to the bottom line.
Automation may not work at every facility, but it’s an option for facilities in rural and urban areas. “Automation can provide a far superior customer experience, which results in higher occupancy and higher rents. We are experiencing these effects firsthand on the deals we are acquiring and automating,” says Brad Minsely, owner of 10 Federal, which operates 11 self-storage locations in North Carolina.
If you’re looking to add technology to your self-storage facility, you’re one of many. There are ample benefits to automation.