Should I Sell Moving and Packing Supplies at My Facility?
If you’re wondering whether to sell moving and packing supplies at your self storage facility, the answer is YES!
Besides offering this service to your customers, it also generates another (high margin!) revenue stream.
Some self storage facilities even market themselves as the place to go for packing supplies as a way to get close-proximity non-renters in the door. After all, the fundamental reason for buying moving supplies at a storage facility is convenience.
Here are some tips on what to sell, choosing a supplier, how to market effectively, and why you can probably charge more than other retailers in your area.
What To Sell
The most commonly sold retail items at self storage facilities are:
- Boxes of various sizes (small boxes tend to sell best)
- Picture boxes
- Wardrobe boxes
- Wrapping paper/plastic wrap (to wrap around items to protect them)
- Bubble wrap
- Tape dispensers
- Mattress covers
- Battery powered lights
- Moving Blankets
If there are other items that are commonly requested or specifically useful in your area, and your supplier sells it, consider that as well.
Picking A Supplier
When selecting a supplier for your retail items, there are other things to consider besides price. Partnering with a well-established supplier can offer you several benefits, including:
Good quality boxes
If you’re selling boxes, you want to make sure they are good quality. According to Inside Self Storage, you should look for a manufacturer’s certification stamp and an edge-crush-test figure of 32 pounds per square inch or better.
You might also want to consider printing your facility’s name on the boxes. Not only does it remind non-renters of your facility, but it also gives you another marketing tool.
For example, your facility can donate boxes to be used at a community food drive—a great way to build connections to the community and get your name out to potential customers.
Discounts on bulk purchases and shipping costs
By partnering with a supplier, you’ll be able to negotiate discounts and work out shipping costs that benefit you in exchange for your long-term business.
Assistance with inventory management
You should consider keeping inventory levels as low as possible. Track your sales to determine what works for your storage facility.
Why keep all the boxes at your facility when you can use your supplier to work out an inventory management system that works best for you?
Of course, you want to make sure you have enough boxes on hand to sell. However, at the same time, you don’t want to become overwhelmed with stacks and stacks of unsold boxes.
How To Sell Effectively
It isn’t enough just to have retail items for sale. Your staff also needs to know how to display and sell the items effectively.
Here are some tips for accomplishing this.
After renting a unit, ask customers “What else do you need—tape, boxes, a lock?”
This is called suggestive selling. After all, if they rented self storage space from you, chances are they will need moving and packing supplies too.
Display retail items attractively
Don’t just stack boxes in a pile or expect tenants to ask about supplies. Instead, display them in a pleasing way that will appeal to customers.
Anne Ballard of Universal Storage Group is to have a pyramid of different size boxes on display labeled with prices and uses (e.g., Small Boxes, Ideal for Packing Books, $1.50 per box or 5 for $5.00).
Consider investing in a few retail display units to showcase other items for sale. You don’t need to have your entire inventory on display—just enough to show customers what is available.
Be sure to ask your supplier if they have ideas or suggestions for product displays.
Demonstrate what customers will need for different uses
Consider providing attractive handouts or posters with information on the number and types of boxes that might be needed to pack up different rooms.
If you have the space, another idea is to provide a “sample” set-up. For example, buy some clothes cheaply at a yard sale and display them in a wardrobe box along with a few other size boxes that would represent what it takes to pack up a typical bedroom.
Seeing such a display will allow customers to imagine their own belongings packed up and help them decide on the number of boxes they might need.
When pricing your retail items, you can probably charge a bit more than other retailers in your area because you are offering the convenience of saving time.
After all, the last thing someone wants to do when they are packing up a house is run around looking for packing and moving supplies.
Having the supplies on hand will make customers more likely to buy them from you. Also, moving boxes aren’t an item most people buy regularly.
Leaning on Anne Ballard again, she formulaically prices goods: simply multiply your cost by 2.125.
To read more about my favorite StoragePug features, take a look at:
- How Your Online Reputation Affects Your Business
- The Importance of Geo-Location SEO for Your Storage Business
- Self Storage Kiosks vs. Marketing Websites: Which is Better for Your Self Storage Facility?
About the Author:
Jennifer Pfliegler is a freelance writer for StoragePug. She has been writing and editing for over 15 years.