3 Ways to Improve Self Storage Move-Ins (& 1 Thing to Avoid)

May 5, 2022

self storage customer service banner with automation icon
7 min

The less time you spend managing a customer’s move-in experience, the better your self storage customer service.

While rolling out the red carpet, personally and individually, might impress a customer, it’s not usually a feasible option for self storage operators. But if it’s more free time at work that you need to make it happen, then using self storage software to improve your customer service experience is the ticket you’re looking for.

We’ll show you how.


Using Software to Improve Self Storage Customer Service

Less time spent on a customer means better overall self storage customer service.

It sounds crazy, right? It goes against everything we’ve known about customer service for decades.

Well, it’s true.

If you use it properly, then self storage automation (via the right software) means you can automate the mundane parts of the self storage customer service experience and free up more time to actually give customers the personal care that makes a difference.

And that matters, because the majority of customers care more about customer service than they do even about price!

64% customers find customer experience more important than price

If you’re spending so much time on manually sending tenants information, confirming their move-ins, following up on their leases, and having them physically come in to sign them in front of you, then suddenly you’ve lost hours of your workday.

You no longer have time to give each customer the kind of personal service they are looking for.

When you find yourself pushing up against that immovable wall of daily tasks, unable to push past it to the level of self storage customer service you are reaching for? Go the other way and move around it!

This is especially important when your tenants aren’t even moved into their self storage unit yet. To them, their journey has just begun.

Here are three ways to get past that wall (and one thing you need to make sure you avoid doing).

Return to Top

1. Storage Unit Rentals, Rental Agreements, And Software

The move-in process is a self storage customer’s first real glimpse of your customer service.

Sure, they’ve found their storage unit through your office or website, and that’s an important stage of their customer journey. But given that the move-in process will require the most work for your tenants, it should be no surprise that it’s going to loom the largest in their minds.

A bad move-in is going to color their perception of your entire self storage business.

And the first stage of that is the rental agreement.

From renting cars to apartments and beyond, modern consumers are used to the process being almost entirely digital.

They find their unit or car online, they digitally sign the paperwork, and they may not even see the office staff in person until they show up to get the keys.

man with phone looking at reviews

That’s where we should be in self storage.

For great customer service, we need to create a convenient rental process. It all starts with digital self storage rental agreements. When a new customer has rented their storage unit, they should receive an email or a text (or both) with a link to digitally review and sign their lease.

The best part is that this can all be automated on your end.

Set up your self storage software so that a new rental automatically receives a link to sign their rental agreement. Once it’s signed, have them automatically receive a link to where they can review it in the future.

Step 1 completed.

Return to Top

2. Prepping for Move-Ins With Self Storage Software

There are a few things that should be accomplished by the time a tenant’s move-in date arrives.

  1. They should know the basic information they need to access your facility
  2. If you have an app, they should know about it
  3. Their unit should be prepared for the new move-in

Thankfully you can manage the first two entirely automatically using the right self storage software.

Once a rental agreement is signed, and their status is changed in your PMS or CRM, have the first wave of information sent out.

This information should probably include things such as:

  • Confirmation of their move-in date
  • Their unit number
  • Your facility’s address and contact information
  • A friendly (and short) welcoming message

If you have an app, you might also include a link to the app here so they can get that while it’s still fresh on their minds.

As for point number three? 

Well, you (probably) can’t automate that one entirely unless you’re running a self storage facility full of robots. And if you are, well, that’s incredible.

For the rest of us, we can make use of our self storage software to track what needs to be done manually.

5 ways ebook

Some ways to do this include setting up task reminders, keeping accurate unit statuses on your site map or other databases, and using checklists to ensure you’re performing the necessary pre-move-in tasks.

Return to Top

3. Use Self Storage Software to Improve Move-In Day

It’s move-in day.

Your tenant shows up at your facility’s gate.

Do they know their gate code? What about how to find and access their storage unit?

This is all information that should be sent to your tenant by the time they show up. You might currently have yourself or a manager meet them on-site to deliver what they need, but there’s room to automate that process.

Not only does this benefit you by freeing up time for improving your overall self storage customer service, but it also allows for more contactless rentals for those that prefer to go contactless.

Like with many stages of the customer journey, this information can be sent via text or email. Your self storage software can likely automate that process, or at least make use of templates so that you have minimal work to do.

Customers want the move-in process to be as convenient as it possibly can be.

Automating this as much as possible allows you to provide a convenient move-in that makes customers happy while also freeing up your time to personally address the needs of customers that do need or want more hands-on attention.

That’s how you improve your self storage customer service game by reducing how much time you spend delivering it!

Pug Pro Tip: If your access control software can sync up with your CRM (whether that’s your PMS or other software), see if it can automatically text your tenant with need-to-know information the first time they access your gate! It’ll be a cool touch that both impresses and delivers important info. Another alternative is to schedule the same message to go out the morning of their move-in.

Return to Top

Don’t Do THIS One Thing

confused mannequin surrounded by question marks

Hopefully, by now you can see the value in using self storage software to improve your customer’s move-in and your own self storage customer service.

Are you ready to set up those messages so that your tenant has all of the information they need, when they need it, and is ready for their move-in date?


One thing, first: DON’T send too much information at one time!

The more information you send at once, the less likely a tenant is to read it all. And even if they do, they may not retain it all.

You want to be very intentional with the information you send and when you send it.

Do they need to know how to access the gate and directions from the gate to their unit on the day they sign their rental agreement if their move-in date is a week or more out?

Probably not.

This is why tiered delivery of information is key to a successful self storage customer service experience.

If you're dealing with self storage reservations that have some time before their move-in date, then you can space the information out more easily. But you can find ways to do it properly even with direct rentals!

Send the information they need when they need it, and only send what they need at that time.

See some of my other favorite posts:

At StoragePug, we build self storage websites that make it easy for new customers to find you and easy for them to rent from you.

Software makes running your business easier.

Download our Self Storage Software playbook to learn what's out there and how to use it!

Self Storage Software Playbook - Shadow Cover