[BASICS] 5 Minute Data & Reports for Self Storage

January 23, 2024

People looking at reports on a computer screen
6 min

“Yeah, whenever you get a free day or just a couple of hours, you can really dig into the analytics and fine-tune your business, and - wait, what’s so funny?”

Every operator knows they should be making use of their data, but getting even five minutes to sit in the quiet and think can be nearly impossible. 

If you’ve only got five minutes, what self storage reports should you check?

We asked a handful of experts in one of our recent Gabfocus episodes, and here’s what they said!

We talked to Alyssa Quill, Cherolyn Johnson Chiang, & Jeremy Rollwitz, three industry experts, about which data and reports they would check if they only had five minutes to look over a facility’s data.

They gave us five options - obviously, you can’t check all five in five minutes, but if you spend five minutes each day checking a different metric, you can get a comprehensive understanding of your facility’s data in a week!

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In this blog, we’ll tell you what each report shows you and what you can do with that information. 

Our experts, given only five minutes, would check these reports:

  • Management history report
  • Profit and loss statements
  • Paid search campaign metrics
  • Cost per conversion
  • Total number of rentals

These can give you a snapshot of your business and the reassurance that everything is fine - or, if everything isn’t fine, they can point you towards the problem.

Self Storage Management Summary Report

This report has different names depending on the exact self storage software you’re using, but we’re talking about the general “summary” that your Property Management Software (PMS) provides.

If you have to choose one single report to rely on, this is it. The management summary should include your revenue, payment types, outstanding rent, actual rent, leads, facility occupancy, and a whole bunch of other stats that can tell you exactly how your facility is doing.

Alyssa recommends using the Management History report, specifically - this is a variation of the management summary report that tracks changes over time.

Numbers without context are useless - five rentals a month is great for some businesses and panic-inducing for others. Tracking the changes over time can give you the context you need to sniff out any problems and find room for improvement.

If your number of leads is dropping, you’ve got marketing problems. If your projected rent doesn’t get close to your actual paid rent, you’ve got collection issues.

This report is complex compared to some of the others, but once you learn to read it, you’ve got a single place you can go to see how your business is doing (with a few exceptions).

Self Storage Profit and Loss Statements

With any business, the headline number is money in vs money out. The profit and loss statement is a pared-down explanation of where your money is coming from and where it’s going.

This report will highlight how much you’re spending on maintenance, labor, interest, mortgage, and other payments every month (or every year). It will also show how much you’re bringing in from different sources.

This overhead view is useful in showing where you should be focusing your attention. 

Some operators spend a ton of time and effort selling moving supplies - boxes, packing, tape, bubble wrap, etc. For many of them, this is a big way to make money!

But for others, the time spent isn’t reflected in the revenue earned.

5 ways ebook

The profit and loss statement will show you how much of your business comes from each facet, so you can appropriately budget your time and attention.

On the flip side, it also shows where your money is going. A quick glance at your profit and loss statement can help you see where your business might be spending too much - maybe on a smart alarm system that your customers don’t use, for example.

You can customize your profit and loss statement to be as detailed as you like, but a simple version has its benefits. If you’ve only got five minutes, running a P&L is a good way to spend them.

Profit and loss statements are sometimes called income statements. Your PMS may call it one or the other, but there’s no difference between the two.

Paid Search Campaign Metrics

This goes a bit deeper than the two above, but your self storage paid search campaign metrics are very important.

Like with all self storage marketing efforts, if you’re not hitting the right targets, you’re throwing money away. 

Most storage facilities run Google Ad campaigns to drive traffic to their website, but the returns on that money vary greatly depending on your competition, your website conversion rate, and the quality of your ad campaign.

I search for storage-related terms a lot - it’s my job. I’m located in the StoragePug offices in Knoxville, TN, but I’ve been served Google ads for facilities outside New Orleans

Screenshot 2024-01-04 at 12.44.20 PM

This is a poorly targeted ad campaign. Google will charge you the same amount for my click that it would for the click of someone next door, but only one of those clicks is ever going to turn into revenue.

Checking your campaign metrics will ensure you aren’t throwing money away into Google’s already ridiculous bank vault.

Your search campaign metrics will show how much you spent, what your click-through rate (CTR) was, and your conversion rate. 

Conversion rate is the most important part of your ad campaign. In fact, all of your marketing goals should be framed in terms of rentals, not visitors to your site or phone calls or anything else.

Good marketing only goes to people who can rent with you.

Getting thousands of visitors to your website doesn’t help you at all if those people aren’t in your area, aren’t looking for storage, or otherwise aren’t likely to rent from you.

Cost Per Conversion

This might not be available with a single button click, depending on your PMS, website, and marketing integration, but it’s important.

Once you get a report like this set up in whatever reporting software you prefer, this is a perfect way to look at the effectiveness of your marketing.

Simply take what you’re spending on marketing and divide it by the number of rentals you got from that channel.

[BASICS] 5 Minute Data & Reports for Self Storage2 

This is the number that matters most in marketing. The range of possible cost-per-conversion metrics is very broad - an established facility in a high-demand area may be able to spend relatively little and let free marketing do the bulk of the work.

If your self storage SEO is in a good spot, Google will send lots of clicks your way for free. 

If you’re a new facility still leasing up, you can expect to spend many times the cost of a month’s rent to fill in a unit. (For example, you may expect to spend $300 in marketing to get a tenant in your $100/month storage unit).

Total Number of Rentals

Ok, this is the one to look at if you’ve only got five seconds.

Are more people moving in than moving out? That tells you in one figure whether your facility is doing well or not.

Download our Self Storage Marketing Playbook eBook here for free.

This is another number that’s only valuable if you track it over time. Any given month is going to fluctuate - if three people move in on January 30th and two other tenants move out on February 2nd, February may look like a bad month. If you look at trends over a longer period of time, you can see if you’re moving in the right direction.

Running a storage facility is hard, and it takes a massive commitment of time, effort, and attention to grow from an empty lot to a thriving business.

Checking the right reports, even if you only spend five minutes on them, can keep you ahead of changes that might threaten your business. 

For a comprehensive dive into data and reporting, check out the full GabFocus video here!

Looking to learn more? Check these out!

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.

Looking to grow your facility?

Download our Self Storage Marketing Playbook!

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