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How to Choose Self Storage Gate Software

May 31, 2022

Self Storage Gate Software Graphic
5 min

For the customer, it’s simple. Push the right buttons, the gate goes up, and storing can commence.

But what does it look like on the other side? Choosing the right self storage gate software can make a big difference to your business. Good software saves time, keeps your facility safe, and improves your customers’ experience

Our self storage gate software guide will help you understand the choices you’ll be making when you invest in new gate tech!

Gates are a common pain point for self storage operators, and a core part of their self storage security system. Codes that don’t work, gates that get stuck, and a constant need for maintenance have caused many an operator to curse the machinery that keeps their driveway closed.

Gates can also be a great selling point for your facility, even if you never mention them. Like the lock on your front door, gates provide reassurance that only people with a key can enter. And just like your front door, self storage gates aren’t invincible - but they help. 

What do storage customers care about the most? Download our Top 9 Amenities to  find out.

Your gates are only as good as your self storage gate software, though. If the system can’t tell who to let in and who to keep out, it might as well be a wall or an open door. 


Self Storage Access Control Systems

Gates come in four main types: 

  • Slide gates open horizontally, with a motor pulling them directly sideways out of the path
  • Swing gates swing on hinges, opening in an L shape to admit your tenants
  • Vertical gates are lifted into the air on a hinge - these are less common
  • Barrier arm gates are a single arm that lifts up into the air. These don’t look as secure as full gates do, and are less common than the first two.

If you’re choosing a gate for a new facility or thinking of replacing your old one, be sure to choose a gate style that fits your space. Measure out the area your gate will move into, and be sure you won’t have anything blocking that space in the future. Gates are expensive, and you don’t want to have to replace one again any time soon.

Once you’ve got your gate sorted, you need to put some thought into your access control system

This is the method by which your customers will tell the gate to open. For a long time, this was dominated by keypads, where your customers input a specific code. The self storage gate software then checks whether that tenant is still eligible to enter before opening the gate.

Keypads aren’t the only method for gate access now, though. New systems work with smartphone apps to grant access to tenants without them having to enter a code or even roll down their windows.

These access control apps, of which Nokē Smart Entry is the most popular, are often a more convenient way for your guests to enter.

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Cloud-based Self Storage Gate Software

Self Storage Mobile Access Apps

Before you add a mobile access app, you should ask a few questions. 

  1. Do your customers have smartphones that can use the app?
    1. Given the ubiquity of mobile phones, it’s easy to assume everyone has a smartphone, but this isn’t the case. According to Pew Research, while 97% of Americans do own a mobile phone, only 85% of us own a smartphone. Your tenants may also have a smartphone, but prefer a simple gate code instead of installing new apps.
    2. If you’re concerned about upsetting your customers, consider adding a mobile access app on top of your existing gate entry software, rather than replacing it outright.
  2. What happens if the internet goes out?
    1. No company is completely safe from internet outages. Ensure that your gate and door access systems aren’t relying entirely on your facility’s wifi to operate
  3. Is this worth the investment?
    1. Consider what concrete benefit your business will get from switching to mobile access apps. Do you think this new high-tech approach will help you lease up a new facility? If you’re already nearly full, will it help you raise rates because you’re offering a better product?
  4. Will I need to upgrade anything else?
    1. If your PMS won’t work with the new system, you’re better off saving your money. Software is made to save you time - if you’re still having to manually input each new tenant’s information from the PMS to the access control system, your software isn’t really doing its job.

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Integrating Your Self Storage Gate Software with Your Property Management System

Self storage gate software must encompass more than simply “does this person have the right code?”

Your system must be able to request the status of each tenant when that person puts in the code. 

  • Is this tenant behind on payments and shouldn’t be allowed access? 
  • Is this tenant delinquent, but you’ve given them access anyways?
  • Was this tenant delinquent, but recently submitted an online payment and should be admitted?

If your self storage gate software gets the answer to these questions wrong, you’ll be the one hearing about it. Ensure that your gate software can talk to your Property Management Software in a way that doesn’t require your constant intervention.

Also, you need to be aware of how the two different sets of software talk to each other. Are they directly connected, or do they talk over wifi? Is there a central hub (computer or server) on the premises?

The answer will help you figure out where to look if something goes wrong.

5 ways ebook

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What is cloud-based self storage gate software?

Cloud-based self storage gate software does not require you to have a program running on a computer at your facility. This means you’re not held hostage by interruptions from that machine.

It also means you don’t have to be at that machine to manage your system! If you get off the phone with a customer and want to reinstate their access, but you’re working far from the main office that day, cloud-based self storage gate software enables you to change that tenant’s status from your smartphone.

When considering cloud-based self storage gate software, ask how each piece connects to the internet. If it’s via wifi, you’ll need to ensure you have a strong, stable signal at each of your gates. If it’s through a broadband cellular network (4G or 5G connection), be sure that you get a good signal at your facility.

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Learn more about creating a great customer experience with these:

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.

Are you making your software work for you?

Check out our Self Storage Software Playbook!

Self Storage Software Playbook - Shadow Cover