Hosting a Garage Sale at Your Storage Facility

March 12, 2024

garage sale at a self storage facility
4 min

The phone isn’t ringing. No one is stopping by the facility. 

It’s a warm Saturday morning but the only action on your property is a few regulars puttering around their units.

How can you drum up demand when the market has slowed down? How can you turn the sleepy facility into a marketing powerhouse?

We recently had Stacie Maxwell of Universal Storage Group on our virtual workshop, Gabfocus. She gave us some great advice on how to use those sleepy Saturday mornings to grow your business!

This was part of our Grassroots Marketing talk, and if you want to see the talk in its entirety, check out the recording here!

One unique idea she put forward was hosting a yard sale at your storage facility!

This low-cost community marketing tactic is a great way to get eyes on your facility, provide a service to your community, and improve the perception of your brand.

In this article, we’ll go over the advice Stacie gives on hosting a yard sale or garage sale at your facility!

Stay on top of the self storage industry with our monthly virtual workshops!

StoragePug founder Tommy Nguyen also spoke on grassroots marketing on the Inside Self Storage Podcast!

1. Get Help

The very first step in hosting a yard sale on your property is to talk to local businesses and let them know what you’re going to be doing. 

If you’ve already got good relationships with other local businesses, this part is easy. Text, email, or stop by, and pitch your idea. 

“I’m going to host a yard sale at my facility - would you want to sponsor a door prize or add something to the goodie bag? Or could you send someone to give me a hand?”

Small businesses need opportunities like this. This sort of community-building is one of the few advantages local businesses have over global brands. 

Not only can your business allies provide concrete support in the form of sponsorship money, gift bag goodies, door prizes, or even having their own booth at your sale, they can spread the word!

Pug Pro Tip: Start planning six months ahead of time, but don’t start marketing the event until sixty days before. People could tune out if your event is too far away.

2. Market Your Facility

The whole point of holding a yard sale on your facility is to show it off (well, and to make $17 from your old field hockey equipment).

Folks will visit your facility. They’ll walk around, looking in different units or at different tables.

You want them to be impressed with what they see!

That means your facility needs to be pretty much spotless before your event begins. Yard sale day is like picture day, except you don’t get to choose the angles. 

Everything needs to be clean. Weeds need to be pulled, the parking lot sprayed down, the trash emptied, and the bathrooms scrubbed. If you don’t already have a comprehensive list of everything that needs doing, check out our Facility Maintenance Checklist!

Consider the path your sale-goers will take through the property. What are they going to see? Better yet, set up your yard sale so that you control what parts of your facility are most prominent.

Build a Course

Build a course through your facility - a walking course, not an obstacle course. An obstacle course would be fun, but your insurance company would send a swat team to shut you down.

Think about what makes your facility unique. Think about the features that you market in other avenues - your security highlights, your climate-controlled units, your cameras, your lights, your office. 

Put your refreshments table at one end of the yard sale and your goodie bags or door prize ticket booth at the other. You could put drinks in one storage unit and food in another. 

Set up the yard sale area so that people have to walk past the best parts of your facility!

Register: Gabfocus Self Storage Workshops

3. The Yard Sale

There are a couple of different ways people can set up for the yard sale at your facility. You could let people bring in tables - or you could provide tables yourself - and have them set up on the lot somewhere.

More common is to have your tenants simply set up in their units! 

For people who want to participate but aren’t active tenants, Stacie suggests a one-day lease. This gives you all the same legal rights you have with regard to your traditional tenants (and protects you from some liability).

Give your tenants plenty of notice beforehand, so that they can set up their unit to be easy to shop (moving all the for-sale items to the front, for example). 

The timeframe and specific offerings will vary depending on what you want to offer, what your community is looking for, and what your facility can manage.

If possible, you should offer a goodie bag to your visitors that includes items with your branding on them. Some options include:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pens
  • Mugs
  • Bags
  • Candy
  • T-shirts
  • Hats
  • Stickers
  • Pins
  • Socks (a Pug favorite)

Use your judgment and follow your branding here. Don’t drop your whole marketing budget on swag - just give something useful with your branding on it so that when they eventually do need a storage unit, they’ll remember you!

Stay on top of the self storage industry with our monthly virtual workshops!

4. Have Patience

Don’t be discouraged if your first event doesn’t have great attendance. Don’t be discouraged if your second or third events don’t either!

Hosting a yard sale isn’t going to provide the sort of immediate returns that paying for SpareFoot or a Google Ad campaign will. The goal isn’t to look at it a week later and say “I netter three rentals from that” (though if you do, fantastic).

The goal is to become a part of your community. You want your facility to be the one people think of when they think of storage. This provides a value that bigger brands can’t match, even if they can offer lower prices than you can.

Hosting a garage sale or yard sale at your facility is a big undertaking and lots of effort, but it’s one of the few ways to go out into the community and drum up demand.

There are lots of other types of community/grassroots marketing that you can try, too! Check out our Gabfocus with Stacie Maxwell for expert advice, or sign up for future workshops to stay ahead of the curve.

Here are some of my other favorite posts to check 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.

Want to learn more grassroots marketing tactics?

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Gabfocus - Cover Image