5 Ways to Increase Occupancy at Your New Storage Facility

July 20, 2018

hand holding a cellphone upon which they're shopping for a storage unit
5 min

If you build it, they will come - but only if you put in the work!

Whether you are getting ready to open your brand-new storage facility or looking to increase occupancy at an existing one, there’s some work you’re going to have to put in. If you’re doing this all on top of learning how to run a self storage facility, the effort it takes will grow exponentially!

Luckily, you have a lot of other businesses to learn from. So why reinvent the wheel?

Successful storage facilities follow the same consistent techniques that are proven to work, and so should you.

Here are five sure-fire self storage marketing strategies to help you increase occupancy at your self storage facility. Stick around for number five—it’s my favorite!

1. Get your website up and ready before your facility is

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Did you know that the age of your website is a ranking factor on Google?

There is a sweet spot to launching your storage website that falls somewhere in the months before you open your facility. Depending on your market, somewhere in the two-to-three-month range is ideal.

By doing this, you accomplish two things:

  1. You get ahead of the game by getting established in search rankings now instead of starting from scratch when you open
  2. Any customers who land on your website become aware of your facility, so you can build a bit of a customer base ahead of opening

While some people choose to have their website fully active so they can tweak it as needed, others find the excitement of a “coming soon” launch page helps them gauge consumer interest and get early sign-ups.

If you do this right and allow reservations, you might even have some occupancy on opening day!

2. Be open to reservations before your business is

Many people know they are going to need a storage unit before they actually need it, and they will begin calling around or researching facilities in the month or so leading up to the date.

If you say, “Sorry, we aren’t open,” you may lose future business.

Well, not allowing reservations on your coming-soon website is the website equivalent of saying, “Sorry, we aren’t open.” You’re going to lose potential customers.

Let folks know when your grand opening is on your website, and allow them to make reservations in case they’re shopping ahead and your opening dates still work for them.

3. Market what your customers care about

We all get excited about our fancy new toys, right? We want to show them off and excitedly talk everyone’s heads off about them.

This is fine when you just got a new boat or a cool tool or game. When it comes to marketing your business to customers, you need to take a more refined approach.

5 Ways to Increase Occupancy at Your New Storage Facility2

If you want to sell your new self storage facility to customers, here’s how to refine your messaging:

  1. Determine what customers in your market care about
  2. See where your facility overlaps with their cares and needs
  3. Market the things customers want using terms they understand

Once you know what you have that customers want, you really need to land that final point: speaking about it in a way they care about and understand.

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For example, if you offer smart units and your customers are very security-conscious, this is a win! But only if you explain that your units offer “state-of-the-art security,” which they will appreciate more than “smart units.”

4. Rent units on your website

The days of a storage business flourishing without online rentals are in the past.

If you want to succeed in the modern storage industry, having the ability for customers to rent a unit on your website is critical.

This not only helps increase traffic and business, but it saves you time and money by eliminating the need for a customer to be handled by you or your manager.

You can have your web developer use your self storage management software's API to rent units in real time!

Pug Pro Tip: To a customer, the act of choosing a unit and a move-in date is essentially the act of renting a unit. While we have more specific terms in the industry—rental, reservation, and so on—customers don’t usually know the distinction.

You want to make sure you have SOME way for customers to choose from available units online, even if it still requires them to come into an office to finish the process.

5. Establish a referral program

I said it at the beginning, but this one is my favorite.


Because well-operated referral programs are something more small-to-mid-size operators can do to set themselves apart from the major players. It’s also something that a great manager can do to elevate their own value.

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Referral programs can help you increase storage facility occupancy much faster.

Also, this part is important: Don’t limit referrals to only current customers. Allow ANYONE to refer a customer. What does it matter who it was as long as the new customer ends up renting for the required amount of time?

Here are some ideas for setting up a successful self storage referral program:

  • Make sure customers know about it. Put up posters, send out emails and text messages every so often, and make it known upfront when they rent. You can also highlight it prominently on your website.
  • Reach out to local businesses. Give info on the referral program to whatever businesses make sense. Apartments, moving companies, banks, hotels. If you have the time, give them to even businesses that are unrelated to storage, such as salons or barbershops.
  • Reward both parties. It has to make financial sense for you. But work it out so that the referrer receives a monetary reward and the one being referred gets some kind of benefit, such as a discount.

Remember: Set up your referrals so that the new customer must rent for long enough to make the money you paid worthwhile.

So long as you do this, a referral program is an incredibly cost-effective way to get new customers!

Your Storage Facility Occupancy Depends on You

Let’s recap:

How can you increase occupancy at your self storage facility?

  1. Get your website up and ready before your facility
  2. Be open to reservations before your facility opens
  3. Market amenities in ways customers care about
  4. Include the ability to rent units on your website
  5. Establish a well-oiled self storage referral program

The extra couple of hours you put into the right marketing strategies to increase occupancy at your storage facility today will pay off exponentially later when your units are full.

Then, you can increase your rates and start the process over as needed to grow and improve your self storage business!

To read more about running a self storage facility, check out these posts:

StoragePug is a modern marketing company for self storage. We create intelligent marketing websites that allow you to rent units & take payments through your facilities' website.

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