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The world of self storage security systems is large and intimidating at first glance.
Operators often make claims about how secure their self storage facility is, but what that means can vary greatly from area to area and operator to operator. There are some facilities that don’t need more than a fence and a gate. Other facilities may be in markets requiring more security, where they utilize the latest and greatest in Bluetooth locks, motion sensors, and smart units.
Let’s explore the different aspects of self storage security and take a look at what technology is available!
What kind of security claims do you make about your self storage facility?
You may use the basics that have become standard over the years: fences with or without barbed wire, gates of some form or fashion, and cameras that may have video recording capabilities.
Self storage facility security can be so much more than that, though!
Some security professionals even recommend that up to 3% of your business's budget should be reserved for security.
There are various reasons to beef up your self storage business’s security with technology and software. We’ll give you four right off the bat:
And that’s just touching on the most benign reasons!
Whether you’re looking to enhance the actual security of your facility or just want to take advantage of the convenience that often comes with new technology, there are many parts of your storage facility’s security measures that can be targeted for improvements.
One of the first aspects of security at your self storage facility is controlling access.
Access control can refer to more than just accessing your facility, though. Some self storage facilities feature multiple buildings or sections of buildings, and you can gate access to each building or section based on whether or not a tenant has a storage unit in that specific building.
You can also gate access between floors. For example, if a tenant’s storage unit is on the first floor, you can deny them access to other floors they have no need to access.
And yes, of course, we haven’t forgotten—there’s also the control of access to your storage units. There have been innovations in storage unit locks that let you add keyless entry, cameras, and more.
When it comes to access control, there are two components to consider: hardware and software.
Most access control companies will offer solutions for both, creating an integrated system that enables smoother operation. However, this also means that you may not be able to mix and match one vendor’s hardware with another vendor’s software. You may make this decision based on if it integrates with your self storage software (or PMS), or based on cost or features.
Access control is one area of security that has a direct impact on the customer experience. Every time a tenant attempts to access your self storage facility, the way they access it is the first thing that greets them on their visit.
With an advanced access control system, you can offer keyless entry with keypads or even Bluetooth gate access via phone or fob.
If for no other reason than enhancing the customer experience, your facility’s access control is an extremely important part of your self storage security system!
Pug Pro Tip: Technology can help you manage your facility access, making your life infinitely easier and giving you more control with less work. Between gate codes assigned automatically by your self storage software, card scanners, Bluetooth access controls, and more, there’s sure to be some software or access control technology to make access control easy and secure for your self storage facility.
Surveillance and other detection methods are another key part of self storage security systems.
These security measures include devices such as security cameras and motion sensors.
These days, surveillance is almost more of an expectation than a feature, with over 770 million surveillance cameras installed across the globe as of 2021.
Security cameras are almost an essential part of any business’s security in the modern era. You might not be able to afford around-the-clock monitoring of your cameras, but you could invest in cameras that feature video recording capabilities as an alternative.
Motion sensors have all kinds of uses. Some of them are convenience-related—such as turning on motion-activated lights or cameras—but in this scenario, we’re talking about motion sensors that trigger some kind of security system escalation.
If you run an unattended facility or don’t have anyone on-site during the night hours, motion sensors that alert you to movement in your facility are crucial.
Regardless of what methods you choose to cover your facility when you’re not there, it’s important to match your choices to your market.
In markets with a higher likelihood of break-ins, more advanced surveillance methods may be appropriate to protect your self storage facility and bring peace of mind to customers.
You might not know it, but using more advanced security technology in some of your storage units is a win-win for you and your tenants.
That’s right—a more secure unit can create more revenue.
The reason for this is simple: there are always going to be people that will choose a more secure option for their precious or valuable property. Offering a storage unit with more security technology involved—whether that’s individual unit alarms, motion sensors in the unit, or even more advanced options like smart units—creates an opportunity to sell customers on a higher rate.
While you may not think that the majority of your market will prefer paying higher rates for more security in their storage unit, you can always offer the option on select units at higher rates via value pricing!
There are two main types of security to consider for your self storage units:
For most self storage operators and tenants, the lock is the biggest part of the storage unit’s security.
Tenants interface with the lock every time they visit their storage unit, so it’s a big opportunity to create a better customer experience with things like more secure locks or even convenient Bluetooth locks.
Some new lock technology, such as smart locks, take it a step further with advanced security technology. There are locks that are accessed via a mobile app, allowing for the sharing (and revoking) of access to anyone the tenant wants without making copies of keys or having to change codes when they don’t want to share access any longer. There are even locks that incorporate cameras, letting you see who is at your storage unit’s door!
For operators, it’s also important to keep up to date with what the most secure locks are in the industry from year to year. The best way to secure a storage unit is to keep someone from breaking into it in the first place!
There are also opportunities to leverage security technology inside your self storage units.
The most obvious and most common method is via individual storage unit alarms, but there are other methods that can enhance the unit’s security and improve the value of the security system for your tenants.
Some examples of this include:
Motion sensors and cameras are probably self-explanatory enough. Basically, they serve the same purpose as the cameras and motion sensors you use to secure your self storage facility.
You can choose to have these surveillance devices send their data to you and your self storage managers, or you can have them alert the tenant directly.
Smart units are a more advanced form of self storage security technology. Smart units leverage modern technology such as A.I. paired with other security measures mentioned here—like cameras and motion sensors—to create a more complete and connected security system for an individual unit.
Consumers are growing increasingly comfortable and familiar with the use of smart technology, and the use of smart units can be a major selling point in many markets.
Pug Pro Tip: Smart units or smart locks can give tenants the ultimate peace of mind with real-time alerts. Some software can even notify tenants—via text message or an app alert—when their storage unit is accessed, so they always know what is going on with their unit!
Technology is advancing every day, and there are even technologies that the self storage industry hasn’t adapted to yet.
Whether you’re looking to address the security systems for your entire self storage facility or just to make your units more secure and attractive, always look at what is new and consider whether it addresses your facility’s unique needs.
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