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July 19, 2022
Sign here, please!
Whether your self storage rental agreement is sparklingly new or old enough to be a part of the Stranger Things set, it doesn’t do you any good if your tenants haven’t signed it.
With laws constantly changing, rates constantly changing, and the services provided constantly changing, your rental agreement will need to change to keep up. On top of that, you need to renew the lease every year (or whenever the term of the original lease ends)!
But how do you get your customers to sign the new lease without having to waste time chasing them around?
Here at StoragePug, we’re always preaching about creating a great customer experience. That extends beyond being polite and prompt - it means making life easier for your customer instead of harder.
Any time you have to demand your customers’ attention, you need to be careful. Just like you, your customers are busy and have a dozen things they’d rather be dealing with than a lease renewal. You still need their signature though; so, how do we bridge the gap?
You should be updating your self storage rental agreement every few years for multiple reasons. Laws change frequently, so the terms of your rental agreement may not be valid after something has changed - or you might be missing out on a better way to do things. Your state self storage association is lobbying the local lawmakers to make operating your business easier. When they succeed, you can change the specifics of your lien policy, for example.
You may also want to consolidate all your leases in a new system; for example, taking all your paper leases online. While it is possible to scan your old lease into a database, it does not work the same way as getting an electronically signed lease.
If you’ve just purchased an existing self storage facility, you’ll need to get your tenants to sign a new lease with you, as the old one won’t be valid.
Depending on your location, rate increases will not necessarily require a new lease to be signed. If your existing self storage rental agreement provides for regular rate increases, you may not need a new lease every time you raise rates. You will need to let the tenants know about the rate increases, which can be aided by our self storage rate increase letter.
When you do need to get a signature on a new lease, try to make it as convenient for your customer as possible. That means make it fast, make it simple, and do it on their time, if at all possible.
Of course, doing this online covers all those bases. If your Property Management Software is compatible with online lease signing, you should definitely take advantage of it. If your PMS doesn’t cover that, you might want to consider adding the service through another software.
Everything you can do to make your customers' lives easier will reflect well on your business!
Online signing enables the customer to sign the lease whenever they have free time and on whichever device they happen to have with them. This is significantly less disruptive than requiring them to come by the facility when they otherwise wouldn’t and is much easier than mailing them a paper lease and having them mail it back.
If you can’t do it online, try to plan far enough ahead that your customers aren’t inconvenienced by the change. If you have the new lease ready months before the deadline, then you can ask every tenant to sign whenever they’re on the premises anyways.
If none of these options work for you and you do need to request your customers come by, try to make it as pleasant an experience as possible. Consider giving a discount on a month’s rent, as if they were new tenants!
One of the unfortunate realities of creating a self storage rental agreement is that very few of your tenants will read the entire thing. Hard to blame them, given the dense legalese we’re presented with every day, but it does mean you’ll still have some outstanding info to communicate.
After all, the best result for your business is that you never need to go to court.
You don’t want to have to enforce any piece of your rental agreement with legal help. If your customers understand what they’re agreeing to, there’s a better chance everyone can just follow the agreement and get along.
This means you need to communicate the terms of your agreement to your tenant clearly. If there are only a few small changes to the existing lease (or if you just need it renewed), be very clear about that.
If there are changes, highlight them for your tenants.
Consider a bulleted list of important terms or, if you have the means, a graphic that highlights the most vital pieces of information. Be clear that the highlights do not replace the legal text of the lease.
Make lease signings easy for your customer - of course. But you also need to make lease signings as easy for you as you can.
Managing your time is vitally important for any small business owner. Self storage operators have a thousand tasks waiting for their attention, and any time you can save with automation is worth money to your business.
There are steps in getting a lease signed that can be automated, especially if you’re using an online signature system. Even if you don’t use online signing technology, you can use your Property Management Software to automate sending notices and information to your customers.
Automate reminder emails or text messages to help keep your customers on track with the new lease signings. Think through the process your customer will go through and remove any unnecessary steps.
Convenience is worth more than expensive amenities. Check out our list of the most valuable self storage amenities to see what your customers are looking for in a self storage facility!
Focus your efforts on making your business more efficient for your customer and for yourself. Any time you can save with automation and efficiency will multiply every day, which then enables you to spend more time creating a great experience for your customers!
For more ways to optimize your self storage operation, check out these links: