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Tracking Your Competition [Self Storage]

November 1, 2022

Magnifying Glass Looking at a File
5 min

Welcome to the best self storage facility in town!

We all claim to be the best, but are we really?

Of course, we are. Anyone hanging out with the Pug is probably the coolest kid on the block. But to stay that way, we have to keep an eye on the competition!

In this blog, we’ll talk about what you need to be watching in your neighborhood, as well as tools that can make analyzing and understanding all that data easier.

Self storage operators need to watch their competitors' rates, amenities, specials, and their occupancy - it can quickly get overwhelming. Automated tools and self storage software can make it simple!

Gathering Information on the Competition

There are many ways to get information about your competition - just like you, they want their information to reach the public! You should be able to gather the most useful information from their website, and if there’s anything else you need, you can just call and ask.

I wouldn’t introduce myself as “the competition,” but if you ask about pricing and availability, you’re likely to get an answer.

So, what information do you need? What can help you, and what’s just noise?

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First, you’ve got to determine which businesses are your actual competitors, and which are not. Self storage is a hyper-local business. Depending on how dense your location is, your competitors may be those within 5 miles of your business or they may be those within 50 miles.

Many popular property management softwares offer the capacity to create a map of your customers - if you can find this and compare it with a map of your potential competitors, you’ll see where your renters are coming from and whom they might rent with instead.

Once you’ve picked out your closest competition, start writing things down! Or, typing things up. Your choice.

Useful Information About the Competition:

  • Rental Rates 
    • This one’s easy. How much are your competitors charging for their self storage units? Knowing their prices lets you adjust your own, if necessary.
  • Amenities
    • What are your competitors offering? Do they have climate control, RV parking, or private mailboxes? You don’t need to copy them or beat them, but you do need to know what they’re selling.
  • Specials and Deals
    • What sort of discounts are your competitors offering? These will be the things your Google ads are going up against. 
  • Occupancy
    • If their website shows you available units, you can try to calculate their total occupancy. If they’re totally full (or close to it), that’s helpful information! If they’re nearly empty, that’s helpful too. 

There’s a lot more information out there to gather. ISS has an in-depth article that covers many other facets of information you could try to compile. These four tracks will get you started tracking your competition, and if you want to go deeper, you can do so in areas that are most relevant to your particular business.

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What Do I Do With the Information?

Once you’ve gathered information about your closest competitors (which may be two facilities or it may be ten), and committed this information to a spreadsheet or other documentation, you’ll have a great place to go when you’re trying to decide what to do next.

One popular approach to utilizing your brand-new competition information is to use a SWOT analysis.

This acronym stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This approach doesn’t have any secret tricks or formulas that will tell you what to do, but it is a useful way to organize the information you’ve gathered.

Strengths - Where are you significantly better than your opposition? Are your prices lower, are your units better, is your website more user-friendly?

Weaknesses - Where do your competitors surpass you? Have they been in the market longer, and thus have better brand recognition? Are they offering amenities that you aren’t? 

After you’ve written these down, you can extend them a bit further by brainstorming your Opportunities and Threats.

Opportunities - Try to find places you might be able to grow, expand, or improve to take advantage of your competition’s weaknesses. Look for places your business is weak, but could easily become stronger. For example, if your competitors are all offering a 10% discount when you sign a year lease, you could easily do the same and shore up that weakness.

Threats - Then look in the other direction. Where might your competition gain ground on you? Which of your weaknesses could they exploit? Which of your strengths could they overtake? This will help you know what parts of your business to keep an eye on - and what to watch out for from the competition.

Ideally, the SWOT analysis gives you a framework through which to understand the landscape of the competition. You’ll see which aspects of your business could easily be improved, and which you’ll just have to work around - and the same for your competitors.

Now that you know what to look for, how can you make watching easier?

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Tracking the Competition with Self Storage Software

Some property management softwares, including SiteLink, have tools you can use to keep an eye on your competition! 

SiteLink's Competitor Tracking page gives you a premade sheet to track information on, including rates, amenities, fees, requirements, and such. It can also show your competitors on the same map that tracks your customers, which can help you see which geographical areas you need to be focused on.

Want to up your game with the latest software? Learn more about software with  our Self Storage Software Playbook.

To save yourself even more time, you can use Stortrack, which will automatically pull storage unit information from your competitors. With a subscription fee, Stortrack can integrate with your SiteLink and keep track of unit rates in your area, among other things.

Good self storage software can free you up to tackle other tasks. Check out StoragePug’s Self Storage Software Playbook to learn how to get the most value out of your software!

Dive deeper into automating your facility with these helpful articles:

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.

Get the inside scoop on Self Storage Software!

Download StoragePug's Self Storage Software Playbook here!

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