How To Make 24/7 Access Safe

June 28, 2023

self storage 24/7 access safety
6 min

One of the hot self storage topics buzzing around right now is 24/7 access. Some people swear it has revolutionized their new rentals and revenue, while others claim they could never feel safe leaving things running without on-site management. 

Both have a point!

There isn’t one prescribed answer to every business, but for a lot of storage operators, 24/7 access can be a lucrative choice that makes your tenants even happier they store with you! 



Is 24/7 access right for your storage facility?

Well, for a lot of people, their answer is a resounding NO! 

And those people may be right. You know your town, city, or county best. Just because it works for most people doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you.

There’s some truth to that fear; according to Open Tech Alliance, a quarter of delinquent access attempts occur after hours. That’s a significant number!

An important question to ask yourself is this: will these attempts happen regardless? 

For a lot of people with drive-up units, delinquent tenants are going to try and get in after hours anyways. Does 24/7 gate access really make a difference for your facility? 

However, if security is your biggest concern, there’s a lot you can do to reduce the risk and up your profits!


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What security works best at a 24/7 facility?

Perimeter Fencing:

This may be obvious, but having perimeter fencing and gate access can be all it takes to deter someone. There’s always the risk of damage to your fencing, but that risk already exists whether you have 24/7 access or not. If someone can’t just pull up to the unit they want to break into, it’s no longer an easy target!

Of course, perimeter fencing and gates aren’t for everyone. For example, some facilities may be entirely indoors, which is common in urban markets, and there may be laws preventing fencing in the first place.

But! If you have drive-up units on your property, it could be a simple, lasting deterrent for thieves and delinquents. 

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Bright Lighting:

One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to make your facility secure during 24/7 access is to have the lights on! Bright lighting will deter thieves, especially if they know they’re being monitored. 

Make sure that your facility is bright across the whole facility, so there aren’t any shadows to lurk in. A well-lit facility can be even more of a deterrent than a fenced one!


Pug Pro Tip:  LED lights are recommended since they burn brighter and last much longer than traditional lights.


A surefire way to reduce crime in your facility is to add digital security cameras!

However many you need will completely vary depending on the size of your facility. However, you’re going to want to have views of every storage unit to really deter anyone looking to break in. 

The truth is, if you’re not already using digital security cameras, you’re going to have problems with crime with or without 24/7 access. 

This one’s a no-brainer!

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Sure, the cameras are intimidating, but so is the signage. Do you have an amazing security system? Show that off! Do you have HD digital cameras all over your facility? Then make sure people know it!

It’s a cheap, effective reminder to intruders that they will not get away with stealing from you and your tenants. 

In fact, according to Bankrate, a thief is 300% more likely to steal from somewhere that has no security system in place, so having visible signage can be all you need to send a message. 

Not only will this deter intruders, but it will help your tenants feel safer when they visit and more secure about their unit when they leave.

Pug Pro Tip: If your facility is fenced, make sure you have security signage at your gate. This makes intentional fence damage far less likely!


Keep your facility clean:

A clean facility is a cared-for facility, and a cared-for facility is one that’s being watched. 

If a thief had to choose between a pristine, clean facility or one with mattresses leaned up against walls and trash on the ground, they’re always going to choose the less-taken-care-of facility. 

If you have on-site management at your facility, make sure they’re doing trash pick-up on their routine walk-throughs. If you have an unmanned facility, it’s crucial to check regularly and make sure it looks clean and maintained. 

Does your facility pass the eye test?


One more thing that is worth keeping in mind, having private access to your facility can eliminate most of the risk by itself. For our outdoor facilities, this means having a gate with a keypad or digital access. A thief is going to have no more access at night than they would in the daytime. The same is true for indoor facilities; if they’re protected by secure entry, then only your tenants will have access.

All of these things are proven to be helpful in reducing crime, and they all help your tenants feel safe when they store with you. Beefing up your security is a no-brainer!

How to upgrade your security for 24/7 access:

  • Keep your storage units all within perimeter fencing or with keypad access
  • Make sure that all of your storage units are in bright lighting
  • Record what happens when you’re gone - digital cameras are a must!
  • Advertise how great your security is with signage
  • Keep your facility clean and well maintained


What’s in it for your tenants?

Having great lighting as well as some signage can be all a need for a tenant to feel safe at your facility after hours. 

These security features are all great for deterring thieves, but they also serve the purpose of making your tenants feel safer and at ease when they store with you.

Remember that security isn’t just more coverage for you, but also for your tenants. It’s crucial that they feel safe when they visit your facility!

A tenant who feels safe is a happy tenant, and a happy tenant is a tenant who stays!


Why is it worth it?

If things are going alright, why change anything?

Well, the simple answer is that people want it. According to the Self Storage Association Demand Study, 78% of tenants think that having 24/7 access is important, and even more incentivizing, 38% of tenants agreed that they would pay extra for all-day access. 

That’s over ⅓ of tenants willing to pay more to have access to their units when they need them.

We never recommend sudden, dramatic raises in your rates, but charging a little bit more for the convenience of 24/7 access can be the difference between a good year and a great year!

The bottom line is that people want the freedom to visit their belongings whenever they want to. 

It’s up to you to decide if that’s the right call for your facility, but don’t overlook the benefits!

Want to learn more about what tenants want from you? Here are some of my other favorite posts!

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