Portable storage containers seem to be everywhere.
You are driving down the street noticing containers in neighbors driveways, outside of the local coffee shop, driving alongside on the back of a delivery truck.
This daily occurrence is so frequent that one thing seems sure: it is time to start a portable self storage operation.
Regular self storage has been around for decades, and portable storage seems like it’s shaking everything up.
Customers seem to like the convenience, the cost, and the flexibility of portable storage.
Whether starting fresh or expanding your existing storage facility, here are some tips. There are some things to know before you open up shop.
Operations is an ambiguous term, but there are some specific things to keep in mind.
- Who answers phones?
Is it your existing front desk worker, is it you, should you find one?
If you’re adding portable to an existing facility and already have a receptionist then have you adequately trained them on new options and procedures?
- Who checks emails?
Again, this depends on your existing operations, if there are any.
If you’re starting new, it’s probably on you to prioritize and disseminate information.
- What happens when a customer is ready to buy?
Can they rent one online, or do they need to speak to someone over the phone?
Considering that many businesses continue to prefer faxing in forms, it is highly recommended making online renting and payments available. This preference will be a modern solution to streamline procedures.
- How do you accept payments?
Do you accept checks, or are you just a cash and credit card kind of place?
Do you have a processing vendor in place so that you can accept payment immediately?
- What are delivery days, times, and radius?
Even though you’re bringing the product to them, you need to have set business hours.
It would help if you also considered how far out you’re willing to drive for drop-off and to pick-up and communicate that clearly in advance.
Keep in mind that this type of business model requires a lot more day to day management. With a portable storage business, the bigger the operation size then, the more laborers are needed for the on-the-ground work for pick-ups and deliveries.
Know What The Website Says and Promises
This concept is a big one.
You don’t want any inconsistencies or misunderstandings, so make sure you’re communicating the specifics of what you offer on the website.
To reiterate the importance of communication, any promises or options you offer should be known to all staff members.
An example, If you only drive a 30-mile radius then an employee shouldn’t promise that a pick-up is available for someone that’s out of that range. Furthermore, your website shouldn’t say a distance of 40 miles is possible if 30 miles is the maximum.
Make sure that all of your information is consistent across platforms as well.
These days a website, a Facebook, and Google Maps for your business can seem like the bare minimum, but you’ll run into problems if customers find conflicting information.
It can seem obvious, but it’s not as simple as one set price! You have to consider container sizes, short term versus long term rentals, and drop off and pick-up costs.
Having a transparent way to discuss costs and offer the best service at the best price will help smooth out most transactions.
Know Advantages Over Competitors
There are several different types of portable storage models.
It is knowing exactly how to categorize your business and then comparing what you do better or worse than similar competitors will give the insight to improve.
First, there are portable storage rental companies that drop off a container and then retrieve the packed container to take it and store at the companies site.
There it remains like a traditional storage unit, except that the owners can’t access their container and its contents until it is requested for a final delivery drop off.
Second, there are portable storage rental companies that act like moving truck services. They drop off a container for a short period while the user fills it up, then they transport it to the new location to be unloaded.
This method can be an excellent option for moving but lacks the convenience of long-term storage.
Finally, some companies drop off the container on the customer’s site for the long-term. This placement can be subject to zoning restrictions, but this storage available on your property to have a working studio or efficient storage indefinitely may be worth it.
Businesses make use of the final method in the case where their operating space is small. A portable container can be placed easily accessible on site to house inventory, or even a temporary office.
There are also other ways to stand out: do competitors lack a great website or online portal payment system?
Then make sure to have these capabilities on your website.
Notice what similar competitors offer and do for their clients then benchmark their efforts. Contemplate how your storage business can be enhanced by improving their efforts for yourself.
Know The Basics
The final piece is pretty simple but crucial. Make sure you know the basics of how and when customers can reach you:
- physical address
- business email
- hours of operation
- business phone number
The final step to this is making sure it’s all consistent everywhere, and you’re good to go!
Starting up a business is never easy, whether it’s from scratch or as an extension of your existing business. Let these considerations act as a checklist to better prepare for the day you open the doors of service for your portable self storage enterprise.
For more self storage articles, take a look at:
- Self Storage Websites that are Fast, Modern, and StoragePug-Managed
- Expanding into Portable Storage
- So You Want to Rent Portable Storage Units: Your Quick-Reference Guide