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Gabfocus Session | Keeping Up with Your Facility

Keeping Up with Your Facility

Even with more and more technology, your facility is still physical. Maintenance, cleaning, repairs, and upgrades - how do you keep up with it all? From fences and doors to roofs and hardware, join our experts as they share their insights and best practices on the nuts and bolts of running facilities.

Featured Speakers: Jackie Belau & Nigel Kreft
Moderators: Tommy NguyenMelissa Huff

Category: Operations
Focus: Owners, Operators & Managers
Aired: July 27, 2023
Duration: 1:11:47


If you don't have time to watch the whole session, here are some of our favorite parts:

  • At 6:35, our experts dug into the different types of storage doors available.
  • 10:20, Jackie discussed how to care for your doors to maintain their warranty.
  • Starting at 12:20, Nigel and Jackie covered different lock options, including smart locks.
  • At 15:00, our guests talked about the pitfalls of different locks, including smart locks.
  • 19:15, our experts started discussing how to handle cutting off different types of locks.
  • Around 22:00, Nigel notes how you can protect your roof warranty by properly maintaining it.
  • At 24:30, Jackie covers when you can restore your doors versus having to replace the entire door.
  • 29:20, Nigel touches on how to handle degrading insulation.
  • 32:45, Jackie gives advice on cleaning and maintaining the doors of occupied units.
  • Starting around 35:40, Jackie discusses how to clean and maintain your interior doors.
  • 39:25, Nigel and Jackie discuss facility signage, the types of it, and what needs to be on it.
  • At 42:30, our guests talk about the importance of curb appeal to your storage business and how to upkeep it.
  • Around 48:45, our experts discuss the biggest blindspots when it comes to the presentation of a facility.
  • At 52:55, both experts talked about asset management programs to help upkeep a portfolio of facilities.
  • Starting at 58:15, Jackie gave advice on how often you should be cleaning your exterior and interior.
  • 1:00:10, Nigel discusses options for supplying metal replacement parts.
  • Around 1:02:40, our guests talk about cleaning and maintaining a roof in humid weather.
  • At 1:04:00, our experts cover the best way to deal with dusty walls and doors.


Gabfocus Takeaway

Your storage facility is an investment, so you need to care for it just like any other investment. This means making sure that everything from the doors, to the walls, to the sign,  to the landscaping is well-maintained and cared for. Storage customers usually choose a facility based on what's most convenient for them, so you want to make sure that your facility has curb appeal to catch the eyes of all those potential customers that drive past each day. A clean, brightly lit, and well-maintained facility feels welcoming and secure to potential customers, and taking a magnifying glass to the small details and maintenance of your facility really helps convert customers before they even know that they are in need of storage. Your facility is a reflection of yourself, so make sure that reflection is properly cared for!

What are Gabfocus Sessions?

Gabfocus Sessions are virtual workshops for self storage owners, managers, and operators. Brought to you by the team behind Gabfest: StoragePug and Lighthouse Storage Solutions.

Each session features hand-picked industry pros who will dive deep into relevant topics surrounding our industry, share best practices, and explore trends in the market. It's our hope that these sessions help you navigate your self storage business better during these uncertain times.

Want to learn more about self storage? Join us on select Thursdays for Gabfocus.

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Questions Answered in this Session

  1. Are there different types of storage doors?
  2. Best locks and locking mechanisms?
  3. What are the different storage options for walls, siding, and roofs?
  4. What are the biggest pitfalls when caring for your doors and roof?
  5. What are the different types of signs?
  6. How important is your sign?
  7. What are the biggest industry blindspots when it comes to the presentation of their facility?
  8. What regular improvements should you be making to your facility?
  9. What kind of regular cleaning or landscaping should you be doing?
  10. What are the regular maintenance or preventative maintenance operators should be doing?
  11. What are some asset management programs you can use across a portfolio?
  12. When cleaning a unit, what do you do?
  13. How often should you clean the exterior of your facility and doors?
  14. How often should you clean your interior?
  15. How difficult is it to replace dented metal panels?
  16. What can you clean roofs with in humid climates to fight mold?
  17. How do you deal with dusty walls and doors?

Live Poll Results: What tools are most important to provide to your employees?




Meet Your Speakers

Jackie Belau

Jackie Belau

Everbrite Coatings

Website: https://www.everbritecoatings.com/
Email: jackie@everbritecoatings.com
Nigel Kreft

Nigel Kreft

Storage Structures

Website: https://storagestructuresinc.com/
Email: nigel@storagestructuresinc.com

Got questions or comments for the panelists?

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Resources from this session

Awesome Quotes

“Once your operation is in place, you can become more dynamic with your pricing, but that requires data. You need some method of being able to record the data that you need to know whether your price is in the right place - whether you need to move it up or start giving some concessions.” - Warren Lieberman
“I never want to downplay to what someone else is doing. I'm better than they are, then I'm going to be worth a higher price. That's what value is. If you go out to a restaurant and get really good service, would you go back? Yes! What if it was pricier? You'd still go back because you got better service and a better product.” - Jim Mooney
"It's good to be informed on your competition. I don't want to ignore them, but I don't want to respond too strongly to them either." - Warren Lieberman
"We did a survey of 10,000 facilities on their pricing. We found out that two-thirds of those operators didn't change the price of a single unit of the course of a month." - Warren Lieberman
“Rate increases and value pricing are the number one ways to grow your revenue.” - Jim Mooney
"Tenants in more convenient units tend to be less price sensitive." - Warren Lieberman
"The size of the unit is only one aspect of what people are willing to pay for." - Warren Lieberman


Foundational marketing strategies to have in place - whether leasing up or stabilized:

  • Website
  • Set up listings (Yelp, Google My Business, Apple Maps)
  • Social Media
  • Establish Local Partnerships

Lease up marketing strategies:

  • Lead Generating Strategies (like digital ads)
  • Aggregators (Sparefoot, Storagefront, etc.)
  • Awareness Campaigns (like billboards, flyers, and sponsorships)

Your average customer value
Find the average stay length of all tenants. Next take your economic occupancy and divide by how many units you have. That will tell you what the average customer pays.

Multiply the average length of stay by what the average customer pays, and that's the average value of a customer.

For example, if a customer stays for 12 months and pays $100 per month, then their value is $1,200.

Your average lead value

Figure out your closing rate (or conversion rate) i.e. how many leads do you turn into tenants? Multiply that by your average customer lifetime value to figure out what your leads are worth. 

Pro Tip: see which lead sources are converting the best. It may be that certain sources have a higher conversion rate, so those leads are worth more to you than a source that barely converts.

Typical Lease-up timeline

According to our panelists, it's typical to see a 3-4% increase each month, putting your facility at 36% after the first year, and 72% after the second.

Alternately, you can look at your lease up goals through the lens of your units, aiming for 20 units rented per month.

For Nick and StorageMax, they pro forma their economic occupancy at 85% with their sweet spot at 92%.

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