Gabfocus Session | Keeping Up with Your Facility Pt. 2

Keeping Up with Your Facility Pt. 2

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 keeping a facility running smoothly and looking good.

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

Category: Operations
Focus: Owners, Operators & Managers
Aired: November 1, 2023
Duration: 1:06:20


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

  • At 4:00, our experts dug into the importance of having walls and fencing, along with the different types and options to choose from.
  • 6:20, Nigel discussed the different types of gates, along with how you choose the right one for your facility.
  • Starting at 11:00, Jackie covered how to regularly clean your walls, fences, and gates, along with important things to consider for cold weather.
  • At 13:25, our guests talked about the importance and timing of regular maintenance tasks.
  • 18:00, our experts started discussing what types of signage you can place on your gate or fences, including the info that should be on them.
  • Around 24:25, Nigel and Jackie discuss what regular landscaping you should be doing at your facility, along with tips to reduce costs.
  • At 28:30, Jackie covers dealing with oxidation and rust on your doors and walls, and how you should regularly maintain them to avoid this.
  • 32:05, our guests touched on regular cleanliness issues that often get missed by managers and owners.
  • 37:50, Jackie gives advice about curb appeal, and she digs into how important it is to capturing new customers.
  • Starting around 39:45, Nigel discusses what breaks the most at facilities, including what you should do to help them break less often.
  • 42:00, Nigel and Jackie discuss how doors and gates are the most expensive maintenance cost you should focus on.
  • At 46:40, our guests talk about the importance of documenting your maintenance so that you are able to protect warranties and help with liability.
  • Around 49:00, our experts discuss maintenance advice specific to RV & boat storage facilities.
  • At 52:00, both experts answer quick-fire questions in the lightning round.
  • Starting at 56:30, both guests answer the question of the week!

Gabfocus Takeaway

Regular maintenance and cleaning is incredibly important to keeping your facility running smoothly and looking good. Not only that, but regular maintenance can also help you avoid costly replacements of facility features like fencing, gates, and roofs. You should have your regular maintenance schedules broken into daily, monthly, quarterly, and yearly lists to ensure you aren't forgetting anything that could become an issue in the future. Having a clean, bright, well-maintained facility shows that you have pride in your business, and that builds customer trust and will drive people to rent at your facility.

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. What options are there for perimeter walls, fencing, or gates?
  2. Do you have suggestions for cleaning and maintaining these?
  3. Do you have any recommendations for gate signage?
  4. What regular improvements should you be making to your facility?
  5. What kind of regular cleaning or landscaping should you be doing?
  6. How do you handle oxidation on your doors or facility?
  7. What general cleaning tasks should you do daily or weekly?
  8. What are a couple of cleanliness issues that managers or operators may miss?
  9. What are the regular maintenance or preventative maintenance checkups operators should be doing?
  10. What breaks the most at facilities?
  11. What do operators forget to check up on?
  12. What are the most expensive maintenance costs operators overlook?
  13. Which regular maintenance task can save you the most money in the long run?
  14. What's the biggest "bang for your buck" when trying to upgrade your facility?

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




Meet Your Speakers

Jackie Belau

Jackie Belau

Everbrite Coatings

Nigel Kreft

Nigel Kreft

Storage Structures


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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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