Gabfocus Session | Keeping Your Facility Secure

Keeping Your Facility Secure

A secure facility is one of the major benefits you can offer a tenant. Gates, cameras, lights, smart units - there is plenty of hardware and software to choose. In this session, we tackled the tools and technology as well as the processes and practices that operators are using to keep their facilities secure.

Featured Speakers: Scott Underbrink, Kristin Hesse, & Jim Comeaux
Moderators: Tommy NguyenMelissa Huff

Category: Operations
Focus: Owners & Operators
Aired: November 16, 2023
Duration: 1:14:35


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

  • At 6:00, our experts start discussing security fundamentals and basics, and what they consider requirements.
  • 10:40, Scott starts discussing recommendations for gates and perimeter fencing.
  • Starting at 16:40, Kristin kicked off the conversation about access control and what she recommends for it.
  • At 23:50, our guests talked about recommendations for cameras and lighting, along with which they consider most important.
  • 26:30, our experts started discussing the benefits of proper lighting and how it works as a deterrent.
  • Around 30:20, Kristin gives her opinion on camera and speaker combos.
  • At 34:30, our guests cover alarm recommendations, and they discuss whether individual unit alarms are useful.
  • 38:40, Kristin touches on processes that you can follow at your facility to keep it more secure.
  • 40:45, our guests give advice about how you can identify gaps in your security.
  • 44:10, our experts start discussing security upgrades, including smart locks.
  • At 50:40, our guests talk about the uses for AI and drones in facility security.
  • Starting at 55:55, Kristin discusses the importance of highlighting your security amenities online and on your website.
  • 1:06:30, our guest experts answer the question of the week!

Gabfocus Takeaway

When it comes to securing your storage facility, keep in mind your market and customer demographics to help you decide the basics you need along with any upgrades. Don't go cheap when installing your security amenities, and make sure that you hire a trusted vendor who knows the self storage industry to install your security features. Not every security upgrade will be right for your facility, so build the right puzzle that fits your needs and the needs of your customer. Upgrading your security not only helps protect your facility, but it also frees up your time and the time of your manager to focus on other important parts of your business.

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.

Gabfocus - logo - 2023


Questions Answered in this Session

  1. Which security features do you consider to be must-haves for every facility?
  2. What recommendations do you have for each must-have?
  3. What basic security processes or practices should operators use at their facility?
  4. How do you identify gaps in your security?
  5. How do the security requirements change based on the type of facility?
  6. What are some valuable security upgrades?
  7. What recommendations do you have for each upgrade?
  8. Which types of facilities may these upgrades be a good fit for?
  9. Which upgrades do you feel are the most valuable?
  10. How do security amenities or upgrades translate to added value?
  11. How do you promote/highlight your security features to potential customers?
  12. What is the single most important piece of security advice you would offer to an owner or operator?

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




Meet Your Speakers

Scott Underbrink

Scott Underbrink

Access Control Technologies

Kristin Hesse

Kristin Hesse

Self Storage IT

Jim Comeaux

Jim Comeaux

Self Storage IT


Got questions or comments for the panelists?

Our panelists will be happy to answer any questions you have. We hope you enjoyed this Gabfest Session. Talk soon!

We care about your privacy. Read our privacy policy to learn more.

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%.

Loved this? Share with a friend, manager, or operator who you think will enjoy this video.

Share your thoughts

Gabfocus - logo - 2023