Gabfocus Episode 49 Pt. 2 | Optimizing Your Day-to-Day Pt. 2

Gabfocus Episode 49 Pt. 2 | Optimizing Your Day-to-Day Pt. 2

So much business success comes down to the daily choices you and your team make. What do you prioritize? What's working? What needs to be better? In this part 2, we'll once again take a magnifying glass to the small tasks that make up managers' and operators' days and see how you can make them better.

Featured Speakers: Denise Bowley & Kevin Mullis
Moderators: Tommy NguyenMelissa Huff

Category: Operations
Focus: Owners, Operators & Managers
Aired: December 7, 2023
Duration: 1:20:05


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

  • At 3:50, our experts dig into the best ways to communicate with your tenants, staff, and leads.
  • 8:50, Kevin and Denise discussed how they handle the lien process along with ways to automate your auctions.
  • Starting at 12:50, Denise and Kevin covered pitfalls in the lien and auction process.
  • At 15:40, Denise touched on how to hire and manage vendors and contractors, along with how to evaluate their work. 
  • 21:45, our guests start to dig into best practices around rate management and how often you should do it.
  • Around 25:30, Denise notes how often they increase rates.
  • At 30:15, both experts cover how they handle competitor price comparisons and how they use that to inform their rates.
  • 33:55, Kevin and Denise touch on discounts, including the ones they are currently using at their businesses.
  • 42:50, Denise and Kevin discuss various reporting software they use to optimize their operations.
  • Starting around 50:30, both guests discuss tools they use for employee time tracking.
  • 53:30, Denise and Kevin talk about the steps they take when closing up each day to set themselves up for success the next day.
  • Starting at 1:03:51, Denise discusses competitors who seem to be offering extremely low web rates and why that may be the case.
  • At 1:07:40, our guests discuss lease-up times and target occupancies.
  • Finally, at 1:10:40, both guests answered the question of the week!


Gabfocus Takeaway

The success of your business often comes down to the day-to-day tasks and processes that your managers and other teammates handle each and every day. Finding each opportunity to optimize these processes can help you and your team become more efficient, which means there is more time for growth and taking care of your customers. There are so many vendors and tech out there that can help you do this, and you should evaluate each one to select the tools that best fit your business and the needs of your employees. Operations isn't a one-size-fits-all category, so the processes that suit your business best may differ from those in place at the competitor down the street.

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

Questions asked about each of the below topics:

  • How do you do it the right way?
  • What are the pitfalls?
  • How do you track it?
  • How do you improve it and grow?

Topics covered:

  1. Communications
  2. Liens
  3. Automation
  4. Vendor/Contractor management
  5. Rate management
  6. Discounts
  7. Reporting/Management software
  8. Closing up for the day

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




Meet Your Speakers

Denise Bowley

Denise Bowley

Self Storage Science

Kevin Mullis

Kevin Mullis

Bob White Self Storage


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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