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Gabfocus Session | Revitalizing Your Storage Business

Revitalizing Your Storage Business

Whether you've just bought or you've owned for a decade, there are always ways to improve your business. But what does it look like to give your business an overhaul? From branding to operations, from technology to HR, we heard from some savvy owners about how they are revitalizing their businesses.

Featured Speakers: Adam Steckler & Drew Pearson
Moderators: Tommy NguyenMelissa Huff

Category: Operations
Focus: Owners & Operators
Aired: April 27, 2023
Duration: 1:17:30


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

  • At 6:10, Adam and Drew start to talk about how they evaluate their businesses and which major areas they focus on.
  • 10:10, Adam discusses the KPI's they focus on to ensure a specific location is performing as it should be.
  • Starting at 12:45, Drew highlights how they are looking more closely at their lead to rental conversion and avoiding remote management.
  • At 15:00, our experts discuss the data they regularly look at, and Drew highlights which Sitelink reports they keep an eye on.
  • 22:20, Adam talks about how StorageMart is working to move from an internal CRM/PMS to a single 3rd party option.
  • Around 28:00, our experts start to discuss how they approach operations at their facilities, starting from the small tasks and working up.
  • At 32:15, Adam covers what drives their operational strategy, and he also highlights the importance of value-based pricing.
  • 35:30, Drew covers how he identifies things that are not working at his facilities, from the basics like lights and cameras to competitor monitoring.
  • Starting at 38:30, Drew covers the importance of having a streamlined website, especially when it comes to Millennial and Gen Z customers.
  • 41:00, Adam chats about how they try to keep tech onsite simple to make troubleshooting easier and how they've hired an ecommerce director.
  • Starting around 45:00, Drew covers how they try to hire the right people for their team by setting their company's core values and articulating them well.
  • 46:45, Adam discusses how they not only evaluate their team members but also retain them through recognition and making them part of solutions.
  • Starting at 51:00, our experts tackle a lightning round of questions.
  • At 1:09:15, each guest answers the Question of the Week.


Question of the Week

We asked our experts: What's the most overlooked area when storage owners are evaluating their business?

There is so much low-hanging fruit in rate management and value pricing. Thinking about your product differently allows you to drive more revenue in the long run." - Drew Pearson

"It's more like a mindset. Things that you did well or made better a year ago are easy to forget about and move on. Go back to the things you were doing well, revisit them, look at the process, and make it better. Try new things. It's okay to make mistakes." - Adam Steckler

Gabfocus Takeaway

When looking to make improvements at your business, there are many options for you to consider tackling. From your operations to your technology or your team, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start. Let data guide your decisions when you have it, and always keep the customer experience in mind! The changes you make should not only be good for your business, but they should also remove potential friction points from the customer experience. After all, retaining happy customers will only benefit your revenue in the long run. Make sure your foundations are solid, and focus on the simpler things before tackling those more complex improvements. Your solid foundation will keep your business steady, giving you the chance to drive your business forward even further with additional updates that differentiate you from your competition.

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 Affordable Storage Guys Management.

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. When evaluating your business or a particular facility, what are the major areas you look at?
  2. What kinds of reports do you run or data do you look for?
  3. How do you determine if a facility is mismanaged?
  4. How do you approach operations at your facilities?
  5. What drives your operational strategy?
  6. How do you tell what's working with your operations and what's not?
  7. Do you have a standard technology setup that you implement at every facility?
  8. How do you evaluate your team?
  9. How do you determine if you have the right people?
  10. Automated vs. manned?
  11. Digital vs. physical marketing?
  12. What are your secret weapons?
  13. What is the most overlooked area when storage owners are evaluating their businesses?

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




Meet Your Speakers

Adam Steckler

Adam Steckler


Website: https://www.storage-mart.com/
Email: adam.steckler@storage-mart.com
Drew Pearson

Drew Pearson

Pearson Partners

Website: https://www.pearsonpartnerspe.com/
Email: drew@pearsonpartnerspe.com

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!

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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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