Gabfocus Episode 52 | Understanding Data & Reports

Gabfocus Episode 52 | Understanding Data & Reports

From move-ins and occupancy to conversion rates and marketing channels, your business produces a lot of data. It's hard to know what numbers to keep track of and, even more importantly, how those reports turn into actionable strategies. Join us as we break down the numbers behind every facility!

Featured Speakers: Alyssa Quill, Cherolyn Johnson Chiang, & Jeremy Rollwitz
Moderators: Tommy NguyenMelissa Huff

Category: Operations
Focus: Owners & Operators
Aired: September 21, 2023
Duration: 1:13:11


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

  • At 05:25, our experts the types of data you should track at your facility.
  • 6:30, Alyssa discussed the lead funnel report and its importance.
  • Starting at 7:40, Cherolyn and Alyssa discussed the tools they use to track and review data.
  • At 10:25, our guests talked about what they think the most important reports are.
  • 15:30, our experts started discussing how to turn data into action.
  • Around 16:50, Alyssa talks about the actual goals of reporting and how to present data.
  • At 22:30, our guests cover what data to use in order to make pricing decisions.
  • 27:40, Alyssa and Jeremy touch on operational data and how to use it. Hint: close rates may be the most important!
  • 33:45, our guests give tips on marketing data.
  • 39:40, panelists answer an audience question about red-flag data points.
  • At 43:35, our guests talk about using financial reports to drive new strategies.
  • Starting at 45:45, Alyssa discusses how SAM recently determined their average length of stay on move-outs has gone up.
  • Around 47:30, Alyssa explains how to determine the lifetime value of a customer.
  • Starting at 56:00, our guests give advice on measuring the success of your plans.
  • 57:40, panelists discussed how to hold teams accountable.
  • At 1:00:00, we started a live Q&A session with questions from the audience! Topics included call centers, unit size preferences, lease-up expectations, and more.


Gabfocus Takeaway

Data is important to your self storage business. But data without context or action doesn't equate to much. To get the most value out of the data, you need to track it over longer periods of time to see the actual trends. Some data may require immediate action and is worth tracking on a daily or weekly basis if it could lead to a significant loss, but other data only means anything when taken from monthly, quarterly, or year-over-year perspectives. Find the right tool to track your data based on the size of your business and the resources available to you. Oh, and don't think you're going to lease your storage facility up in a year—the current estimates are looking closer to 36 months for a lease-up period!

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 are the different types of facility data that you should track?
  2. Which tools or platforms would you recommend for tracking and reviewing your data reporting?
  3. Which data should you be keeping up with at your facility?
  4. Which reports do you consider the most important?
  5. Which reports do you consider the least important?
  6. How do you present information to the rest of your team?
  7. What tips do you have for making reports more digestible?
  8. How do you identify data trends?
  9. What operational data do you focus on, and how do you use it?
  10. What sales and marketing data do you track, and how do you use it?
  11. How can you use financial reports to drive new strategies?
  12. How can you use data or reports to review the success of your marketing strategies?
  13. How do you gauge the success of your new plans?
  14. How do you know if a strategy is failing?
  15. How can you put together a testing strategy?
  16. What KPI's can you set to track your progress?
  17. How do you hold your team or organization accountable?
  18. How do you store and organize all this data?
  19. What external reports do you keep an eye on?
  20. What industry reports do you use to inform business decisions?
  21. How do you find more industry-specific data to compare your business to?
  22. What is the most important data you should use to gauge your business health and why?

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




Meet Your Speakers

Alyssa Quill

Alyssa Quill

Storage Asset Management

Cherolyn Johnson Chiang

Cherolyn Johnson Chiang

The Jenkins Organization


Jeremy Rollwitz

The Jenkins Organization


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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