We Know It’s Halloween, but Don’t Let Your Self Storage Facility Look Like a Haunted House
Did you ever drive up to a property that looked like a scene from The Legend of Hell House? My guess is that you kept right on driving…to an attractive property with a well-tended look. A potential customer will connect the way your property looks to the way you do business: second-class customer service, substandard maintenance, and inadequate security. If your property is neat and well-maintained, a prospect will feel comfortable leaving their belongings in one of your units. Be honest. Does your facility look like Freddy Kreuger’s choice for self storage? If so, it’s time to think about a renovation.
Renovations to update a rundown storage property can be anything from a minor facelift involving some fresh paint and new shrubbery to a major demolition and reconstruction project. More customers than you realize are sensitive to their surroundings and don’t want to store their belongings in an old, scary-looking building. Your property can boast a state-of-the-art security system, the most knowledgeable staff in the industry, and the lowest prices available; but, if it looks like a haunted house, the only beings attracted to it will want to store brooms and body parts.
Self-storage is a competitive industry. Revenue management, customer service, and a compelling website are critical to your success, but if you can’t get anybody to come into your store because of a bad first impression, the other things won’t matter. You need to keep up appearances for a couple of reasons.
- People are attracted to the way a property looks from the street. It’s called curb appeal. You may be in denial about this; but, if I have a choice between an aesthetically appealing property and a place that resembles the town dump, all things being equal, I’ll take curb appeal any day. It makes me feel secure.
- The current market is trending away from “industrial” and moving toward “retail.” Some of the older facilities are built low to the ground, of materials that were functional years ago, but are not aging gracefully. They need to be transformed into a sleek, modern “retail feel” structure.
According to Valli Architectural Group, self storage renovations typically fall into four categories: structural demolition and reconstruction, facade renovation, painting, and landscaping.
Tear it Down and Rebuild – When your building is old and outdated, but sits on an optimal commercial location that can’t be duplicated because of the politics of land development, the best option is demolition and reconstruction. These older facilities are often very limited in space and height and too unattractive to create an updated look. Building a taller, high-quality facility that can adequately convey an modernized look is the goal.
Renovate the Facade – If you can work with the size and shape of your structure, but the building presents an outdated and weather worn look, the best and most economical option may be to refresh the facade. Stucco, concrete block, and wood siding that were common years ago, make your building look old and dreary. You can strip off the old surface and and add a completely new look, or you can apply new state-of-the-art finishes over existing materials. This can go a long way in modernizing your facility.
Refresh with Paint – A newer building with an outdated look can be brought up to date with fresh paint in vibrant colors. New paint can cover unsightly staining caused by water runoff and airborne dust. Even if there is no obvious deterioration, repainting in bold, bright colors with a high-quality, water-resistant paint will refresh the look of your property. Choose your brand colors and avoid dull tan, beige or brown. Using multiple colors, separated by wall offsets, adds even more interest to a paint-only renovation.
Renew the Landscaping – Pulling the weeds every other year is not enough. Don’t depend only on a facility refurbishing to attract potential customers. The otherwise satisfactory appearance of a building can be greatly diminished by landscaping that looks like it was done by a herd of goats. Just like buildings, plants and shrubs should be replaced or upgraded periodically. Dead or dying grass and ground cover makes your property look neglected. Overgrown trees should be pruned regularly or replaced so that they don’t block important visual features of your building design. Pots of colorful, seasonal flowers look cheerful and add to the curb appeal
Updating your facility makes financial sense because you need that curb appeal to attract people. Your property may be the perfect fit for countless prospects until they drive by and see a rundown building and careless landscaping. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Don’t be left behind because your competitor has a modern, sleek, updated facility two blocks away. Get moving on that renovation!