In order to ensure that your self storage business is prepared to provide the kind of quality service that your customers expect, you need to have a firm budget established that can keep your finances running smoothly – with revenues and expenses clearly spelled out.
You’ll establish your budget by first surmising how much revenue you anticipate bringing in. These numbers are often based on the prior year’s income. Revenue source examples for your self storage business include rental and late fees, tenant insurance plans, and the sale of packing supplies (boxes, tape, cushioning materials) to further boost profits and make storage more convenient for your customers.
There are several expenses you’ve probably thought to include already. Among the most prevalent of these is employee payroll, which will include Workman’s Comp, payroll taxes, and service fees in addition to manager and employee salary or hourly wages. Another expense is utilities, including water and electricity.
However, there are four specific line items that should be included in a self storage business budget that you may be overlooking:
- Funds for Maintenance
It’s important to keep your facility in good repair. A poorly maintained facility could very likely cause customers to take their business elsewhere. Be sure to at least include the following:
- Pest control
Professional pest control services are important for most businesses that serve the public, but your circumstances are unique. You have little control over what your tenants will store in your units, and you won’t be monitoring their possessions directly.
- Lawn maintenance
A well-kept, green expanse shows that you take pride in your facility.
- Office building and storage unit maintenance and upkeep
Self storage facilities require ongoing cleaning, maintenance, and repair just as other buildings do. Failure to manage that upkeep can result in tenants’ possessions being damaged or stolen.
- Snow shoveling and plowing
This is a necessity if you do business in cold climates. Shoveling and plowing gives tenants easy access to their units.
- Parking lot upkeep and repair
- Pest control
- Funds for Staff Training
One frequently overlooked way to prevent loss and increase revenues is having a well-trained manager. Invest in sending your manager(s) to staff training, or bring a trainer in to provide this guidance. In addition, consider using some of these funds to create a comprehensive training manual for staff and employees to refer to when necessary.
- A Marketing Budget
In order to attract new customers and to keep growing your self storage business and revenues, you need to invest in effective forms of marketing. Why? Because today’s customers are savvy, and most are also well-versed in the use of the Internet to shop, find, and compare self storage resources and locations. To reach these customers, you’ll need:
- A useful, optimized website so that customers can find you when they do a Google search for self storage services
- A presence on popular social media outlets (i.e. Facebook)
- The ability to send targeted, customized flyers or ads regarding specials and updates for current and prospective customers to opt into
- Preparatory Planning to Expand with a Portable Storage Option
A great way to expand your business in the new year is to add mobile or portable storage solutions to your traditional onsite (drive-up or indoor) self storage method. Portable storage solutions are a great way to gradually or strategically increase your income revenue streams without having the onsite expenditures of additional property, landscaping, construction, or utilities.
As you prepare and review your expenses this year, take a look at your budget and make sure you’re prepared to service your customers well and make the most of new opportunities ahead.