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12 Jun 2023

Moving and Storage | Using Technology to Streamline Move-In and Out


Greta Tasedan

Union Realtime

Moving & Storage Units | Using Technology to Streamline the Move-In & Move-Out Process

Moving is a complex process that many people avoid if at all possible. Motivation for moving is a hard concept to nail down - surveys include a grab bag of reasonable motivations including proximity to family, work, cost of living and even looking for more complementary political environments.

For the purposes of the self storage industry, motivation for the move isn’t a primary concern - storage facility owners and operators should be focusing on the move-in/move-out process in a more granular way. Ask yourself, how can I help my customers move into or out of my storage facility faster and more efficiently?

Why is the Move-In & Move-Out Process Important for Storage Facilities?

By the numbers, 42% of renters said they used a storage unit while switching homes, while 34% of all movers used self storage as a stopgap during the move. The move in and out process is critical to customer satisfaction because it is NOT the first or last step of the moving process. Let me explain. Your customer started their move by making a decision to relocate based on some personal element of their life - divorce, promotion, downsizing, etc. The list goes on and on.

As a storage facility owner, you are responsible for a brief yet critical part of the customer moving process - ideally you will provide a stress-free (think “automated self storage”) for customers who are likely more preoccupied with the price of moving trucks or their child’s school start date in a new area. Any roadblock you throw up at this point in the move will be a big one - be it an actual roadblock restricting the movement of a customer truck or van, or a gate code that won’t work - forcing many owners and operators to carefully consider how to streamline their part of the process using technology.

Tips for How to Help Customers Move-In & Move-Out Effortlessly

Delving into the “move-in” process, there are many ways you can use technology to automate the process of moving into (or out of) your facility.

Online Rental Agreements -

There is tons of important information contained within each rental agreement, including (but not limited to) a description of the unit, length of lease, promotional period, payment due date, tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities and cancellation terms. Allowing customers to sign a rental agreement online not only automates the self storage process for customers and owners, it also ensures that all vital information that the customer might need in the future is always accessible.

Merchandising & Management -

Using technology to offer credit card or auto-pay options for customers is a great way to ensure that their move-in and move-out is quick and easy. 39% of customers use bank or biller auto-pay to ensure that their bills are paid on time, meaning customers will not be surprised by unexpected charges or delinquencies that may hinder their moving and storage plans.

Moving & Storage: Final Thoughts

When moving into a storage facility you need very specific information including unit number and location, gate code or key code for unit doors, hours of operation, contact information for business owners, rules and regulations…you get it. Using a property management platform will give customers one clear source of information, freeing up your on-site staff to focus on day-to-day operations over Q&A with confused or lost customers.

Merchandising & Management -

Moving and storage requires a lot of moving parts, and taking the pressure off the mover by offering moving merchandise is a great way to ensure that customers have everything they need, and your facility gets the chance to upsell retail goods like boxes, locks, cleaning supplies and packing materials.

More Lines of Communication -

As an owner or manager, you know that customers will always have questions. Using technology to provide automatic response, either through direct message with your facility supervisor, or even AI, is a great way to stay in touch with your customers in their time of need. The more options for communication you provide, the less excuses customers will have for not knowing rules and regulations governing your facility and their tenantship in it.

Moving & Storage: Final Thoughts

Did you know that most physicians connected to more than one medical malpractice incident all shared similar characteristics? Patients sue doctors who don’t communicate openly, aren’t responsive and available and those who show little empathy.

Applying this truth to the Self Storage lens, we can see how important it is to your self storage facility to be more open, communicative and empathetic to the needs of customers. We chose this business because it offered a high ROI with little overhead - the customer process is an important element of this overhead that is often overlooked. Using technology to streamline your move-in and move-out process is a great way of ensuring that your customers both start and finish their relationship with you and your facility on the best foot possible.

For more information on how to use technology to automate your self storage facility move-in and move-out process, and every process in-between, check out our ManageSpace community. We are building the self storage industry's most comprehensive property management technology and we want to know how you (as an owner, operator or general self-storage guru) would use our technology to see your space differently!

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