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14 Mar 2023

Self-Storage Technology Trends


Anna Taylor

Live Oak Bank

Both technology and self-storage are thriving industries, so it is no surprise that tech is changing how we store and access our valuables. Technology makes accessing storage easier and increases security and peace of mind. From digital marketing to smart locks, the technological advances made in the past decade have enabled self-storage owners and operators to get in front of larger audiences and make their facilities more accessible. Below are some examples of how technology has evolved in the industry.

Today, having a location and posting signs isn’t enough to be noticed. The company winning business won’t necessarily be the building with the flashiest signs and biggest newspaper spreads; it will be the facility with the highly optimized website. Robust search engine optimization (SEO) allows tech-savvy companies to lead online advertising. Also, the ability to secure space online makes the decision to seal the deal easy, reducing a formerly stressful task to a few minutes with a search engine.

Additionally, some facilities have advanced software that allows customers to manage their self-storage facilities directly from mobile apps. Apps offer real-time control over a storage unit’s security and access. Security features are often the deciding factor for a customer. For example, some mobile apps give renters access to video surveillance feeds and the ability to lock and unlock doors. Granting easier access and peace of mind is vital to retaining customers.

Kiosks are becoming increasingly popular as well. Customers can visit a kiosk at any hour of the day. Using a touchscreen, they can choose a unit, sign the lease, purchase insurance and a lock, and go about their business. Monthly payments can also be accepted with a kiosk eliminating the need to accept and process checks. With a kiosk, a self-storage facility can operate continuously, always open to potential customers. The best kiosks have video surveillance to monitor activity 24-7.

Customers always have questions that a machine or website can’t answer. For these cases, kiosks include real-time voice and video connections with support call centers. Even with the added cost of surveillance and a call center, the expense of a kiosk is less than that of an actual employee, and constant availability makes them the perfect addition to any self-storage facility.

Good locks are essential to secure self-storage units. Many facilities operate with empty, unlocked units, resulting in unauthorized unit access or damaged or broken customer locks. Smart locks address many of these concerns. Replacing key-based locks with electronic keypads secures empty units without the management of spare keys and locks and enables monitoring. Electronic locks are less susceptible to damage or tampering and deter the average bolt-cutting criminal. Integrating kiosks and management software make daily physical patrols a thing of the past.

Tech trends make facility leasing, management and security much more efficient, and any owner or manager not capitalizing on these advances will soon find themselves left behind. As technology continues to evolve, self-storage owners and operators should make the necessary changes to be successful.

To learn more or to connect with a lender visit https://www.liveoakbank.com/self-storage/

Anna Taylor joined Live Oak Bank in 2013.

She was a dedicated Credit Officer for over a year before joining the Self-Storage team as a Loan Officer. With a background in credit and financial analysis, Anna is committed to helping clients navigate the loan application process. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Anna earned a degree in Advertising and also completed the Minor in Entrepreneurship Program.

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