COVID-19 has altered how we engage with others and conduct everyday activities that, pre-pandemic, hardly required a second thought. Now, even simple errands require strategy. Mask. Check. Hand sanitizer. Check. The six-feet rule and hand washing, hand washing, hand washing.
What does this mean for self storage? Some renters are likely wary of accessing their belongings for a while, especially if storing them in a multi-level, climate-controlled facility that involves touching elevator buttons and co-mingling in hallways or other shared areas with other renters.
In the age of contactless everything, self storage must also adapt to offer a contact-free experience.
Standard self storage was operating curbside before its time. Driving up to a storage unit, raising the door and unloading? all without having to maneuver a semi-public indoor space? provides both convenience and certain protective measures for customers and employees. There is no new normal here. In fact, standard self storage facilities already transacting through online technology didn’t need a global health crisis to reinvent themselves or navigate an uncharted remote business model. Social distancing, ease, and efficiency were already in place.
Technology, technology, technology
As with other industries, self storage relies on technology, now more than ever, to conduct business. When choosing where to store, look for these contactless amenities:
- Option to shop, rent, pay for units and move in online
- Mobile app for tenant communications and access history
- 24-hour controlled-access gate access from a smart device
- Drive-up access or smart entry access to unit doors
In addition to technology, many advantages come with choosing to store with a smaller, independent self storage facility. Often family-owned, these easily accessible business owners entertain more flexibility in how they engage with customers and can offer a more personalized experience than might be found with mega operations. During times like these, providing peace of mind is an essential part of business.
Tara Botkin-Longwell is the owner of Storage 4U, a family-owned and operated self-storage company with two locations and over 1,200 storage units and parking spaces in the San Antonio area. The Storage 4U team is committed to the wellness of the community through offering contact-free self storage.