Guide To Unmanned Self Storage Facilities
If was want to find a silver lining from the recent Pandemic, one is that it accelerated the development of innovative solutions across a lot of different industries, including Self Storage. In some markets, Self Storage was considered an “essential business”, meaning that sites had to find a way for their customers to gain access and rent spaces. While the tech existed, it became essential to keep the doors open.
Unmanned Self Storage sites offer several advantages over traditional Self Storage facilities. Here are some of the most significant advantages:
- Lower costs: Unmanned Self Storage sites typically have lower overhead costs since they don’t need to hire as many staff members. This can result in lower rental rates for customers.
- Increased accessibility: Some unmanned Self Storage sites are accessible 24/7 and customers can access their belongings whenever they need them. This is especially convenient for people who work long hours or have irregular schedules.
- Improved security: Unmanned Self Storage sites use advanced security systems, such as video surveillance, cloud based access control systems, and alarms, providing a higher level of security for customers’ belongings.
- More flexibility: Unmanned Self Storage sites often offer more flexibility in terms of rental periods and unit sizes. This can be especially beneficial for customers who need to store items for shorter periods or who require smaller or larger storage units.
- Contactless rentals: In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, unmanned Self Storage sites have become even more attractive due to their contactless rental processes. Customers can rent a unit and access their belongings without ever needing to interact with staff members or touch shared surfaces.
Overall, unmanned Self Storage sites offer several benefits that make them an excellent choice for people who need a secure and accessible storage solution at an affordable price.
What technology do I need?
The internet was the financial saviour of Self Storage during the Pandemic. Those sites without automated tech really suffered. To be ready for the next major challenge, going unmanned is a great insurance policy against such societal impacts.
The core technology that you will need to go unmanned is:
- A robust Facility Management Software (FMS)
- An online rental and move in process
- A way for customers to self service when on site (such as a self service mobile phone app)
Facility Management Sofware for Unmanned Facilities
Your site will need to use a cloud based FMS. Since 2007 SiteLink Web Edition has been the Facility Management Software of choice by more than 95% of Self Storage groups in Australia. Used globally, SiteLink Web Edition is used in more than 15,000 sites world wide. This is the software that manages spaces, rates and communication and billing with customers.
The Sitelink International team have done a lot of work in the unmanned facility space. To see more detail on how they approach unmanned facilities check out their unmanned page here.
The Online Rental Process
Online Self Storage rentals work similarly to traditional Self Storage rentals, but with the added convenience of being able to complete the rental process entirely online. The unmanned Self Storage site uses the online rental process to rent space without staff on site to complete this process.
Here are the typical steps involved:
- Choose a Storage unit: You can browse available units on the storage facility’s website and select the one that best meets your needs in terms of size and location. RapidStor can be tailored to show suitable spaces to your potential customers. Rapidstor communicates with Sitelink to show real time space availability.
- Rent the space: Once you’ve found the space you want, you can reserve it or rent it online by providing some basic information, such as your name, contact details, and preferred move-in date.
- Provide payment: You’ll need to provide payment information to secure the move in. Facilities offer the option to pay online using a credit or debit card.
- Sign the Storage agreement: You’ll typically need to sign a Storage agreement before you can move in. This may be done electronically, with the facility emailing you a copy of the lease for you to sign digitally.
- Move in once you’ve completed the online rental process.
Customer Self Service Application
Now that the customer has been able to do an online move in they will need to access your facility and their unit. For this the leading solution in market is StorApp. Some facilities use individual unit locking technology to unlock the unit using a code provided via StorApp. There are also some using new technology for locks like Noke which can integrate with Storapp to open via bluetooth.
The StorApp mobile phone application also allows you to manage your account and make payments online (in the app), making it easy to stay on top of your storage needs without ever having to visit the facility in person.
Going unmanned is a great choice for many self storage facilities. It can save time, money and future proof your business to protect against whatever the next, crazy world changing event happens to be.
The technology used to deliver the entire end to end process is mature, well tested and is affordable for new entrants to the industry.
Unmanned Self Storage sites are not new. In regional areas they are commonplace and work well. Unmanned technology has been adopted in earnest across the world. For example, StorApp is in everyday use in Europe, Asia and Australia.
Self Storage customers are tech savvy and with the complete rollout of the NBN and Starlink, sites even in remote areas can offer full site automation, with electronic access and security combined with online rentals and cloud based facility management software. All for well less than a third of the cost of a staff member.
Ask us how unmanned tech for your Self Storage Site can improve your bottom line HERE.