Spotlight on: Store Ur Stuff, Adelaide

Developed under the roof of a vacant warehouse, Store Ur Stuff is centrally located approximately 5km south-west of the Adelaide CBD. It is well positioned on a corner block of a major arterial road and side street, providing customers with flexible entry and exit points. Green, white and black were selected as bold corporate colours and the whole building was painted green to provide a very strong street presence. The facility of 112 ground floor individual lock up steel units was operational from February 2013.

Initial financial analysis indicated the opportunity for a strong return on investment by developing the site as a self storage facility, as well as reducing the risk associated with the alternative option of leasing the property to a single tenant. Early consideration was given to joining an established self storage brand, but the decision was made to develop an independent business, Store Ur Stuff.

Despite the fact that the owners and managers of the facility had no prior experience in the industry, they greatly enjoyed the challenges associated with building a start-up business. “We were impressed by the collaborative nature of the industry, and the strong support provided by the Self Storage Association” says facility manager Jodie Byrne, whose previous experience in the hospitality industry stood her in good stead. Whilst undertaking feasibility analysis, they quickly learnt that self storage is much more than just “unlocking the doors and handing out keys”.

Due to significant occupancy at the end of 2013 Store Ur Stuff converted a number of units to accommodate customer demand, and went on to expand the facility in March 2014 to include a mezzanine level with a goods lift and 46 additional units. A key success factor to the Store Ur Stuff team was to quickly develop customers’ confidence and trust. As a result their business plan focused on customer service, quality policies and procedures and ensuring staff and the facility were well presented.

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Store Ur Stuff aim to set themselves apart through:

Consistency:
• All new customers are subject to a stringent sign up process and no customer is allowed to move in without completing this
• Staff are friendly and helpful at all times
• Lock outs for overdue accounts

Keep Learning:
• Regular competitor analysis to benchmark service and price, plus identify opportunities to develop points of difference
• Staff and owners attend regular training and networking events
• Ensure they get the most out of software by working closely with the provider
• Undertake cost/benefit analysis of all marketing initiatives prior to implementation to ensure they present good value/opportunity

Offer support services such as:
• Mail and parcel collection
• On demand offices, meeting room and training room on site
• Assist with all move-in needs

Measure, measure, measure!
• Track the number and source of enquiries received
• Track website traffic and internet searches
• Monitor occupancy on a weekly basis and review this measure as both number of units and square meterage

Target Marketing:
• One size does not fit all. Identify a target market and develop marketing initiatives to suit – domestic or commercial; short-term v long-term storers
• Passing by is a key source of customer enquiries. Ensure the site is well presented at all times as a great first impression is essential.
• Strong focus on maximizing their online presence.
• Using strategic relationship management as an effective customer engagement tool. The manager seeks out suitable businesses, and personally calls on them to make introductions (Aged Care Facilities; Real Estate Agents)

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Stand Out For the Right Reasons:
• Generous standard access hours (6am-8pm 7 days a week).
• Price competitive, but do not consider discounting as a long-term strategy to grow business
• Electronic gates with pin code entry
• 24 hours recorded CCTV surveillance with all footage displayed on the visible TV screens in reception area
• Alarmed security monitoring
• Motion sensor and electronic lighting
• Regular audits of the facility including lock integrity checks
• Online booking system
• Merchandise for sale in store and online

The Store Ur Stuff team recognize that “self storage is a ‘grudge’ buy for customers, so we want to make each and every customer experience a positive one”.

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