The degree of automation in the self-storage industry varies a lot. From facilities with a guard with a heavy key chain to those where robots pick your boxes for you – the range is wide. Most facilities today have some degree of automation, with only a few being fully automated. Automation for self-storage has many benefits which justify the required investment in the technology. Here are examples of why partially or fully automating your self-storage facility will help your business.
Automation takes over many repetitive tasks that otherwise you would employ a human to do by handing them over to a cloud-based system. Automated facilities have lower staffing costs and lower office footprints. You can access the management software and the security software from any location and device – as long as you have a stable internet connection.
Booking and signing
Modern solutions for self-storage management come with front-end tools that make it easy for the user to manage their individual units. It starts with booking and signing the lease. Many self-storage websites have either 3D models or virtual tours of their facility to help the customer decide. They have calculators to estimate the required space and other options to guide the potential customer through the selection process without human intervention. When the customer chooses, they can select an empty unit, the lease period, book, pay, and even digitally sign the lease. A very convenient and effortless process that can be completed from a PC, tablet, or smartphone.
Every business sends emails, and they can take up much time. Self-storage management software like Storeganise lets you create email templates and even set them up to deliver automatically
- Invoice – the most commonly sent email will be an invoice. The system can generate the invoice automatically and send it at a pre-set date
- Invoice reminders or payment reminders – sometimes emails get lost or overlooked. Invoice reminders will go to customers if there is no reaction from them
- Confirmation emails – move-ins, move-outs, cancelations, and many other actions require confirmation emails to let the customer know that their request is logged successfully. Instead of writing one every time, outsource this menial task to the system.
Most customers pay with credit cards. After the system sends an invoice, it will automatically charge the customer’s credit card. When there is an issue with the payment, it can send an email with a billing reminder. If you use smart locks in your facility, the system can lock out a customer until they pay the outstanding amount – all of it without any intervention from your side. As a business, this means a significantly reduced credit risk.
A bonus: import the billing and invoicing history into your bookkeeping software to save time on the most unloved part of every business – accounting and taxation.
Partially or fully automated facilities usually offer 24/7 access, usually through key cards or electronic locks. This is an added convenience feature, and you can monetize it by offering it for a fee to those who will require it and are willing to pay for it. For facilities that already work with electric locks, it means extra revenue at almost no additional cost. Don’t leave profits on the table.
Cloud-based and user-friendly
Modern solutions come with a friendly user interface for both the front-end and back-end. Your customers will experience an intuitive program that lets them manage their unit with a few simple clicks from their smartphone or computer. You have a sophisticated system that can manage every aspect of your facility with an intuitive interface on the back-end. It will reduce human error and lower training and onboarding costs for your staff. As an extra benefit – it will be a pleasure to work with.
Full automation is not the perfect solution for every facility, but partial automation is. Hand over all the repetitive tasks to the machine and focus on the human element of the business. Machines can’t do this (yet).