Contrary to popular belief there are actually a lot of choices available to you when choosing a self-storage business. Of course, there are different brands and names but these often come with a variety of different sizes, packages and options that you can choose from, all with their own pros and cons so we've decided to make it simple for you. Of course, we would love for you to choose Smart Self Storage and our services but more importantly we want you to make the right choice and get the services you want to find your perfect solution. Here are the pros and cons of each type of facility for a comprehensive look at what you are choosing.
Big Publicly Traded Companies
These are the big brands and household names that you have probably all heard of.
Accountability – With big names comes big responsibility and this means that if you have any issues there is someone to take it to. There is a head office that can be held accountable and a recognizable chain of command to deal with. For many customers, this puts them at ease knowing that the face behind the facility is more tangible.
Luxury Packages – Higher budgets and state of the art facilities often mean that you can be offered services and spaces that go above and beyond, only accessible to big budget facilities. Improved technology can give you more peace of mind in where your belongings are stored.
Slow Responses – Because of their sheer size and usually the political aspects that go along with having a corporate side and head office, getting things done has to go through the proper channels. This means that requests can fall through the cracks, be forgotten about or take forever to fulfill.
Impersonal – You are just one of many customers and sometimes it can feel as though you don't matter. The impersonal approach works for some who may want to be left to their own devices but for those storing personal items, the personal connection helps to evoke trust and this can be lacking in big companies.
Inflexible – Unfortunately there are usually policies and procedures in place for everything which means you are less likely to get any personalization, discounts or exclusive offers that are tailored to you. Big names are unlikely to deviate with processes and packages, usually because of the sheer size of their customer base.
This is the category that we at Smart Self Storage fall into and form a happy medium between the corporate and independent facility categories.
Community Orientated – These operators are small enough to want to form a relationship with its customer base and local area but also big enough to have the budget to be able to help. Aside from community initiatives they care about the people they serve and also have the resources to do it.
Scaled Processes – Having the process and scale of larger brands, a mid-sized facility can give you peace of mind as they still have tangible businesses but are also more accessible and requests are less likely to get "lost in the system."
Cost-Effective – Because many operators in this category are slightly more flexible, you can often get the best value for money in this range. This, in part, is because they have the available budget and resources to cater your needs but the smaller scale to want to keep you happy.
Access Restrictions – It can be difficult to find facilities that have around the clock access, simply because it is more costly and doesn't make business sense for mid-sized facilities.
Limited Locations – You may have your favorite mid-sized brand but the facility is a little further out than you like. This is because they have to be more careful with funds and resources so cannot easily expand and you may have to travel or have limited location options to suit you.
Mom and Pop Facilities
Okay, this isn't an official term but this stands for all the small, independent facilities that serve communities in a local or smaller scale as these shouldn't be discounted just because of their lack of size.
Personal Approach – The likelihood is that with such small facilities they won't have many customers and that means that you will get to know each other very quickly and are likely to form a connection or relationship.
Flexibility – As you are probably one of few clients it means that you will probably be afforded more flexibility such as exclusive discounts and rates, special or double containers if they are empty and great customer service. Plus, they are likely to deal with any issues quickly because they won't be juggling a lot of requests or having to deal with a corporate head office.
Easy to Trust – As you are more likely to get to know your facility staff, managers and owners personally you are able to trust them quickly because you will see them all the time and develop a relationship. For those with sentimental valued items this can be more comforting to know that your belongings are in the hands of people you know personally.
Limited Resources – Being on the smaller scale it means that you could be missing out on key services simply because they don't have the space, financing or capabilities to give you what you need.
Lack of Accountability – Where you can hold larger brands accountable, you can't do this with smaller businesses and often it can be difficult to follow up with a complaint or grievance because there is no protocol to follow.
As you can see, in the world of storage you are spoiled for choice but there is always a brand or facility to suit you and your needs. It is important to find the best solution and making informed decisions on the advantages and disadvantages of certain brand types can be an excellent first step. No matter whether or not you choose us, we hope you find the right one for you.
About the Author: Lark Begin is the president of Profit Parrot Marketing; an SEO marketing, content and social media company in the Ottawa area. Lark is well established in the realm of digital marketing and is dedicated to helping multiple professional local and international websites and brands grow an online presence and succeed.