Over the last 10 years or so, urban self storage has changed dramatically, in several different ways. Driving all of the changes are the needs of the typical self storage customer, particularly the needs for convenience and for service. Abacus has been constant in its efforts over that time period to meet those changing needs, both in changes to its operations and in making relevant and necessary capital expenditures.
First, new self storage properties are now located near high density population areas. Self storage users are often cramped for time, and they do not want to drive more than 10 to 15 minutes to get to their storage unit. Minimizing distance to the storage unit is also important in order to avoid traffic, and also to minimize the cost of driving as much as possible. Finally, for those customers who need regular access to their unit, a nearby location that is convenient is important.
Secondly, the typical self storage customer is looking for better quality and cleaner self storage units, and for owner/operators who are careful about the management of their storage buildings and properties. While different self storage customers look for different things, the typical customer wants to be certain that their goods will be safe from any kind of loss or damage while in storage. Typical questions that customers ask are about security, temperature control, pest control, and so on. If a typical customer decides to visit a facility to see what they might be getting, it is because they want to see for themselves whether the storage units and access areas like corridors and elevators are clean and well cared for.
Thirdly, the typical self storage customer now wants to enjoy the benefit of a very high level of customer service, which includes staff in the self storage facility who are knowledgeable and attentive, and who care about the customer experience that is being delivered. The typical customer is also interested in the range of services that the facility offers. For instance, is insurance available? What about boxes, packing materials, etc. Can they arrange for deliveries to their storage unit if they are unable to be there when a delivery is made to them, care of the storage company?
In conclusion, the typical and informed self storage customer has, in the last 10 years, become much more aware of the differences amongst self storage facilities and operators, and is not willing to put their goods in just any self storage facility. Customers now want to feel comfortable that they have made the right choice in a facility, and that their belongings will be safe and secure while they are in storage, and that their belongings will be in the same condition as when they were put in storage.