September 24, 2018

Lipstick on a Pig and Other Self-Storage Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

A little facelift on the ol’ self-storage facility can go a long way, but many locations are so outdated that a coat of paint won’t do the trick you think it will. There are a few renovation mistakes we see owners fall into when trying to update their facility. In no particular order, here are the things to avoid when planning a reno:

Lipstick on a Pig

Your facility is in shambles, the infrastructure needs to be updated, walls re-plastered, doors and locks updated, everything’s just a little tired. But you know, first impressions are the most impactful so let’s update the landscaping. We have seriously seen this before.

The idea here is the same as the saying ‘putting lipstick on a pig’, it’s easy to want to pretty up the first thing people see and ignore the core issue… your facility looks like a pig. So while you may not be as extreme as the picture we painted, don’t make the mistake of just refreshing the landscaping if there are core updates that need to take place.

A Pearl in the Ear

The facade of a facility is one of the most common items self-storage owners look to when planning a renovation. And while the Facade is definitely an important part of a revamp project and pulling your facility out of the 80s, you’ll end up with a pearl in a sow’s ear (sorry for another pig reference…) if that’s the only thing you focus on. When the facility looks modern but the inner workings aren’t, you’re essentially deceiving your potential tenants. Before you blow your whole budget on the facade, make sure you’re updating your computers, your software systems, and your security.

“If the Barn Door Needs Painting…”

Finally, one of (in our opinion) the worst renovation mistakes an owner can make is to paint the office and call it a day. Sure the barn door needs painting so paint it, but unless everything else got a refresh within the last 5 years, a coat of paint isn’t doing as many wonders as you think. Your manager will be happy not to be looking at last season’s ugly tan, but they’ll be wondering why it still takes them an hour to work through the outdated software just to get a tenant signed up.

The Whole Picture

Okay. I think we’ve driven our point home. Renovations may be done in phases and may take a long time to complete. But tenants will understand being ‘under construction’ as long as the safety of their property is assured during the renovations. They will often be glad to see positive changes. But if your renovation plan is oversimplified you’ll end up wasting money and creating more problems for yourself than you solve. Be holistic when you approach a renovation plan.

Chart out what is cosmetic, technologic, and core infrastructure. Then prioritize by what will have the most impact on your bottom line. If your market is saturated with millennials, perhaps updating the technology will impact the decision making of potential tenants more than a fresh coat of paint. Once you have your priorities in order add in the budget and factor how long it will take. Often there’s just enough room after upgrading your software to go ahead and paint that ‘barn door’ too!

Making the Best of it

One of the best upgrades you can do for your facility is to offer better vendor services. Software, security, and insurance are the first three hard-hitters. Switching from insurance to Tenant Property Protection is one way to ensure you hit all 3. Our program is compatible with industry software. We also partner with some security firms to provide a discount to owners on their certified facilities. See how else we can make a positive impact on your facility when you call our team!