How and when to start your second facility?
Any business is initiated with the assumption that it will go on for a lifetime. This is otherwise referred to as the Going Concern concept in accountancy. This is applicable for any kind of business is it a storage facility or any other business. If you are a storage facility owner then maybe you are looking forward to expanding your business to make sure you can make multiple incomes and eventually keep all of them running for a long time.
Running a self-storage needs a considerable amount of investment in terms of time and energy. If you have managed to successfully create and run one and are looking to expand, then there is nothing better than that. This means you are about to put in enough money for its development and maintenance. Often owners consider the success of the first facility to be the winning factor to proceed to start a second storage unit. But there are many other factors to consider before deciding to create a second self-storage unit.
Location, The Basic Gauge
The need for a second storage unit should arise when you see that a place needs one. Demand is what you should be looking into. Conduct market research and see if the prospects are good in an area to start the second storage facility. You should first research which other areas are active and also if other competitors drive the storage facility. These trends can sometimes be applied to your own business to see how you track against the industry norms.
IT infrastructure - The Backbone of All
Unless you figure out the best IT solutions to run a second facility, you should not jump into it. Analyze if you have a strong CRM in place, necessary IT infrastructure to run your second unit seamlessly. Invoicing, online booking, and customer management all play an important role in this. However, if you take those extra steps to set these right, wait for the results and then plan for a second unit, then there is no limit to your exploration and expansion. IT is also essential to keep your customer records the right way.
With all the businesses going digital, it only makes more sense that a storage facility is also backed by the right amount of digital infrastructure. This also means a strong online presence. Gone are the days when people go in person or read magazines and newspapers to find information. Everything lies with just one click on the internet. So if you are planning for an expansion, you should make sure you have a strong digital presence as well, to back it up so the news can reach out to the target customers.
Your Feasibility As a Storage Facility Owner
Are you someone who wants to be present at your units or can you pull off your business just by staying in one place? In other words, do you want to be able to manage it from your current facility or be able to have a short drive to your other work area to make customer appointments and get other tasks done? Remote working could be a great choice if you find a potential area that is far off from your current facility location. Again, this calls in for a robust IT infrastructure. This would mean having the facility further away and using a good system to remotely manage and administrate the business.
Staffing, for the Right Business
Even if you plan to operate both your facilities by being there in person, there could be times when the facility demands staff to be on-site to get some tasks done. Some examples include facility maintenance, cleaning, and meeting customers on-site to assist with normal problems such as getting access to a storage room or storage container. These can often be frustrating for the customer if they don’t have somebody nearby to speak to. So, while setting up a new facility is indeed a great idea, you should be ready to sort this one before you proceed.
Going Digital, Playing the Market Game
Another important aspect to consider is, if your customer base is someone who wants to come in person and explore the facility before taking it or if they are people who want to know everything on the internet. For example, one main difference between the European and U.S. markets would be that Europe is not yet at the stage where they are totally comfortable doing everything online and the self-storage market is not yet that established that all the customers have a good understanding of what square meterage or cubic meterage means in terms of space and what is able to be stored in this space.
Based on similar experiences in the US, a lot more customers are willing and able to book online and not meet somebody at the site as it is a fairly common business in America and the idea of what can be stored away probably has a deeper understanding than the European markets do at this stage.
There is a lot of scope for storage facility units and before anything else, owners should consider the above-mentioned factors when they think of expansion.