How Self Storage Technology Is Streamlining Operations

Self storage technology, including management software, smart systems, and kiosks, automates operations, boosts efficiency, and improves customer experience by handling tasks like rentals, payments, and security.

Self Storage Technology

As a self storage facility owner, you want your operations to run smoothly so your customers are satisfied. But managing it all—the gates, the cameras, climate control , bookings etc.—can get overwhelming… 

What if there was a way to reduce the burden of routine tasks on yourself and your staff by automating most processes? New self storage technology is doing just that for facilities like yours. In this article, we’ll look at the different types of self storage technology being adopted across the industry and how they can significantly boost your business’s efficiency.

What Is Self Storage Technology?

Self storage technology refers to software and systems designed specifically for self storage businesses. These technologies handle essential functions like renting units, billing self storage customers, and managing facilities. Self storage technology exist in many forms, from basic management software to high-tech smart storage systems and kiosks. 

Management Software

The most common type of self storage tech is management software. Platforms like Storeganise help self storage owners manage day-to-day operations, allowing them to conveniently view auto-generated data reports.  self storage management software You can use management software to list available units, sign rental agreements, bill tenants, and keep track of payments. You can also utilise a variable rate management tool to dynamically adjust rates on your website for specific situations. 

Smart Systems

Some self storage businesses opt for smart storage systems with high-tech features like electronic gate access, security cameras, and unit sensors. These systems provide 24/7 unit access for tenants while also boosting security. They automatically monitor units for signs of damage (e.g.,water damage ) or unauthorised access and can even control functions like lighting, heating, and door locks remotely. 

Self Storage Kiosks

Self storage self-service kiosks are another popular technology that allow tenants to rent units, make payments, and access facilities without interacting with staff. A self service kiosk provides a convenient service option for customers while freeing up employees to focus on other tasks. They’re ideal for self storage locations with limited space or staff. 

Automated storage units can help streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve the customer experience at your new or existing facilities. The increased efficiency and automation provided by these technologies may be just what you need to gain a competitive edge. In fact, most renters will appreciate facilities that make moving their stuff in and out of storage units a breeze. Keep reading as we delve deeper into some common self storage loading and off-loading automation systems that you can utilise on-site. 

Types of Self Storage Loading and Offloading Automation Systems

While many tasks go into managing a self storage facility, loading and offloading items are the most labour-intensive. Thankfully, self storage automation can help you cut labour costs and improve customer experience, leading to a more efficient operation. 

Here are some popular self storage automation systems that are essential for unmanned facilities:

  1. Crane-based mini-load AS/RS

  2. Vertical buffer modules (VBMs)

  3. Robotic shuttles 

1. Crane-Based Mini-Load AS/RS

This towering technology uses cranes to automatically store and retrieve containers from racks up to 100 feet high. The automated storage & retrieval system (AS/RS) lifts the containers and slides them into place, maximising vertical space. For high-volume self storage businesses, these systems can significantly boost throughput while reducing labour costs. The downside is that they require a major upfront investment and ample ceiling height and storage space. 

2. Vertical Buffer Modules (VBMs)

VBMs are modular shelving units with built-in lifts that automatically raise and lower stacks of containers. Operators simply enter the container number into a control panel, and the system delivers the container in under a minute. VBMs don’t require as much space as crane-based systems but can still achieve high throughput. They do require level floors and high weight-bearing capacity, though. 

3. Robotic Shuttles

Robotic shuttle systems—such as the GoBots employed by Storefriendly —use automated carts that travel on tracks to retrieve and store containers. The carts lift and move containers from one rack to another, sorting and sequencing them automatically. Robotic shuttles provide flexible, scalable automation at a lower cost than crane-based systems but typically have lower throughput. They can navigate tight spaces, however, and don’t require much ceiling height. 

Self storage loading and offloading automation comes in many forms, from towering cranes to nimble robots. Implementing these technologies offers several benefits for self storage operators, as we’ll observe below. 

Benefits of an Automated Self Storage System for Operators

An automated self storage business is a great way for storage operators to increase their bottomline. For example, it eliminates the need to staff an expensive call centre dedicated to handling customer service and rentals. An automated system can handle many of these tasks, reducing costs and freeing up your time. 

Automated Self Storage System

Here are the key advantages of having automation self storage technology in place:

  1. Increased revenue generation

  2. Lower operating costs

  3. Improved customer service 

1. Increased Revenue Generation

With an automated sales flow, customers can quickly rent units and complete payments on their schedules. This convenience often leads to higher occupancy rates and more rentals, which translates into more revenue for you. Automated upselling and upgrade prompts can also encourage customers to rent larger, higher-value units. 

2. Lower Operating Costs

One of the biggest benefits of self storage automation is eliminating the need for a call centre and its associated staffing costs. Automated phone menus, online account access, and kiosks give customers self-service options so they can handle tasks themselves. You’ll only need a small team to oversee the automation systems and provide on-site support. 

3. Improved Customer Service

Automated self storage systems also improve customer experience. Customers today expect efficient, on-demand service, and automation delivers just that. With self storage software like Storeganise offering online rentals, bill payment, and access to account details 24/7, customers have a convenient, frictionless experience. Those who still want personal service can get help from your staff during business hours. 

By embracing automated technology in your self storage business, you’ll increase your operational efficiency, boost your bottom line, and improve your customers’ experience. While the upfront costs of new systems may seem daunting, the long-term rewards to your business can be substantial. In the next section, we will consider how you can choose the right solution for your business. 

How to Choose the Right Automated Self Storage Solution

The process of selecting a suitable self storage technology  from the variety of options available can feel overwhelming. However, by assessing your key needs and priorities upfront, you can narrow down the choices to find a solution tailored to your business. 

Choose the Right Automated Self Storage Solution

Consider the following tips for guidance during your search:

  1. Determine your must-haves.

  2. Compare offerings.

  3. Get guidance.

  4. Start with the basics. 

1. Determine your must-haves.

Think about what inefficiencies you want to solve or what areas you want to optimise. Maybe you need a solution to handle online rentals and payments. Or perhaps you’re looking to improve how you manage your storage units and track occupancy. Create a list of your must-have features to help evaluate options. 

2. Compare offerings.

Not all technology is created equal, so it’s important to do some research on leading self storage solutions to compare what they offer. Look at things like available features, accessibility, customer service, security, and scalability. See what packages and price points may suit your needs. While cost is a factor, don’t just go for the cheapest option — look for a solution that will provide the most value to your business in the long run. 

3. Get guidance.

Once you’ve explored some options, reach out to a few companies that interest you. Let them know what features and functionality are most important so they can determine how their technology may be a good fit. Ask them to walk you through how their software works and what type of support and guidance they provide. The right technology partner will take the time to understand your needs and offer recommendations tailored to your operation. 

4. Start with the basics.

The key is not to feel overwhelmed by all the advanced features and options available. Focus first on solutions that handle the basics well — things like online rentals, payments, facility maps, storage unit management, and reporting. You can then opt for additional capabilities over time as needed to boost efficiency and optimise your business. The right self storage technology will help you do more with less, simplifying and streamlining processes so you can focus on growth. 

Conclusion

Self storage technology can supercharge your business in several ways. By automating mundane tasks like rent collection and inventory tracking, it frees up time for your team to focus on customer service. Also, remote monitoring and access control provide security and convenience 24/7.

Self storage software like Storeganise is a great way to transform user experience — it offers renters the convenience of booking and paying online, among other awesome features. The software makes your business more appealing while giving you the convenience of effective inventory and customer management.

The bottom line? Self storage tech transforms your business from an analogue facility to one centred on customer experience. Embrace innovation, empower your staff, and watch efficiency and profits climb with your fully automated self storage facility. Your customers will love the high-tech experience, and you’ll enjoy the accompanying low-stress management. Try Storeganise today! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the disadvantages of self storage units?

Owning a facility in the self storage industry comes with challenges, such as:

  • the time investment in finding quality staff,
  • navigating tricky location choices,
  • facing stiff competition with no guaranteed occupancy,
  • managing inevitable tenant issues, and
  • incurring costs for necessary security measures.

These cons require careful consideration when planning your self storage journey.

Is self storage still a good investment?

Self storage remains a great investment, known for generating passive income with low risk and notable performance stability during economic downturns. The profitability of self storage mainly hinges on the net rental income, which is the amount left after covering any mortgage costs, if present.

How does self storage investing work?

Self storage investing involves putting funds into storage facilities and earning returns through rental income from the units. This real estate investment caters to both individual customers and small to medium-sized businesses, offering a diversified client base and potential for stable income streams.