Crime prevention and security measures are a hot topic in the self-storage industry. Thanks to popular reality TV shows, everyone believes each storage unit holds outrageous treasures like first-edition comic books or gold bars. That also seems to be the perception of those who might want to break into your storage.
Keep a Well-Maintained Facility
This is the first measure in crime prevention. Regardless of the location or class of facility you operate, it can always look well-maintained. If someone sprays graffiti on a fence, think of that in terms of the first “broken window.” If it’s not taken care of quickly, it’ll soon invite more damage and criminal activity. If your site is trash- and weed-free, sparkly clean, and has the appearance of a well-run property, it might give a would-be criminal enough hesitation to move on.
Invest in Security Hardware
Not only does it make good sense to have functional security features, it actually deters crime. Cameras, lighting and other security components tell others you care about your belongings, but it also sends a message that crime won’t be tolerated.
You also need to consider the type of lock you’re using on your unit. Many break-ins at storage facilities are committed by people who cut locks with bolt-cutters. The smart ones replace the padlocks so that a manager doing a walk-through doesn’t realize the lock has been replaced. Help yourself by having a quality lock to use on your unit.
Have reasonable gate hours. Most customers don’t need to access their unit at 2 a.m. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule; however, the majority of people will visit your property during the day or early evening. The key is to find the right balance between offering good customer service, such as extended hours, and protecting your property. Don’t limit your hours so much that it costs you business. On the other hand, wide-open hours could invite trouble. Exceptions can always be made for certain customers, but keep reasonable hours for the majority of your tenants.
Watch for Red Flags
Most customers are decent people. The unfortunate part is that some people use facilities for illegal activities. While it’s impossible to keep every criminally inclined person away, you can do things to minimize the possibility of renting a unit to a criminal.
If the facility is in a high-crime area, create a crime-free lease addendum. This addition to your agreement specifically includes details about illegal activities.
The best way to look for red flags is to simply talk to potential customers. Ask them questions such as why they need storage, where are they moving from and to, and how long they’ll need a unit. These should already be a part of your sales presentation. If they avoid your question or give you a sketchy response, they might be hiding something. These inquiries aren’t an invasion of their privacy, just good salesmanship.
Also, those who are considering any kind of illegal activity are usually not the best when it comes to paying the rental bill on time. If you suspect you have a potential criminal renting a unit, and he’s late, follow your state’s lien laws and evict him as soon as possible.
If you are looking for a cost-effective storage option, don’t overlook a storage unit from Mindful Workspaces & Storage. They provide key solutions to many business issues such as extra office space. And remember that storage containers do not require much to set up and are a great temporary alternative for businesses that require storage.