May 07, 2020

Self-Storage Facilities: An Action Plan for Property Maintenance

Self-storage facility owners wear many hats: sales rep, marketer, rental agent, accountant. With so many high-level responsibilities, it’s easy to lose sight of regular facility maintenance. But an improperly maintained property can make a negative impression on existing (and potential) self-storage customersnot to mention impact safety that could lead to potential insurance claims. 

By putting a maintenance action plan into place, owners and managers of self-storage facilities can prevent minor problems from escalating into major issues. Employ our Action 10 Plan below as part of your regular site maintenance: 

  1. Conduct a cleanliness check of your self-storage facility, both inside and out. Walk the perimeter of the property, check parking lots, entry areas, interior hallways. Remove debris left behind by tenants in common hallways or by trash bins that could become trip hazards. 
  2. Look for evidence of pests. Check ceiling insulation for holes or look for droppings on the floor, as well as scraps of food, insulation, or paper that could indicate rodent nesting. Since rodents can chew through tenant belongings and cause all sorts of damage, consult a pest-control vendor as soon as you see signs of rodent activity 
  3. Conduct a lock check to make sure each tenant storage unit is secured with a lock. If you find an unlocked unit, check your software management system to see if the tenant has moved out. If not, secure the unit with your own lock to prevent theft, then contact the tenant immediately. It’s also good practice to recommend tenant insurance.  
  4. Install appropriate lighting. Maintain facility lighting outside, over keypads, in hallways, over signagethen regularly check that the lights are in working order to maintain proper visibility and security. Don’t forget to test emergency lights and keep records on file to comply with any town or city ordinances.
  5. Examine the roof of your self-storage facility. Ensure that roof panels haven’t come loose or fallen off due to temperature extremes or other factors. Make sure leaves and other debris aren’t clogging gutters and downspouts. Inspect ceilings on the inside of the facility for stains, sagging, or discolorations that could indicate roof leaks or a build-up of condensation.  
  6. Check security gates and fences. Make sure gates open and close correctly, lubricate gears and chain parts as needed, and test gate codes regularly. Gates and fences reflect overall facility security, so it’s important to maintain these features as a customer selling point. 
  7. Inspect pedestrian walkways, like sidewalks, stairs, and curbs. Seal any cracks and fix loose or crumbling concrete. Make sure to paint security striping where curbs dip down to driveways or walkways to prevent falls and trips.  
  8. Refresh paint as needed. Look at your self-storage facility like a potential customer would. Are the interior and exterior walls a little dingy? Are the words or numbers on your signs faded and hard to read? A fresh coat of paint could do wonders in attracting new customers, not to mention improve directional flow.  
  9. Conduct landscape maintenance. If your facility uses an inground sprinkler system, check the sprinkler heads to make sure they’re aimed away from keypads and areas where customers will be walking. Keep bushes trimmed so they don’t encroach into buildings, fences, or walkways. Trim any dead wood from trees to prevent branches from snapping off or falling. 
  10. Inspect your camera security system. Wipe and inspect video cameras to ensure their view is unobstructed and that they’re aimed appropriately. Store security footage in a cloud-based system to prevent loss of data, which is especially helpful should footage need to be retrieved for potential liability claims. 

When you adhere to a regular maintenance schedule for your self-storage facility, you’ll be able to pinpoint problems as they happen—and correct them in their path. Our Action 10 Plan is a great place to start to help ensure your property is safe, uncluttered, and set up for success.  

To keep your facility properly insured, turn to ProSight for self-storage insurance that caters to the industry’s unique general liability and property needs. Our expert claims team also acts as your biggest ally in an environment that brings people and property together.

Nicole Roa 
Value Creation Executive