Why do I help others build and or market their self storage?

Just yesterday I was on a conference call to the mid west giving a hand to a new developer.  At the end of an hour conversation he asked whats in it for my – why did I just give and hour of my time.  Well the answer is simple – I love and enjoy helping others with their self storage dreams and adventures.  In the end it is a win – win all.   Many times reading my book and or a couple of tips or an hour is all a person needs.

And often people have well over a million dollars invested and realize the value of a day or two of sharing ideas that will pay them back many times my fee.

Here is a recent email that made smile all day long.

Dear Marc,

 I read your book cover to cover and could not put it down.  I will read it over and over and use it as my reference. 

 I have tab markers & highlights everywhere.     I love your selling merchandise chapters, your view on Marketing both curb appeal & outside.

 I was a manager at one of our locations and my passion and experience in marketing I was able to take on a new position as Marketing Coordinator for our stores and I love it.  Your book confirms the value of things that we already do, confirms things that we know to do but may not be doing, inspires new ideas, Inspires great sales, inspires great service.    INSPIRES !!!!     I loved every page of it.  I told my boss that is should be mandatory that every manager should read this book.  If they are not inspired, they don’t belong here.  That’s my opinion. 

I would love to meet you when you come back to Florida for the winter.  I know that you met one of our store managers and  our Operations Manager

Thank you for writing the book, it was my pleasure to read it and be inspired by it!


Marketing Coordinator










Why to I own self storage?

Because it is fun and I enjoy working with great people and helping great customers.  Not to mention is is a great way to make a living.

Here is just a brief comparison of some other real estate development options.  It is clear self storage cost less, makes more profits and has the highest rate of return – often over 20%.  This from an old study from learnselfstudy.com, but you get the idea.

Rental Rates

  1. Multifamily–$7.5 to $12 per square foot
  2. Office–$14 to $24 per square foot
  3. Retail–$16 to $20 per square foot
  4. Self-storage–$6.5 to $12 per square foot
Construction costs
  1. Multifamily–$60 to $70 per square foot
  2. Office–$50 to $100 per square foot
  3. Retail–$50 to $80 per square foot
  4. Self-storage–$34 to $42 per square foot

Notice self storage has the same rental range as multifamily but cost about half price.  And you can imagine how much more work owning multi family properties. – midnight phone calls – daily maintenance & repairs – major repairs & painting when people move out.

Even in difficult  times the failure rate is several times lower than the other options above, making acquiring a self storage mortgage easier.  Where else can you make over a 20% profit and have fun?
What do you like best about self storage?

plus I get to build great gardens - my second passion


Fishing or Kayaking

Fishing for King Mackerel

The other morning at about 10 am I walked in Starbucks and ordered my coffee and could not help but notice the over flowing tip jars.  There were two good sized tip jars side by side full of dollar bills.  On the top of them was a small sign that said which would you rather be doing today.  On one jar was the single word fishing and kayaking on the other one.

Instantly I was compelled to vote and put a tip in the fishing jar.  While both jars were full I think the fisherman were more passionate  because I spotted a couple of fives. 🙂


What is the lesson for self storage managers.  Always give the client a choice between yes and yes………and have some fun and be passionate.

Kayaking or fishing - why not both?


To Success!


Marc & GP – Kayaking in Sarasota Florida



Are you getting referrals from your local bank? Why not it is easy!

I was talking to the manager of my local bank today here in Sarasota FL. He was excited that his mortgage business is up over 40% from last year and how they had to hire new staff because of all the people buying houses. Great new for us in the ss business – assuming you are doing your marketing to capture more than your share of this market.

Some times banks can be intimidating because they have such a formal air – not to mention all the cameras. But just remember they are people too and they need and appreciate new business just like we do. Its a 3 way win – win – win — Your self storage – your clients – your local bank.

Bank referrals are a little different then your typical refer in the fact that you do not need to use the referral incentive card. It built more on mutual clients and relationships. Heres how it works:

Every month I get several clients who come to visit our facility who are just looking because they are thinking of moving – selling their house. Obviously I show them around and let them know we would like to help them out when they are ready. (of course I get their number and ask if I can call in a couple of weeks to see how things are going & give them a white paper on how to sell your house faster.)

Just before they leave I tell them I know Mr banker at My bank has helped a lot of people with their mortgages recently and give them his/her card. On the front of the bankers card I write my first name only and my full name, ss name & phone on the back. I put my first name on the front just to remind them my info is on the back – so they can remember to tell my banker friend who referred them.

So they key is to get to know your banker. So you can call him your friend. Don’t be intimidated. It is easy. Just walk into your local bank, preferable not on monday or friday, early in the morning when it is not crowded about 1/2 hour after it opens and ask to see the manager (or mortgage person if he/she is not available). Do not have any things in your hands – no need to bring any ss stuff. If anyone asks why you want to see the manger – tell them none of their business – haha just kidding, simple say you have some mortgage questions.

Any good banker will invite you into their office and offer you a seat. Then get directly to the point.
” I am from successful self storage just down the street. We get several people coming into our office every month who are about to sell their home and I thought it would be a great idea if I refer them to a friend in the banking business. It would help my clients out and you as well.”

Then simple ask if they are giving out mortgages and how is the mortgage business. If they are looking to make mortgages the rest of the conversation will take care of it self. No need to remind them to send clients your way – they will.

Also ask if they give out car loans the more you know about them the more times you can refer them.

When you leave take a dozen of his cards and ask the best way to make a referral for him. Leave him a half dozen of your cards – no more . Make an appointment for a week or two later when you can drop him off some literature about your self storage. And you will be on your way to getting referrals from your local bank!  Every time you hand out his card send him a short email.

And don’t forget you can use this approach for other professionals in town as well.


Banks love referrals too!


Walking & Landscaping

Sarasota Marketing Analogies – Walking & Gardens

GP & I walked 8 miles this morning over the bridge to downtown and back.  We do this walk once a week.  We also walk along the beach 5 miles once a week.  To round out walking 6 days a week we typically walk 3.5 mile on our “circle walk”.

Self storage marketing is like exercise.  Both need to be done consistently for the best rewards. Both are work but they make you feel better every day and keep you (or your business healthy). Often changing things up, in either case, provides better results.   In order to be consistent I need help and encouragement.

For my walks I enjoy using my Nike app which tells me how far I have walked, how fast, how many calories I burned and keeps track of all my walks for a cumulative total.  I set goals and the app helps me keep track.  I also walk with my wife GP which is fun.

I do the same for my self storage marketing.  I set similar goals – how much time I will spend each day working on marketing projects and what specifics I want to achieve (rentals & additional income) each month and year. I also set up a monthly marketing outline for each month at the beginning of each year to keep me on tract.

We are always admiring the miles beautiful landscape as we walk in Sarasota.  Workers and homeowners are always planting, pruning and taking care of the gardens.  Last week started they yearly removal of the old straggly annuals and planting of new annuals.  The best gardens are a combination of perennials and annuals.  Just like gardening self storage marketing is always on going and is a combination of the strong existing marketing campaigns (perennials) and new marketing campaigns (annuals)

I recommend the manager should be spending at least 6 hours on new marketing ideas and projects every week.  If your goal as the owner is to rent up your facility faster and at higher rates you should spend 10 plus hours to ?? on marketing every week.  Remember it is the owners job to get the prospects in the door and the managers job to make them happy and rent.

Walking over the bridge to downtown

Dying of thirst QR Barcode to the rescue

Dying of thirst QC Barcode to the rescue

We were on our way to the outlet stores north of Sarasota and GP was thirsty and without her water.  When I saw the Walgreens billboard – case of 24 waters for just $2.99 I pulled in. When I got to the water special at the front door the signed informed me I needed to be a Walgreen member or pay $1.00 more.  I was frustrated until I saw a QR barcode on the sign that said scan me and become a member.  I scanned the bar code and after giving the typical details I had the Walgreen app on my I phone.  I went to the registered and she scanned my phone and poof I saved a $1.

For several years I carried a CVS card on my key chain to get regular discounts.  When I got home I down loaded the CVS App and discarded the old pealing cvs card.

GP was shopping at Van Heusen store.  When I was letting her know she looked beautiful as she was trying on clothes I noticed a sign in the dressing room to scan the QR code to get an instant $5.00 coupon.  I scanned it and wal la I saved $5.

Hey I have resisted all this tech stuff as much as the next 50 year old but the time has come.  Either join them or pay more and work harder – thank you I would rather not do either.

You need a bar code for your self storage.  Its simple and free.  Several on line sites will provide you a QR barcode that when scanned will bring them to a web page you gave them.  It can be your web page home page or internet special page, your facebook page or a special landing page.  It only takes up the space of a thumb on your business card or advertising and opens a whole new door.

Look at the adds in any magazine or even the self storage adds by the large operators and they all have QR barcodes.  It is so simple and easy, don’t get left behind.

Want more facebook likes for your site – post the QR code in your storage brochure and remind everyone to  scan it to check out your facebook site.  How about putting a QR code on your front door so when people come after hours they can scan it and learn about your facility from your web site.

I was reading the ministorage messenger magazine and www.24hrstorage.net had an ad and a barcode to scan.  They will provided you with a barcode for your front door so you can rent when you are closed.  It makes your ads and front door signage a rental Kiosk.  It connects them to your available units instantly through a unique mobile app.

The possibilities are endless.  Get a QR Barcode today.

Try out www.quikqr.com It simple and free.  Just enter the web site name & instantly you will have a QR bar code.


Neighborhood Wal Mart Neighborhood Market – David vs. Golith


We arrived in Sarasota after being out of town for 6 months and to our amazement there it was – the Wal Mart Neighborhood Market (grocery store). It replaced of an old dilapidated defunct grocery store that has been closed for several years.  It was a big surprise because this was the first I ever heard of or seen a wal mart that was only a grocery store.  The location was also unusual for a wal mart for a couple of reasons.  First there is Super Wal Mart located about 7 miles south and another one 7 miles north and dozens of grocery stores in between.  Also this location was not your typical shopping plaza location but rather a run down section of town.

Curiosity got the best of us, we had to try it out.  In wal mart tradition it was large and had great prices.  But the similarity to the neighborhood grocery store ended there.  Just like the similarity between your self storage and the large self storage operators.  Wal mart only had about 80% of what we typically purchase.  They did not have fresh fish, large wine selection, local produce, name brand products we are familiar with, etc.

They will never have the continuity of service or experienced service of my local grocery store.  Year after year we recognize many of the employees at our local grocery store and often have a conversation with them.

They will never have the service of the local grocery store.  We bought some bad frozen salmon at wal mart.  When I told them about it they would not do any thing without the salmon.  So I shopped at wal mart one time and lost 10 bucks and had to scramble for dinner one night.  I have shopped at my local grocery store many years and I can only remember one time I had a bad product – A bag of potatoes had some rotten potatoes.  When I told the cashier (who did not even know me) she gave us one free bag and a cash refund for the original cost of the potatoes no questions asked.  You won’t find that at wal mart.

For many reasons we will continue shopping at our local grocery store and not wal mart.  Now of course when the 4 kids come to visit and all they want is bland food, cereal and junk food I may send them out to wal mart.

Unless you want to compete solely upon price (against the likes of wal mart) make sure you are a neighborhood self storage and not a wal mart neighborhood self storage.  It is not as hard as it might initially sound.  Most peoples self storage decision factors  have price six or seventh on the list.  Take care of the first things on list and you can beat wal mart!

Convenient (easy access, parking, multiple payment options, “main street” location)

Easy to rent.  (quick, no security deposit, take credit cards)


Great service, helpful experienced staff, pleasant experience, retail office and visually pleasing site.

Clean, dry, well lit, up to date facility


The Competition can not focus locally like you can!


Sarasota Florida

In a couple of days we leave for 3 weeks in Sarasota Florida.  I love relaxing in Sarasota.  We are lucky self storage is a business we can manage on vacation.   Sure we have good mangers and spent a little extra time with them before we left.  For sure we will be in touch both with daily emails and an occasional phone call.  But we spend hours relaxing by the pool with a glass of wine knowing everything back home is good.

Sarasota screams come visit us.  Come enjoy all the wonderful things we have for you to enjoy.  It does it without fancy brochures or radio adds.  it does it with its many actions:

Clean white sand beaches,  many our door cafe’s, a wide range of fun shopping opportunities, night life galore for all ages, bike paths, museums, art, history, music concerts, 8′ sidewalks along the beach, marvelous palm trees and beautiful landscaping.tiki bars on the beach, friendly people,  fishing and boating piers and so much more.

The best marketing often is said without words.


Marina Jacks