Winter weather presents inevitable challenges for self-storage operations and their tenants. If you’re not prepared to tackle those challenges head-on, it could bring your operation to a standstill — jeopardizing your ability to keep customers happy and grow your business.
But the good news is that snow and subzero temperatures don’t have to derail your operation. With a little planning, you can keep your operation running smoothly throughout the winter season.
5 Tips for Winterproofing Your Self-Storage Facility
Planning is the key to bringing your self-storage through winter unscathed. Ideally, operations should begin planning for winter challenges in early fall and finalize your preparations by early October at the latest.
Even if you aren’t able to finalize preparations before the snow falls, you can still mitigate the impact on your operation by taking action in several essential areas.
1. Stock Up on the Essentials. If you live in a location that experiences snow and ice, there are certain essentials you can count on needing at some point in the winter season. Stock up on snow shovels, ice melt, and rubber mats long before the first flakes fall, and position them at areas of the facility where they are easily accessible to staff and tenants.
2. Finalize a Snow Removal Plan. If you plan to handle your snow removal on your own, it’s essential to inspect and service your equipment in late summer or early fall. However, if you intend to outsource snow removal to a contractor or service provider, negotiate and finalize your contract as soon as you can. In some areas, prices will go up once you’re in the winter season and it can be challenging to secure a reliable snow removal expert once the season is in full swing.
3. Weatherproof Access Control Keypads. Access control keypads can be susceptible to inclement weather. Rubber and touch screen keypads are extremely vulnerable, so if possible, upgrade to a keypad with metal buttons and apply a weather shield to prevent sticking. Better yet, add a mobile access app that enables tenants to access the facility and their units from the comfort of their vehicles using their mobile devices. There’s never been an easier way to create a seamless experience for your tenants than with the flexibility of a tent-facing mobile access control app.
4. Inspect and Service HVAC Units. An HVAC failure in the dead of winter can spell disaster for your self-storage operation. Schedule an inspection of heating units located in office and climate-controlled storage areas, and conduct annual maintenance based on manufacturer recommendations. If a unit needs to be replaced in the next 6-12 months, consider replacing it before the winter season to avoid an equipment failure when you need it most.
5. Develop Closing Procedures. If a winter emergency hits, you may need to close your facility temporarily. Create a list of emergency contact numbers for site managers and develop a system for notifying tenants about temporary closures. The most effective way to notify tenants is an automated notification process using your operation’s centralized management platform. If the platform is cloud-based, you can update your tenants about facility status from any location — a big plus if the weather prevents you from driving into the office.
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Your facility is the lifeblood of your business. If weather-related issues prevent your operation’s physical infrastructure from functioning properly, your bottom line will suffer. So, instead of rolling the dice, invest time and focus in winterproofing your facility — and keep your operation running smoothly year-round.