Access control keypads can make or break a customer’s experience at your facility. Why? It’s often the first (if not only) aspect of your site that they’ll interact with while on the property. In addition to automating facility access, high-quality keypads integrate with advanced security systems and can be used to create highly customized access points.
But here’s the catch: Not all access control keypads are the same. In fact, the wrong keypad can sometimes be worse than having no keypad at all, especially if it malfunctions or prohibits paying tenants from entering the facility. It’s critical to select the right access control keypad to satisfy tenant expectations and maintain a best-in-class customer experience.
Choosing the Best Access Control Keypad for Your Self-Storage Operation
As a self-storage owner or operator, you know how critical security and convenience are to your tenants as well as your companies’ topline revenue. That makes selecting a new access control keypad more than an impulse purchase — it’s a major business decision.
Your facility’s entrance keypad is your tenants’ most frequent point of interaction with your site and the first line of defense against vandals and thieves. So, it’s important to take your time and choose the keypad that delivers the features and benefits a tenant expects from a first-rate storage facility.
When you start shopping for keypads, you’ll discover plenty of options to choose from. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to separate quality keypads from the rest of the pack.
1. Identify the Type of Keypad You Need
In today’s self-storage industry, competitive operations usually install keypads that integrate with a centralized access control system. You can still find standalone keypads, but they simply don’t provide the level of security or efficiency it takes to grow a self-storage business.
The major upside of an integrated access control keypad is that it improves efficiency and security by automating who has access to your facility. Using payment data from your Property Management Software, an integrated access control system will be able to automatically grant or deny access to tenants based on whether or not they’re up-to-date on their payments. In addition, with an integrated keypad and cloud-based access control system, owners and facility managers can control and monitor access from any location and receive automated updates from site events. Click here to learn more about cloud-based access control software.
Facilities can also customize access points around their facility using keypads at each entrance point (doors, elevators, etc.). A facility may have multiple buildings and floors, but a tenant’s code will only give them access to the general areas (front gate entrance, lobbies, etc.), and the floor & building that corresponds to their unit while restricting access to other areas of the property. For example, if a tenant’s unit is on Floor 2 of Building 1, they will be able to access that level but won’t be able to access Floor 3 of Building 1.
2. Evaluate Usage Requirements
To a large extent, usage requirements will determine which keypad — or keypads — you select. Will the keypad provide exterior gate access, or will it be used inside of a climate-controlled building? Is it located in a high-traffic area, or will it be used less frequently than other access keypads in the facility? Will your keypads need to hold up to any especially challenging weather conditions? By answering these and other usage-related questions with a security expert you can begin to narrow down your options.
Based on usage requirements, many self-storage operators discover the need to purchase different keypad models for different areas of their facility. While a rugged and durable keypad equipped with a two-way intercom may be appropriate for a main exterior gate, integrated keypads with fewer features may be appropriate for lower traffic interior access points.
3. Determine Required Features
First-rate access control keypads offer a wide range of features. While some of these features are designed to improve convenience for tenants, others enhance security and operational efficiency.
Available features you may want to consider include:
• Anti-vandal/anti-tampering features reduce the threat of damage or improper access.
• Magnetic stripe or proximity card readers increase security by requiring individuals to provide a physical access card rather than just a passcode.
• Enhanced LCD screens create opportunities for improved visibility, promotional opportunities, and on-screen interactions.
• Two-way intercoms enable instant communication between tenants and facility managers.
• Pin Hole Cameras help capture footage around a keypad.
• BLE Technology enabling a smartphone with an installed app to automatically unlock gates with hands-free entry.
4. Perform Industry Research
When it’s time to choose and implement an access control keypad, the keypad provider may be even more important than the features of the specific model you select. Reliability counts and an unproven provider could quickly spell disaster for your operation.
Ideally, you’ll want to select a provider that specializes in self-storage and offers an access control platform designed to integrate with your property management software, keypads, and other security devices. By creating a unified and seamless network, you can position your business to maximize security, efficiency, and tenant satisfaction — giving your operation a significant edge in local markets.
5. Work with a Trusted Installer
Whether your building a new facility from the ground up or looking to upgrade an existing facility’s keypads, a trusted installer that is familiar with the self-storage industry will be an invaluable asset. An industry expert will not only be able to help you make sure your keypads are installed properly but will also help you with vendor selection and mapping out the correct security mix for your individual needs. Possibly the most significant asset they will bring are the insights gained from years of experience at other facilities.
Ready to take the next step? PTI can help. We’ve served more than 40,000 locations across 30 countries, providing access control keypads and other solutions to many of the world’s leading self-storage operations. Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can help you choose the right access control keypads for your facility.