Store Ur Stuff Development

The Store ur Stuff Development blogs include articles on any new developments at Store Ur Stuff and the Self Storage Industry in general.

Car Storage – How to prepare

Car Storage

Not everyone has the luxury of a fully enclosed garage to store their car and protect it from the elements. Like caravan owners, you may require a car storage facility to store your car.  We have already explored vehicle storage options previously and discussed ideas on how to prepare a caravan for storage. Here we will look at what steps you should take to protect a car that is stored outside.

Wash and Wax before car storage

There are many car enthusiasts out there that agree washing and waxing your car is the best protection against the elements. The wax acts as a protective barrier between the dust, weather, pollen, bird poo, etc and the cars duco. In the winter, wax is like a raincoat and will protect the car by not allowing the water to come in contact with the paint. Wax will also protect your car in the hotter months with it acting as a sun block. This is important if you are using car storage in Australia’s harsh summer climate. Make sure the product has a UV protectant incorporated in it for best results.

However, washing and waxing it once and then leaving it will not be suffice. Some enthusiasts recommend washing and waxing at least twice a month to every three months. Also, it is best to dry your car by hand instead of air drying. Air drying can leave water droplets on a car. UV rays will magnify these dropletts causing hard water deposits to be etched into the surface of your car.

Most modern cars these days have a clear protective coating over the paint to protect it from the elements. If you are still concerned you can treat your car to a paint sealant to best protect it. Be reminded though, you will still need to wash and wax your car but perhaps not as regularly to ensure the exterior stays in the best possible condition.

To cover or not to cover stored cars

There seems to be mixed reviews on weather covering your car actually protects it. Some believe that it can do more damage than good with the risk of condensation forming in the engine and the underside of the bonnet. However, a cover can provide a good amount of protection for your car from the sun, debris from trees and insects.

There are all sorts of covers on the market ranging from a standard outdoor cover, ones that can protect your car against the sun, hail and storms, automatic car tents and car capsules. Car covers range from just under $100.00 up to $800.00. Avoid using a tarp or a plastic cover. One made from natural material that breathes is better and ensure you invest in one that suits the elements you are storing it in.

If you are going to invest in a cover ensure it fits your car properly. According to a poorly fitted car cover can scratch the cars paint when it is windy. A cover should also fully enclose the car to prevent rodents nesting in small spaces.

Service your car before car storage

If you intend on storing your car for a long period of time it is advised to give it a quick service. There are a few things you can check yourself before storing your car. At the end of the storage period it’s a good idea to call in the professionals.

As a minimum for long term storage, the coolant and oil should be changed. Dirty fluids simply sitting stagnate means any contaminants are sitting around too. In time this can cause more wear and tear on your engine. Dirty oil in particular can make it more difficult to restart your car on your return. The brake fluid and transmission fluid should be refreshed as well.

Petrol in the tank can break down. If you are storing your car for 3 months or more, add a stabiliser to prolong fuel life. By filling your tank before storing will reduce air build up in the tank.

Make sure your car battery is fully charged. The battery will still be drained by the vehicles electronics. Batteries can corrode over time, so if your car storage is long term it is best to remove it. Store the battery in a dry cool area off the concrete to prevent it from cracking. Don’t forget to check the users manual for any other precautions.

Air naturally escapes from your cars tyres over time. If storing short term, fully inflate your tyres so they are not too flat when you pick it up from storage. Tyres these days are now engineered to prevent “flat spots” so it is not necessary to jack the car up. It is also suggested that jacking a vehicle up can cause unnecessary strain on the suspension.

Do not store and forget

Check on your car while it is in storage particularly if it is going to be stored long term. Start your car to keep the battery charged. Check with the car storage facility to see if they have jump starter cables or a battery charger you can borrow just in case you need them. They may have a car wash deal with local car wash and detailing shop or organise one to come to you.

Protect your car in storage

Check your cars paperwork to ensure it is up to date before considering car storage. If your registration or insurance is due to expire whilst it is in storage set yourself a reminder to renew. Contact your insurer to inform them your vehicle is being stored in a secure storage facility and confirm it is fully covered whilst it is in car storage.

Car Storage with Store UR Stuff

Store UR Stuff is extending it’s vehicle storage area with our expansion well underway. Our secure area will have generous 10 meter drive through bays to make storing your caravan, truck, mini van or bus easy and stress free. Our well lit vehicle storage area will have 24 hour security monitoring and recorded surveillance, traceable unique PIN coded access 24/7 and security fencing to ensure your vehicle is protected at all times. Call 08 8371 0000 to reserve your spot today.

Self Storage Kiosks

The Self Storage Association of Australasia recently held their annual convention at the Gold Coast. New to the industry I thought this was a fantastic opportunity for me to attend and meet other people in the business and to more importantly learn more about the industry and where it is heading.

As part of the convention, there was an opportunity to visit other facilities that show cased new innovations in the industry. There was one that was built on Eco friendly and sustainable principles and another introducing the latest in self storage technology.

It was the later that really got me thinking about the future and the direction the self storage industry is heading. Self service storage kiosks is one emerging technology that enables people to rent a storage unit or pay a monthly storage fee 24 hours a day. The machine looks similar to an ATM machine with a touch screen computer and automated prompts and are very popular in the US and are now being introduced in Australia, the first at a site in Helensvale, Queensland.

The kiosk can generate a lease and take payment for a unit, like most self storage web bookings. However unlike website bookings, it can go through the entire sign up process and also scan ID, issue a secure and unique gate PIN, print off a map with directions to your unit and can even dispense padlocks. The kiosk I was introduced to can take a fingerprint scan and a photo of your face as you sign up. The machine demonstrates all of the administrative skills and processes that a self storage employee performs and it can perform these tasks as efficiently and effectively as any human. The kiosk also outshines web bookings by completing the whole process and allowing a tenant to move in immediately – with most web bookings the tenant will still need to attend the facility before moving into a unit. It allows a facility to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This convenience and flexibility could give a facility the competitive boost it is looking for.

In order for these to be effective, businesses need to use them as an assistant to staff, especially during peak times and to service customers after hours. The self storage industry is a customer service industry and I believe it is one of the most important skills your staff can have, so to introduce a self storage kiosk as a substitute to staff could be detrimental to your business. People still need people to listen, sympathize and tend to varied needs, all of which a machine cannot do. If used in combination with your staff, it could potentially raise occupancy and decrease late payers which in turn would increase revenue.

When I first trailed the kiosk at the site at Helensvale, I was a little skeptical. I believe as a self storage manager, it is important to know who is storing at your site for stringent security practices and to deter any illegitimate activity. Peoples behaviors, body language and sometimes aura can be a give away as to a persons character and I am a big believer of the “gut” feeling you get from people when you meet them. Usually you can trust your gut feeling to stop you signing up any persons that may turn into trouble tenants. The kiosk cannot do this. The kiosk does not have instincts or gut feelings to go off of. At the end of the day, someone may sign up on the kiosk and you may not see them again. As much as I am all for increasing customer convenience and making your business operable 24 hours a day, I believe that by having a kiosk that allows 24 hour sign up could generate an increase in bad storers.

Although there are drawbacks to the kiosk, I think that it is smart for businesses to integrate new technologies with current practices. Kiosks make 100% sense if you wish to generate business 24 hours a day. There are many other technologies that could be used as well and as new technologies are created, there will be more need to have these machines in the self storage industry to stay competitive.  A kiosk may not be the answer to this but I am sure more technology will be introduced to partner staff in the self storage industry.