Tag Archive for: convenience

Vehicle storage options

There are many different options available when looking for vehicle storage. Choosing the best vehicle storage option depends on budget, the length of time the vehicle will be in storage and the value of the vehicle to mention a few. Below is a description of options available to help you make the right decision.

Outdoor Vehicle Storage

Outdoor Vehicle Storage is the cheapest storage option. This is typically a secure car park area containing designated parking bays.

Security features vary from facility to facility, PIN coded gates and security cameras will offer the best protection for your vehicle. PIN coded gates leave a record of who is in the facility; particularly important in shared areas. In addition, some facilities have removable or fold down bollards that are locked for added protection.

Another important aspect of outdoor vehicle storage is the area. Ensure there are no hazards that may cause damage to the vehicle, including falling debris from large trees, poor lighting, adequate drainage and damaged surfaces. Bitchumised areas are better. This prevents the possibility of being bogged or flooded in. The area will need to be large enough for large vehicles to get in and out of easily, with multiple entry and exit points a bonus.

If storing your vehicle outdoors, cover your vehicle to prevent rust and corrosion and to protect it from the elements. Consequently your vehicle will keep clean as well as protected. Ensure that windows, doors and sunroofs close and seals intact.

Undercover Vehicle Storage

Undercover vehicle storage comes in many different forms. The type of undercover vehicle storage will determine the price. These include carports or lean-to’s, warehouses, garages and shipping containers. All of these options offer protection against the elements in varying degrees.

Carports or lean-to’s offer a roof over your vehicle. Large warehouses offer a fully enclosed area. These options are secure and in a shared area. The same considerations need to be taken into account as the outdoor vehicle storage as mentioned above.

Fully enclosed garages offer maximum protection. These can be in the form of a shipping container or a specifically designed garage. These are individual and allow you to put your own lock on the door, with vehicles protected against the elements and other vehicles. The added benefit with this option is the there is usually room to store other small belongings around the vehicle.

General Tips

It is important to make some general checks before storing. Lock all doors and do not leave any valuables in the vehicle. For long term vehicle storage consider disconnecting the battery. If storing a caravan, ensure you have secured it properly to prevent it from theft. Wheel clamps and coupling locks are great deterrents.

Also, talk to the staff at the facility. There may be some additional services available to help. Some storage facilities provide a motorised jockey wheel mover to make parking caravans easier. If storing the vehicle long term they may offer a car washing service. Ask if there are jumper leads available or a battery charger just in case it needs a little help starting when you pick your vehicle up.

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.