Storage unit has been helpful in rescuing people who move and need to store their belongings for one reason or the other.
However, there are self-storage unit complaints from customers that are justified while some are also crazy. But, one common thing about them is: you have to solve them.
We checked Google, Yelp, and Facebook reviews for over 20 storage unit facilities all over the country and read numerous positive reviews and negative ones.
And even though the renters who left the positive reviews all appeared to be glad for different reasons, the unsatisfied clients who left the negative reviews all appeared unhappy for the same five.
In this post, we want to take a look at the top public storage complaints found during our research and analysis with possible solutions to avert such occurrences.
Top 10 Public Storage Complaints
Some of you might have faced these problems before, while others might be seeing these for the first time. Here are the top public storage complaints.
1. Facility Hours Issue
Being a self-storage operator, you know the problems associated with running a 24-hour facility. There are additional costs, additional security measures, and additional risks involved. This is why 24-hour access is not what all self-storage facilities can offer.
But many renters, even those who don’t need to drop by regularly at 3:00 a.m. still feels ridiculously robbed at times when it is not on the table. In most cases, the tenant laying complaints about the hours of operation; considering someone who is known to visit at 7 even though the unit closing hour is 6.
- Solution: You sure can’t force your tenants to cram the hours of your storage facility, and you are not under obligation to change them if it exceeds the scope of your business operation. However, you can make these hours more obvious by following these tips:
- Include them on the lease document signed by your tenants.
- Have them displayed on the sign at the entrance of your storage facility.
- Constantly remind tenants verbally, especially if there are changes to those hours on the weekend or will be adjusted because of the holiday.
- Place the hours on your websites, your Twitter account, and your Facebook page.
- Finally, try to get magnets or maybe business cards and hand them out to your friends as a soft reminder.
2. My Gate Code is not effective
In most cases, the fault is with the customers who often forget their code, making late payment of rent, or misplacing their card.
- Solution: The best prevention here is through procedural education. Show your customers how to punch in their access number during the lease process and inform them of late policies. Ask for a relevant ID from a customer that claimed to forget their code if you recognize them.
- They will see that their properties are being kept safe by making sure of proper access. If they are only supplying their code wrongly, show them the correct procedure. Do not talk to them through the speaker system; meet them at the gate and speak physically. The best speaker is difficult to understand and is not personal. Make sure you are pleasant and do not show up frustrated by their inability to handle a simple task.
- Aside from being rude, no one likes being talked down. If their rent is due, politely notify them that they might have forgotten that they are yet to pay. Time is not by our side and you will be happy to process the payment. Always be ready to chastise or reprimand when necessary. Sometimes, it may be an honest mistake. If the mistake is yours, just apologize but avoid giving too many excuses. They are not interested; they just want to access their unit.
3. Bad Phone Etiquette
Blame on texting. Hardly will you see anyone who knows how to talk on a phone nowadays. But those who do contact your facility expect a friendly voice on your end of the phone call. Popular complaints about bad phone etiquette include wrong information, rudeness, and unreturned calls (often the worst).
- Solution: This all depends on training. Spend sufficient time going through phone etiquette with new employees and rehearse that training with old employees. This topic is usually skipped because managers often assume that every employee already understands how to talk over the phone. And even though it is true, each worker will answer phone calls differently, provide the same information or return phone calls immediately. Go for uniformity.
4. Late Fees and Extra Fees
During the lease process, give a clear explanation of how fees are calculated. Raise your head and make an eye; ensure that the customer consent that they truly understand the policy. Give them a one-time late fee waiver.
Be clear that you can only waive the late fee just once. Stating all miscellaneous charges during leasing can prevent misunderstandings. Ask the client to sign the contract besides the fee policy.
5. Hidden Fees
Most parts of the negative complaints on self-storage are focused on the same thing: hidden fees. You should know that some of the things customers consider as hidden fees can be taken up to a lease misunderstanding.
For instance, we saw a review from a renter who agreed to a 3-month lease in exchange for the first 30 days free. This renter tried to leave the facility after the first month and was then angry to find out that she still has to pay the rest of the rent she had signed off to pay.
There is nothing you can do to complaints similar to that, but you can resolve the complaints of tenants who are angry about rent increases that are not properly announced and unplanned compulsory insurance fees.
- Solution: Communication is the answer. Yes, you are allowed to advertise free rent for the first month or that you even charge the lowest fee ever, but if there are extra fees associated with those great deals, your business will suffer if you hide it from your renters.
6. Climate Control is not Sufficiently Cold
A lot of people think a climate-controlled unit should have air conditioning and heat system like an office do. The sole purpose of climate control is to regulate humidity and keep a constant temperature. Customers easily take this explanation. Make sure you explain the temperature policy during the lease process.
7. Curb Appeal
A storage facility is different from an art museum, but still, it is expected by customers to be pleasing to the eyes. There are complaints about curb appeal which are centered on the rough look of a storage property (overfilled dumpsters, abandoned trash from renters) and the risk of pest infestation.
These issues often impact a renter’s smooth experience at your storage facility but also can pose a huge risk to the wellbeing of the items inside storage units.
- Solution: This is a complaint that you seriously need to address, begin by re-evaluating how your facility deters pests. Make sure you make new and old renters aware that you are in control of this. You will also want to evaluate the way you are taking care of your facility. This implies that you need to leave your office, pick up trash, and look for places in need of proper maintenance.
- Finally, change the look of your office. Dispose of that pile of papers, empty that smelly dumpster, and also get a succulent or two to make attractive scenery.
If you are fortunate, your storage facility may not have seen many break-ins since you started using one (if you are indeed lucky, you can even count the few numbers of break-ins).
Sadly, with the reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook, there is always the threat of unit break-ins. The news of your facility is the target of a break-in will begin to make potential and existing customers of your facility doubt its safety. And they will inform you.
9. Unit Size is not exact
This complaint is my favorite, if someone takes a measurement of a unit, beware, they will discover other issues. Units are often approximate and should be indicated as so in the lease. Avoid making a construction discussion about the 10 by 10 grid system. Simply answer that all sizes are provided as approximate and that the price holds. These customers often request a discount or threaten to move out of the facility. Allow them.
10. Theft and Vandalism in Your Unit
Storage units are not usually in properly lit areas. Most times, they are located on the limits of town with little or no security aside from the few cameras and the locks on each unit.
They are the ideal targets for thieves as well as vandals. Many tenants have been surprised to discover that their storage unit is vandalized and their belongings damaged or stolen.
If you detect it early, then the property may be recovered for you by the police and make the thieves face the law, but unless you often go to the unit, it could take you days, weeks, or months before you find out the issues.
Keep Your Things Insured
You are usually offered extra insurance to cover any potential damage to the contents of your unit when you rent. A lot of people don’t buy the insurance because it is in their belief that it is covered in their renter’s insurance or don’t even believe they will need it. They only find out the truth when disaster strikes. While many problems are covered by renter’s insurance, it, however, doesn’t cover everything.
Water damage is one of the popular methods of destruction and is caused by septic issues or broken pipes. White fire is covered in the renter’s insurance; water damage is, however, not covered. You could face the liability alone.
The storage unit insurance often covers the overall value of the belongings in the unit. In most cases, a bigger storage unit attracts a higher value threshold.
This can be a major issue if the value of the belongings is beyond the insurance or if the insurance covered is below standard. For instance, if your couch that worth $1,500 gets infested with mold the insurance may only cover a part of the overall cost.
Firstly, you need an effective plan in place to recover from theft. When you are handling complaints about a recent break-in or issues with the possibility of one happening, you need to be proactive. This may look like the information you want to be silent on, but similar to all valid customer complaints, you must own it.
Inform customers that you are taking the necessary steps to your storage facility safer day by day. They will feel much valued, rather than not taken seriously and they will know that they are safe when renting a storage unit from you.
If you are receiving complaints that your facility is dirty, your doors won’t open, or there are no lights, your breakdown is under maintenance management and is a valid complaint. Know that customer complaints are to help us better our service.
The review is the only perfect measure of our performance, whether a manager or owner. Education is the popular solution in resolving complaints. If you discuss policies perfectly and clearly during the lease process, if the client shows they understand, you have already blocked some complaints.