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Self Storage Insight Blog

Exploring the Self-Storage Industry: An Interview with Dustin from Wy-Not Store It



In this insightful interview transcript, we dive into the world of self-storage with Dustin, the owner of Wy-Not Store It. Dustin shares his journey of getting into the self-storage business, his experiences managing the facility, and his thoughts on the industry's future. We'll explore topics such as facility acquisition, unit capacity, marketing strategies, customer loyalty, industry trends, and more. Join us as we uncover the key aspects of the self-storage industry through the eyes of an experienced owner.

Background and Facility Acquisition

Dustin's entry into the self-storage industry began when his father approached him with a potential storage facility for sale. After a lengthy three-year acquisition process filled with negotiations and uncertainty, Dustin finally acquired a facility in Wyandotte, Michigan. The facility comprises 347 units, including trailer and camper parking spaces, along with a variety of unit sizes, including climate-controlled options. With a focus on catering to the local community, Dustin ensures the availability of diverse unit types, maintaining a well-rounded assortment.

Filling Units and Marketing Strategies

Dustin highlights the effectiveness of word-of-mouth marketing in his tightly-knit community. Having previously owned a gym and with family connections in the construction business, he leverages existing networks to reach potential customers. Although the facility is considered full by industry standards, Dustin occasionally uses Facebook ads and maintains an active online presence to attract new tenants. The location, situated just south of Detroit in a highly populated area, contributes to the facility's steady occupancy rates.

Managing the Facility and Customer Relations

Dustin emphasizes the importance of maintaining customer satisfaction by handling property maintenance personally. He and his father take care of tasks like grass cutting, snow plowing, weed control, mulching, and even setting up rat traps. The facility offers gate access from 6 am to 10 pm using a keypad system. Dustin's primary focus lies in property upkeep, bookkeeping, and minimizing direct customer interactions.

Expansion Plans and Future Industry Trends

While Dustin contemplates expanding his business, he is still in the process of learning the intricacies of the self-storage industry. He envisions the rising popularity of portable storage units (pods) and expects smaller living spaces to drive the demand for storage solutions. Additionally, he predicts the emergence of high-end storage facilities that cater to individuals seeking additional space as an extension of their living areas. Despite increased competition in his area, Dustin remains optimistic about the future of the self-storage industry, emphasizing the value it provides for customers in terms of convenience and clutter-free living.

Rental Rates and Customer Loyalty 

Dustin maintains competitive rates based on market trends but avoids frequent rate increases. Instead, he focuses on providing consistent value and building customer loyalty. By prioritizing customer satisfaction and offering fair pricing, Dustin fosters a strong customer base, minimizing turnover. He recognizes the negative impact that continuous rate hikes have on customers and aims to strike a balance between profitability and maintaining long-term relationships.

Challenges and Insights from the Industry

Despite the competitive landscape and the potential for unforeseen challenges, Dustin reflects on his experience as a self-storage owner, highlighting the relative ease of managing the facility. He credits his positive experience to having supportive partners, efficient operations, and a loyal customer base. Dustin shares that the self-storage industry is a manageable and profitable investment, with the potential for growth and success when approached with a strategic mindset.

Through this interview with Dustin, we've gained valuable insights into the self-storage industry.

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