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One of the most important things to remember with a Self Storage business is that your customers not only need space to store their possessions, they also want security.

In fact, your security system could be what makes you stand out from the crowd, and it has the potential to be one of your key marketing points. So, from start to finish, from laying the foundations to opening the front door, security should be an integral part of your project design – a simple padlock and key just don’t do the job any more.

With constant improvements in technology, you will need to be prepared to update your security offering on a regular basis, because your clients will be looking for it. The best way to start is to talk to the experts in the industry, to ensure you have the best systems in place, in line with your budget and customer expectations.

If you’re starting your Self Storage project with a blank sheet of paper, it’s best to design a layout with sight lines from the office to the front gate and the storage units, if that’s at all possible. Knowing they might be seen could be the first deterrent for would-be thieves.

This is easier if your facility is all on one level. A multi-level facility presents more challenges because there are likely to be more doors/points of access. Those entry points need security devices that limit entry and exit to those people with authority to come and go, and you will need a more hi-tech monitoring system to help you keep an eye on things.

Keypads are still the most popular tool for access control but they have become far more sophisticated. Today’s optional extras for the keypad include intercoms and cameras connected to a video recorder, but you should also consider proximity or card readers if you want to provide state-of-the-art security. As you read this, that technology is being developed even further – think of your smart phone as a wireless keypad and go from there.

Alarms are another part of the security picture, and no longer just an item for the front gate. These days it’s all about individual door alarms that ‘ring back’ to the office or a monitoring company.

Like everything technology-related in this world, video cameras just keep getting better and better. If you’re building a new facility, then get the best new digital video technology.

If you’re upgrading an existing site, replacing your old video recording arrangements with the latest could be one of the best investments you will make. If you are doing an upgrade, chances are you will need to invest in better recording and monitoring gear, not just the cameras.

Of course, the key to a successful security system is getting good advice and finding the most efficient and professional installer. We have all experienced the heartache of an incompetent or inefficient tradesperson, and you simply cannot afford – literally – to have your security fail because it has not been installed correctly.

This really is an example of the need to pay good money for the right person – you want reliability and an ongoing connection to ensure the system is maintained correctly. It’s also worth asking for your installer’s advice – they could have valuable suggestions that can make your system work even better for you and your customers.

Whether you are building from scratch, or updating an older facility, it makes sense to set up a regular maintenance schedule to keep the security system in top-notch working order, and also factor in the need for a full re-evaluation every five years.

Components wear out and technology changes by the day and you cannot afford faults, or to be behind the times. Within that five-year-plan, include a generous budget for the update.

Your tenants’ peace of mind IS your business, so you need to know, just as much as they do, that their goods are safe with you.