How to Make the Most of Your Self Storage Retail Business

Self storage is typically thought of as a service industry, providing secure storage units for people to store their residential and business belongings.

However, did you ever stop to consider promoting your self storage retail business? Adding retail merchandise will give you the opportunity to increase your profitability and your goodwill.

Tenants and walk-in customers will enjoy being able to find high-quality moving and packing supplies at their fingertips. You never know who might be in the middle of a hectic move or remodeling project. People will love the convenience of being able to pick up needed supplies without having to drive all over town.

If you want to be successful in retail sales, Pinnacle Storage Managers can help. We can guide you through pricing, marketing, and promoting your products.

Grow your business with Pinnacle Storage Manager

Setting Up a Retail Center at Your Self Storage Facility

If you want to add retail sales to your business, you have to think like a consumer and act like a retailer. Focus on your setup, ask customers what they need, and then take them shopping.

Retail Products to Offer Customers

What retail products should your self storage business offer? Begin by deciding which products are likely to sell best. First, think about what anyone renting a unit might need. Then, consider items that would bring in people not renting a unit but needing packing and moving supplies.

The top retail items that people need might include:

  • Boxes (all sizes including wardrobe boxes, dish packs, and glass packs)
  • Heavy-duty moving and packing bags
  • Packing materials (paper, bubble wrap, air cushions, foam wrap, foam peanuts)
  • Tape (all types, including singles and packs with dispensers)
  • Plastic mattress and furniture covers
  • Moving blankets
  • Locks
  • Tie-down material
  • Utility knives
  • Magic markers


Your showroom should be well stocked with attractively displayed items that appeal to your customers’ needs.

Use signage to highlight your merchandise. Make your messages clear and easy to understand. Have prices marked so that you don’t frustrate your customers, and don’t forget to include your logo on your signage.

You may not have room in your facility to set up an attractive retail area. In that case, consider converting a nearby unit into a retail space. This may be an opportunity to generate more income from that space than you would by collecting rent.

There are a number of pricing methods for your ancillary self storage products. Some owners use “keystone pricing.” This simple markup formula simply doubles the wholesale cost you paid. It’s not a perfect system, but it can work in certain situations. Learn more at Sniffie.

Another easy pricing method is to use the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). This is simply the price a manufacturer recommends retailers use when selling a product. Learn more about competitive pricing in this Shopify blog.

Bundling the simple strategy of selling more than one product at a single price. You may be familiar with the trendy cable/internet/phone package.

This practice leads to a higher perceived value for a lower cost, resulting in larger volume purchases. For instance, you can sell various-sized boxes together along with supplies like bubble wrap and tape. People will enjoy having you put a custom bundle together for their specific needs.

“Would you like to see a dessert menu?” is a common example of cross-selling. It’s an “oldie but a goodie” and still works today.

Self storage uses this concept when they ask customers if they need moving and packing supplies or locks when they’re renting a unit. If a customer has stopped in to buy boxes, ask if they need tape or bubble wrap. A number of customers will make an additional purchase when asked.

Self storage supplies don’t sell themselves. You need to promote your retail offerings as part of your marketing strategy.

  • Mention your retail supplies in self storage campaigns, social media, and emails.
  • Create special sales in which you promote slow-moving items as part of a special deal. For instance, “spring cleaning sale.”
  • Recruit local realtors to give discount coupons to clients who are getting ready to move.
  • Use outdoor signage to let people know that you’re in the retail business. Create an attractive box display along with your outdoor signage.
Final Thoughts

Self storage is primarily a service industry, but retail sales play a big part in a successful business. Adding retail sales to your facility attracts customers, increases profitability, and adds value when it’s time to sell. Don’t think of retail as an added hassle; think of it as an added opportunity.