What’s the difference between online move ins and reservations?

Okay, what are we talking about here? What’s the difference between reservations and online move ins?

Basically, it’s the money.

A reservation, booking, promise to pay, or a promise to be back later is just that, a promise. Without the financial commitment, there’s nothing tying the customer to your facility, which is a wasted opportunity. Some Self Storage sites will take a deposit, and there’s evidence to show the more deposits you take, the more the reservation sticks with the customer.

When we book a holiday car online, we book a car type: small, medium, SUV, prestige, and the list goes on. Some car providers don’t allocate a car for your booking until the morning of or a few hours before your arrival – the reason is that you may not turn up or you may ring in and change your reservation. If the car companies were to allocate a car to you as soon as you booked, they would need thousands more cars in the booking pool.

It’s the same for Self Storage. Experienced operators understand that customer’s circumstances change, often a day before the reservation date. Some potential customers with a reservation don’t even call to say they don’t want the unit anymore, leaving the Self Storage operator with a lost opportunity.

SiteLink Web Edition deals with this conundrum by reserving a ‘unit type’. It’s not a lot different to that car company we were talking about earlier. Depending on how your unit types are entered into SiteLink, these could be small, medium, or large spaces.

RapidStor’s online move ins technology creates a reservation, even if the potential tenant doesn’t complete the booking.

A reservation is very similar to an online move in, with the exception that it’s more than a promise. Online move ins are the real deal.

A golden rule of Self Storage is ‘no money, no move in’. When Self Storage operators live by this motto, there are few problems that can occur with move ins.

Some operators attempt to move customers in for future dates without payment. This practice can cause problems, especially if the move in date is more than 48 hours into the future. When a move in has been completed, even without payment, that unit is removed from the rental pool. For the days up to the move in date, no revenue is received for that space; it’s not vacant but because it’s not paid for, it’s not rented either. You have a unit in limbo.

The best procedure for someone that wants to move in on a future date is to take a paid reservation, which could even be the full amount. SiteLink has this convenient feature.

Another important aspect of understanding the relationship between reservations and online move ins are your rights as an operator with respect to recovery and charging for storage under a standard agreement. It’s important to understand if a storer hasn’t signed an agreement, you have no right to seek payment for the use of the space or sell any items if payment is not made. It’s critical to get the agreement signed; there’s no contract for storage without a signed storage agreement.

Part of the agreement for Self Storage is that fees for Self Storage spaces are to be kept paid in advance, and a move in should only be processed if the payment has been made.

RapidStor’s Self Storage online move ins send an agreement to the storer that they can print out and sign.

So the right process to consider is:

  • If a customer wants to move in on a future date more than 48 hours away, process a reservation and take a full deposit.
  • If a customer wants to move in today or tomorrow, process a move in and take the payment.

RapidStor’s Self Storage online move ins even allows for a ‘Quick Reserve’ for those in a hurry.