M icon
The Last Word
man in a suit jacket, light blue collared shirt, denim blue jeans, and black shoes
Snail’s Pace Of Acceptance
By Kelly Gallacher, co-founder of Gallacher Development LLC

n the year 2000, a not so well-known revenue option came to the forefront of the self-storage industry: “tenant insurance.” Public Storage had been marketing to their tenants an insurance policy for the items stored within their units. This was met with skepticism by most of the industry as a “fad” that wouldn’t last, yet some visionaries saw the potential.

It took approximately 10 years before tenant insurance became an accepted enhancement benefiting both owners and tenants. Many operators were slow to adopt the program for fear of losing occupancy. Things began to change when accumulated data proved acceptance of the tenant insurance had not decreased occupancy. Tenant insurance was sold as a protection to the customer. With time and additional data, appraisers and banks began accepting tenant insurance as a revenue source that allowed it to be capitalized based on percentage of penetration. Today, tenant insurance is widely accepted and neglecting to provide tenant insurance is seen as a sign of an uninformed owner/operator.

Storage Express pioneered the “unmanned” facility years ago; their concept intrigued most of the industry, yet once again acceptance was suspect.

Approximately three-plus years ago, I received a phone call about an interesting company called StoreEase. It was recommended that I talk with Josh Boyd, CEO, and decide whether the concept had merit. I visited StoreEase’s Birmingham headquarters in 2020. When I first walked into the StoreEase facility, I was warmly greeted by a virtual manager. The experience changed the way I looked at the unmanned model.

While developing an 85,000-square-foot facility in the Salt Lake City area, we jumped all in and incorporated StoreEase from the beginning, including the office design, security, and operational functions. Even though this was a brand-new development and would be managed without a manager on site, having seen StoreEase’s operating facilities and the excellence of their virtual managers, we concluded it was worth the risk. Being a Janus loyalist and knowing that StoreEase had a relationship with Nokē, we confidently pressed forward.

We’ve been open for 14 months and are over 40 percent leased. I’ve spoken with over 40 tenants about their experience, and each was pleased with the simplicity and professionalism of the process. We have all five-star reviews for our property; tenants love the virtual “two-minute move-in.” I endorse this management format for these and additional reasons. Others might suggest concerns, including facility size or demographics, but I believe they’ll eventually see the benefits and this concept will continue to gain acceptance. I just hope it doesn’t take 10 years!