Winter Weather Brings New Challenges To Facilities

Published on December 1, 2016
No matter where you live or where your self storage facility is located, winter months generally cause some potential challengers for storage facility operators. Now obviously challenges will differ quite a bit for a storage facility in Michigan as opposed to a facility in Florida, however each locations has different issues or concerns that can come up. Challenges can range from occupancy rates dropping, ice & snow damage, securing a facility during cold temps, climate controlled units, and much more.

Tips For Solving Cold Weather Related Issues

"The Storage Facilitator" from www.selfstorage.com offered up 9 tips for a more successful winter. These tips are designed for facilities having to deal with cold weather. Here are there tips:

1. Don’t be afraid to hire outside help. 
Chris Hitler, president of the Wisconsin Self Storage Association, said self-storage businesses in his state often hire help to keep their driveways clear of snow and ice. Hitler is a self-storage broker and manager. “The preparation is making sure you have a snow-removal solution in place, whether it be hiring an outside firm or having the equipment to do it yourself,” he said. It’s not fun to shovel out every time it snows, “but store managers realize we have to do that,” Kirwan said. It’s important to contact tenants before it snows to make sure they know whether you’re planning to clear snow and ice away from the doors of exterior units. Some self-storage operators and managers clear snow only from roads and driveways at the facility, not from in front of unit doors. In such cases, tenants should come prepared to do it themselves. 

2. Always be ready to serve customers. 
Most of the time, business goes on during severe fall and winter weather. If you have a plan in place for dealing with snow and ice, you won’t have to scramble to figure out what you need to do when a storm hits. It’s a mistake to assume that a storm or heavy snowfall will dissuade tenants from visiting their units, Hitler said. People often need to retrieve items or bring new things into storage at inconvenient times. “You have to be ready,” he said. Harold Dayton, manager of All American Self Storage in Brunswick, ME, said he makes sure each year that he has an agreement in place with a contractor to plow snow and spread sand over walkways at his facility. In Maine, the snowfall season can be lengthy. For veteran facility managers, preparing for fall and winter has become routine, Dayton said. “We’re so used to living with these things,” he said. “You get yourself mentally set for it and you just deal with it.” self-storage facility snow 

3. Get heating systems inspected before cold weather sets in. 
Kirwan said it’s a good idea to have a professional take a look at heaters to avoid any surprises, especially if you have climate-controlled units. Ask an expert to check to make sure your system will function reliably and safely through the winter. 

4. Find a roof repair service. 
Choose one with a good reputation that can respond on short notice, and keep that business’ phone number at the ready. Be sure to shovel the snow off roofs periodically, before the weight of the fluffy stuff causes structural damage. 

5. Clear out the gutters. 
If they are full of debris, dams may form and create enough weight to break the gutters when the water freezes, Kirwan said. 

6. Make sure all windows and doors are properly insulated. 
This will prevent drafts and save you money on your utility bills.  

7. Insulate water pipes to prevent freezing. 
A frozen water line can burst and cause flooding. 

8. Trim weak branches from trees. 
This can prevent them from breaking and then damaging buildings or power lines when weighted down by snow. 

9. Stock up on salt. 
Be prepared to treat walkways and driveways with salt when they begin to grow slippery from built-up ice.

Good luck with your winter weather and hopefully these tips can give you some extra ideas to help you be prepared for this storage season and to stay effective as a storage facility throughout the winter months.


Pierce, E. (2014, October 13). 9 tips for dealing with fall and winter weather at your facility. Retrieved December 01, 2016, from http://blog.selfstorage.com/self-storage-operations/tips-for-dealing-with-fall-and-winter-weather-at-storage-facilities-4687