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Foy & Company

Cost Effective Marketing

March 24th, 2009

The inside self-storage blog posted a clever marketing initiative that takes advantage of the Easter holiday.   We have previously discussed community involvement and what that can do to help market your facility.  The inside self – storage post discusses a facility that is making use of the upcoming holiday to raise funds for a local school art department by hosting an Easter egg hunt and art exhibition.   

The facility, along with its local art league, invited community artists to submit giant eggs made from various mediums.  Community members are then invited to join an egg hunt and help judges decide the winners of the giant egg art competition.

The idea is an interesting example of a cost effective marketing initiative.  It not only allows a facility access to potential consumers but also provides free marketing.

http://www.insideselfstorage.com/blogs/teri/blogdefault.aspx 

Public Storage

March 18th, 2009

Public Storage reported their rental income slightly up in 2008 over income made in 2007.   Although the year-end demonstrated an increase, the company ended the last quarter at a 2.2% rental income decrease compared to the same period the previous year. Overall the company’s net operating income increased only 1.9 %.    Operations and management fees also increased which had an adverse effect on profits. 

Throughout the year, occupancy levels decreased, while annualized rent per square foot increased by .4%. 

The outcome for the year-end demonstrates the increasing uncertainty towards the later part of the year.  However, the public company does appear to be adjusting to the changing economy. 

Public Storage is the only publicly traded company that is currently reporting their financials.

No Cost Marketing

January 9th, 2009

Times are changing and the industry is adjusting to a new economy.  Running an effective and efficient business is necessary particularly during potentially bumpy times.

One of the most cost effective marketing tools your facility has is right in your building – your Tenants!!

A referral program is one of the best ways of attracting new customers.  It can be as simple or as elaborate as you see fit, but the key is to let your tenants know you care about them, appreciate their business, and are doing your best to ensure their belongs are safe.

A program can beginning by referral recognition.  Thank and post the names of tenants who have referred people to your business.  You can display names somewhere in the office entrance or if you send out a monthly newsletter or brief, make room for some tenant appreciation. 

Another approach is to greet tenants who are moving in or out with a bottle of water in the hot months, or a warm beverage in the cold months.  If they are moving in provide a welcome note, or if they are leaving send them off with a thank you card.

Tenant rewards for referrals may also be well received.  Offering a small concession or discount to a tenant that referred business will certainly demonstrate your appreciation.

There are easy ways to show your tenants you care, and the business you may receive in return will demonstrate how well your efforts have paid off. 

Instorage enters into support agreement

December 12th, 2008

On December 9th, Instorage entered into a support agreement with CSP, in which CSP agreed to make an all-cash offer to purchase all units of Instorage that they do not already own by way of a negoitated take over bid.

Click here for the Press Release:

http://www.snl.com/irweblinkx/file.aspx?IID=4160147&FID=70905488

 

Uhaul’s Sustainability Program

December 12th, 2008

Uhaul is one large company taking a large look at their environmental impact. The company has done much to reduce their carbon emissions as well as reuse and recycle materials.  Their commitment to the environment is impressive while seemingly cost effective.

On the company¹s website they specify their mission. They have developed a structured environment management plan that allows them to focus and improve initiatives.  Their plan outlines a commitment to use permeable ground cover that allows rain and run off water to permeate the ground rather than sitting on top of ashphalt or cement. Not only does this help storm water effectively enter the ground it also avoids the production of concrete which emits 1 tonne of carbon dioxide for every one tonne of concrete.

Other programs include reusing building materials to build facilities, reducing water consumption, using energystar efficient heating and cooling systems, and environmental friendly cleaning products, and offering customers biodegradable packing products.

Considerations are also made to the design of buildings so they are able to take advantage of natural solar energy during daylight hours, rather than using artificial light.

 To find out more about the Uhaul program click here:

http://www.uhaul.com/about/corporate_sustainability/environment/default.aspx

 

Self Storage eco-design

December 11th, 2008

Its catching on – more and more storage owners are interested in going green.  Eco-friendly facility design, and programs are popping up everywhere.   The most recent report on design comes out of Vancouver.  Vancouver Self-Storage not only has a green slant, its design is also unique.  Started from shipping containers the owners did not build but acquired, seemingly as the business grew.  The containers in effect represent the first steps in environmental design –  reduce and reuse. 

Tami Reilly, a marketing consultant, was asked to manage the facility, and in doing so researched and transformed the site to an environmental landmark.  The facility “includes outdoor vegetable gardens, room for birds and an office complete with dual-flush toilets, double-glazed windows, bamboo plywood and radiant-heated floors.”

The article posted in the Vancouver Courier, describes a very interesting, environmental self – storage endevour, and one that appears to be paying off.

To read more go to: http://www.canada.com/vancouvercourier/news/story.html?id=cf5e497a-8a61-4580-828e-14c020de3103&p=1

Is It A Good Time To Expand?

December 1st, 2008

The market slowdown has definitely had an impact, however it has also started to create very interesting opportunities.  As in any slowdown, it is not a time for the inexperienced. If you are thinking of buying into Self-Storage it is essential that you know how to run, improve, develop and grow in this type of market.

However, for the experienced owner and operator this may be a good time to find some well priced investments. Inside Self-Storage recently posted an article by Michael L. McCune, that outlines the benefits of acquiring a facility during a slowdown.  There are definitely some big attractions, such as acquiring a “quality, well-occupied property at an attractive price, earning handsome cash-on –cash returns, and having something with significant upside potential when the market improves”.  The market in Canada certainly differs from the U.S., however it is true that this down turn will provide some great opportunities.  In Alberta the cost of land has decreased considerably, making it easier for interested owners to acquire prime site locations, while in Montreal industrial space that may be good for self – storage conversion, should start to open up at very attractive prices.

The down side to this is that loan amounts are smaller, meaning the you will have to have more equity on hand, but you should be able to earn a good return on that equity.

The other interesting side to all of this, is that StatsCan also just reported an increase in consumer spending during the month of September.  People are consuming, meaning they still need space to store.  Spending sprees may not continue, as elsewhere reports state that consumer spending has stalled, however this just might be the right time to start looking into interesting opportunities and growing your investment portfolio.

For more information on financing in Canada look at our in article on Self-Storage Financing in our News section.

Insurance - Property values - what limit to insure for…

October 3rd, 2008

Market Value, Replacement Cost, Appraised Value, Reconstruction Cost, Depreciated Value…
 


What is the difference between the 5 terms identified above?
 


Market Value: I would define as what a property should/could sell for based on market trends and recent sales activity comparing similar type properties in similar demographics.
 


Replacement Cost: Typically defined as what it would cost to replace something of like quality & Material.
 


Appraised Value:  Could be market value, depreciated/book value or replacement cost. 


Reconstruction Cost: The cost to rebuild a similar building on an existing site where another building has been damaged or destroyed.  This could be significantly higher than the other values identified in the other 4 categories.  Many times there can be additional costs to consider such as:
 


 

  • 1. Debris Removal & Demolition – could be 5% or move of the value of the building
  
  • 2. Timing – Insurance companies want to reconstruct as soon as possible as most times they are paying lost revenue as part of the claim as well as the repairs or replacement.  They want to reconstruct or repair as quickly as possible to allow customer to resume operations with limited interruption.  This can result in higher cost for both labour & materials.  
  • 
3. Fees – Architects, accountants, contractors, etc.  They all add up and may carry surcharges for urgency.

  • 4. Inflation – It’s everywhere and affects all aspects of a project.  Can be as high as 20% annually given      recent experience in cost of steel.



Depreciated Value: Also known as book value, typically derived from original cost of property less depreciation.  This is designed for tax purposes and generally has no other relevance to most people. Might be the amount settled on with an insurance company in the event that a property is not to be rebuilt.
 


What does all of this mean to you?
 


If you own a storage facility or another type of property that has buildings on it (including your home), you may be surprised as to what the reconstruction costs could be.
 


I encourage you to give this some thought so that if something unfortunate happens, you will have adequate coverage with your insurance program.
 


Underinsured losses are common and the items outlined in Reconstruction Costs above are typically the cause. 

 

Submitted by:

Tobias (Toby) Struewing 
Commercial Account Executive
Cowan Insurance Brokers Limited
Phone:  

519-650-6363 ext. 41260   1-877-578-6030
  Fax: 519-650-6366 
Email: toby.struewing@cowangroup.ca
 Website: www.cowangroup.ca 

 

Second Quarter Reports Show Strong Growth

September 15th, 2008

Public Storage:

Public Storage performed well during the Q2.  At three months ending June 30th, they reported increases in rental income from their same store facilities, which are primarily located in British Columbia and Ontario.

The following is a summary of Public Storage’s same store performance:

B.C.’s rental income increased 1.3 % from the same period reported in 2007.

Ontario’s rental income increased 5.9 % from the same period reported in 2007.

Overall rental incomes were up 5.1% from the previous year.

The company also reported an increase in their NOI of 6.5% from the same period in the previous year, as well as an increase in their gross margins of .9%.

Occupancy did decrease .6%, however this decrease may be attributed to a large increase in realized rent per sq.ft., which increased 5.8% over the same period in 2007.

Information was collected from the MD&A report published on Sedar.

Instorage:

Instorage did not report same store information.  Their MD& A included all properties.

The following table demonstrates the average occupancies and rents for all their properties in four provinces.

This table was taken from the actual MD&A report found on Sedar.

Portfolio Average Rents and Occupancy by Geography

 

Three months ended June 30, 2008

Three months ended June 30, 2008

Three months ended June 30, 2007

Three months ended June 30, 2007

Province

 

Average

Occupancy

 

Average

Rent per

Sq. Ft.

 

Average

Occupancy

 

Average

Rent per

Sq. Ft.

 

Alberta

81%

$17.50

87%

$14.92

Ontario

74%

$20.00

79%

$18.71

 

Quebec

86%

$15.00

92%

$14.64

 

Saskatchewan

86%

$13.54

85%

$10.47

 

Total

78%

$18.16

82%

$16.94

 

 

Self-Storage pulls ahead according to CMBS study

August 11th, 2008

The Commercial Mortgage Securities Association recently conducted a study on Loan Performances through January 2008.  The study reveals the ten year cumulative default and loss rates for various property types in the United States.  Not surprisingly Self-Storage has outperformed all property classes. The default and loss rate for self-storage is considerably less compared to: Multifamily, Industrial, Office, and Retail.

The research states “self-storage has proved to be the best performing of the property sectors with estimated cumulative defaults and losses at 2.02% and 0.08% respectively.  The sector has minimal losses and continues to perform well” (Lancaster, Brian. P. Sr. et al. The 2008 CMBS Default and Loss Study: Loan Performance Through January 2008.  p. 35. Commercial Mortgage Securities Association. www.cmbs.org).

To put the self -storage default and loss in perspective, multifamily had a cumulative default of 8.38% and cumulative loss of 1.12%.  The margins for the remaining property types are similarly substantial.  

For more information about the study or to obtain the full study please visit:

http://www.cmbs.org/