Submitted to Investment Real Estate by Matt DePrato, Vice President of Affiliate Services, Storage Construction
So, you have a self storage facility or are planning to build or acquire one. You have all your ducks in a row and all operational items are planned out ready to go. You planned out your rent rates, office hours, gate hours, POS items, software, etc. However, there’s one operational item you might not have given much thought to: site security systems. There are several components that make up the realm of self storage security. They include CCTV cameras, security alarms, and most importantly, access control. Access control is one of the only active security features you’ll have on your site as compared to the passive systems like cameras and alarm systems. They only detect and report intrusions, whereas access control systems prevent them.
When planning for your overall site security system and how access control will integrate into this system, start with your first line of defense and work from there. Everything will flow more harmoniously if you think about your security in layers. First, you have your gate, the barricade to your self storage facility. Next, you have your keypads. These are the gatekeepers of your facility, managing access through your barricades. Both of which make up your access control system. Next, you have your cameras. The eyes of your facility, recording all the movements on your property. Finally, you have your alarm system. Typically, the last line of defense in your site security, armed to sound the alarm if all other measures are breached. Let’s run through a few tips to consider when installing access control at your site.
Your gate will typically be your first line of defense at your self storage property. It’s installed to prevent unwanted and unauthorized access to your facility. Customers will also appreciate the sense of security it advertises and the peace of mind knowing only authorized customers have access. To make sure your gate acts as a benefit, and not a detriment, think about its location relative to your building(s) and the road from which your site is accessed. Don’t place it too close to the road, or else customers will be hanging out in the road while pulling up to gain access. And don’t place it in an awkward area where customers must make difficult maneuvers to get through. You also want to make sure your rental office is located outside of the gate so that potential customers can reach you even if the gate is down and secured. It’s an added amenity to your self storage facility and should effectively function like one.
Next, you have your keypads. Keypads serve as your main access control and are truly the gatekeepers to your entire facility. They connect to your gate as well as your doors and other access points throughout your site to control entry to the entire property. They work in tandem with your management software to ensure access to your facility is only granted to authorized individuals and existing customers in good standing. When planning for access control keypads, think about all your different access points and how you would like to control them. If you have a gate, keypads are a must to control entry and exit through your gate. You can also place them at the entry doors to each of your buildings with interior storage units, controlling access to different zones of your facility for each of your customers.
Cameras and Alarm System
Additional security items include your cameras and alarm system. Consider installing a ‘license plate camera’ pointed at your gate. These cameras can zoom in on license plates in high definition as vehicles enter or exit your facility, which can be helpful if you need to investigate unwanted access to your site. Other than license plate cameras, its recommended, at a minimum, that you install cameras at each of your self storage facility’s access points to view entry and exit. Alarm systems can be used as the last line of defense in your security system and will typically be installed in your rental office area. If an unauthorized breach occurs, the alarm system can sound and even call out to the local police department.
Next time you’re planning your facility operations at your self storage property, remember to include access control and security as a major initiative. These systems are a benefit to you and your customers and provide peace of mind all around. Best of all, they advertise to would-be burglars that you’re serious about security.
If you want to learn more about upgrading your current or installing a new access control system for your self storage property, you can visit the Automated Security website, email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or give them a call at 610-873-0067 to get started today.
About the author:
Matt DePrato is the Vice President of Affiliate Services at Storage Construction, a design/build construction-management company he helped launch in 2015 which serves the mid-Atlantic and New England markets. Matt also oversees Storage Construction’s sister company, Automated Security, which provides sales, installation, and service of gates and security automation for the self storage industry. Matt also served as Director of Operations at PFG Capital and was responsible for the operations of a large self storage portfolio.