July 22, 2020 – Phoenix, AZ, OpenTech Alliance, the leading developer of innovative smart-connected technology solutions for the self storage industry, helped Northwest Self Storage reduce operational inefficiencies to create a seamless lien enforcement process with StorageTreasures.com. Since the company started using online auctions in 2017, they’ve not only seen great returns, but have also leveraged StorageTreasures to reduce the number of units that go to auction at all.
With over 40 years operating nearly 100 self storage facilities throughout the Pacific Northwest, National Storage Affiliates (NYSE: NSA) partner Northwest Self Storage was no stranger to the challenges and potential pitfalls that accompany the lien process. Paul Johnson, Operations & Technology Manager for Northwest Self Storage, identified the top three benefits StorageTreasures.com has brought to their business since their switch from live auctions: 1) improved returns; 2) an increase in tenants who settle accounts prior to the sale; and 3) decreased liability and headache from live auctions. “StorageTreasures has streamlined everything we do throughout the lien process,” stated Johnson. “It made us look at how we manage auctions in general and freed us up to evaluate and refine these internal processes. Now that we have it down to a science, our delinquent rate has been as low as 1 percent at times.”
In every aspect, Northwest reports greater returns from online auctions than they did from live – including higher auction prices, a greater number of tenants that settle delinquent accounts and a significant return of employee time previously devoted to auctions and the lien process overall. “We get a better return on our loss recovery – definitely more than we were getting from live auctions onsite,” stated Johnson. “Plus, with the trackability and reporting that’s inherent with the StorageTreasures site, and the guidance and insights provided by our account manager, the auction process has become more efficient overall.
What have not increased are the liability and challenges that typically accompany storage auctions – throughout the lien process or from the auction itself – quite the opposite. “We used to hold live auctions – what a headache,” stated Johnson. “Now, we don’t have to deal with 30 bidders onsite. There’s less liability with people being on the property, and we never have to cancel auctions because we don’t have enough bidders show up. We also find buyers leave less trash on the property because of the deposit required and the fact that they could be banned from the StorageTreasures platform. The conversation around what is expected happens before they even bid on a unit. It makes the whole process easier, and we’ve consistently seen better bidder behavior overall.”
Ranked as one of the top 25 self storage operators in the country, Northwest Self Storage attributes much of their growth over the years to their ability to embrace change and commitment to always give 100%. Though they initially inherited online auctions with a group of acquired properties, they embraced the benefits of this new process and took it one step further to ensure they were employing the best solution for their business. “We would absolutely recommend StorageTreasures to any operator looking to improve their auction process,” stated Nate Schwalbach, VP of Operations for Northwest Self Storage.
“We work hard to provide value to our storage partners, and truly consider it a success when an operator comes to us and says ‘Your product made my operation better’,” stated Chelsea Horne, StorageTreasures Product Owner. “As our industry faces new challenges from auctions brought on by COVID-19, we’re grateful for the ability to provide added value for our partners by providing a solution that can not only make the auction process easier to manage (even from afar), but also reduces safety concerns for facilities and bidders alike.”