October 16, 2023

Is SpareFoot Storage Worth It?

Text that reads, "Is SpareFoot worth it?"

Is SpareFoot worth it for self storage business owners? SpareFoot is hailed as the largest marketplace in the country for finding and reserving a storage unit. They offer an intuitive platform for business owners to list their units and for customers to effortlessly book a full storage space that caters to their needs. They pride themselves on simplifying the self-storage search process, making it less time-consuming and more convenient for business owners.

However, like any platform, SpareFoot comes with its own set of pros and cons. In this blog, we are going to cover SpareFoot’s offerings, dissecting its advantages and drawbacks for self-storage business owners. We will dive into the nitty-gritty of SpareFoot's fee structure, exploring how their service compares to other advertising avenues.

We will also take a look at alternative platforms and advertising channels, giving self-storage business owners the insights needed to make an informed decision. Is SpareFoot a worthy avenue for self-storage business owners seeking to elevate their visibility and customer base? Let's find out!

Overview of SpareFoot and Service Offerings

SpareFoot has carved a niche for itself as a significant player in the self-storage digital marketplace. Established in 2008, SpareFoot has now become the largest marketplace for finding and reserving self-storage units. But what exactly is SpareFoot, and more importantly how does it cater to the needs of self-storage business owners?

What Is SpareFoot?

At its core, SpareFoot serves as a bridge connecting individuals in need of a storage unit solutions with self-storage facilities. The platform boasts a listing of more than 10,000 storage facilities nationwide. By enlisting on SpareFoot, self-storage business owners can showcase their units to a large audience of consumers seeking storage solutions. The platform's user-friendly interface allows potential customers to compare prices, location, and features of various storage units, facilitating a well-informed decision.

SpareFoot also offers a suite of services aimed at supporting operations and customer reach. These services include online reservations, a call center to assist with customer inquiries, and a review system that allows customers to leave feedback about their experience.

The platform also integrates with popular management software used in the self-storage industry, thereby ensuring a smooth operational workflow. Through the aggregation of various management tools and customer-facing features, SpareFoot provides a one-stop solution for self-storage business owners aiming to enhance their online visibility, security and operational efficiency.

Advantages of Using SpareFoot

In this section we will explore the key advantages of leveraging SpareFoot for self-storage listings, shedding light on how it optimizes visibility, streamlines booking processes, fosters customer trust through reviews, supports marketing efforts, provides customer support, and offers a user-friendly interface for both website and mobile app users.

1. Increased Visibility

  • Broad Audience Reach: SpareFoot's vast network attracts a significant number of individuals seeking storage solutions daily. By listing on SpareFoot, self-storage facilities can expose their units to a wider audience, significantly enhancing their market reach.
  • SEO Benefits: SpareFoot's investment in SEO ensures high rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs), translating to higher visibility for listed self-storage facilities.
  • Partner Networks: Partnerships with real estate and moving companies further broaden the reach, providing an expanded customer base for self-storage facilities.

2. Convenient Booking System

  • Online Reservations: A seamless online reservation system simplifies the booking process, allowing prospective customers to browse, compare, and reserve storage units effortlessly.
  • Real-Time Availability and Pricing: Real-time updates on unit availability and pricing ensure transparency, aiding in customer decision-making.
  • Integrated Management Software: The platform’s integration with popular management software streamlines the booking process for both business owners and customers.

3. Customer Reviews

  • Building Trust: The review system on SpareFoot allows satisfied customers to share their experiences, fostering trust and credibility for the self-storage facilities.
  • Valuable Feedback: Reviews serve as a feedback mechanism, offering insights for business owners on areas of improvement, promoting a culture of continuous enhancement in service quality.

4. Marketing Support

  • Professional Listing: Assistance in creating professional, appealing listings enhances the attractiveness of the self-storage facilities to potential customers.
  • Promotional Offers: The platform supports promotional offers, attracting new customers especially during peak moving seasons or in highly competitive markets. This can be military discounts or deals for college students.

5. Customer Support

  • Dedicated Call Center: A call center service handles phone inquiries, enhancing customer experience while alleviating operational burdens on self-storage facility staff.
  • Online Support: Online support for both business owners and customers ensures a smooth experience from browsing to booking and beyond.

6. Website and Mobile App Usability

  • Intuitive Interface: The user-friendly design of the SpareFoot website and mobile app facilitates easy navigation through various sections, enabling quick access to needed information.
  • Enhanced User Experience: Features like filtering and sorting aid in narrowing down options based on personal preferences, enriching the user experience. For example, a person may be filter for climate controlled units or an rv storage unit.

Drawbacks of Using SpareFoot

While SpareFoot provides an accessible and appealing platform for self-storage business owners to showcase their facilities to a wider audience, it is not without its challenges. This section delineates the challenges and considerations associated with listing on SpareFoot, aiming to provide a balanced view to self-storage business owners evaluating the pros and cons of utilizing this platform for customer acquisition and business growth.

1. High Costs and Commission Fees

  • Commission Structure: A significant portion of the revenue from each booking goes to SpareFoot due to its commission structure, potentially eating into the profits of small to medium-sized self-storage facilities.
  • Pay-Per-Lead Model: Their business model is designed to charge for every customer lead generated through their platform. This can become costly, especially during times of lower conversion rates.
  • Subscription Fees: Additional subscription fees or premiums for enhanced listings could further increase the cost of acquiring customers through this platform.

2. Advertising Competition

  • Increased Exposure to Competitors: The platform hosts multiple self-storage businesses, potentially diverting customers to competitors with lower prices or better reviews.
  • Price Wars: Facilitated price comparisons could lead to price wars, eroding profit margins for the listed self-storage facilities.

3. Platform Dependency

  • Policy Changes: Changes in SpareFoot’s terms of service or fee structure could adversely affect self-storage business owners, possibly leading to decreased visibility or increased costs.
  • Technical Glitches: Any downtimes or technical issues on SpareFoot's platform could directly impact the businesses listed there.

4. Lack of Local SEO Benefits

  • Traffic Diversion: Traffic is directed to SpareFoot’s platform instead of the business's website, undermining a business's Local SEO efforts and potentially leading to a loss in local market share.

5. Customer Ownership Issues

  • Control Over Customer Data: The relinquishment of control over customer data impedes the development of long-term relationships, crucial for customer retention and repeat business.
  • Targeted Marketing: Without direct access to customer data, business owners may miss out on opportunities for targeted marketing efforts and understanding consumer behavior.

Alternatives to SpareFoot

SpareFoot is not the sole player, there are other platforms and advertising channels through which self-storage business owners can extend their reach. This section explores various alternatives to SpareFoot, shedding light on their features, cost structures, and potential benefits.

  1. Other Online Platforms
    • Self-Storage Directories: Discuss platforms like Storage.com or USstoragesearch.com that specialize in listing self-storage facilities.
    • General Listing Platforms: Explore general listing platforms like Yelp or Google My Business that allow for self-storage facility listings among other business types.
    • Real Estate Platforms: Delve into platforms like Zillow or Realtor.com that, through partnerships, might provide avenues for advertising self-storage facilities.
  2. Traditional Advertising Channels
    • Local Newspapers and Magazines: Explore the cost and reach of advertising in local print media.
    • Radio and Television Advertising: Discuss the broader reach but potentially higher cost of radio and TV advertising.
    • Direct Mail: Explore the targeted nature and cost-effectiveness of direct mail advertising.
  3. Local Partnerships and Networking
    • Real Estate Agencies: Discuss forming partnerships with local real estate agencies to refer customers in need of storage solutions.
    • Moving Companies: Explore the synergies and referral opportunities when partnering with moving companies.
    • Community Events: Delve into the potential of participating in or sponsoring local community events to raise awareness and build a local customer base.
  4. Digital Marketing Strategies
    • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Discuss the importance and benefits of optimizing the self-storage facility’s website for search engines to attract organic traffic.
    • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: Explore the immediate visibility and cost structures associated with PPC advertising on platforms like Google Ads for your self-storage business.
    • Social Media Advertising: Delve into the potential reach and engagement through advertising on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.
  5. Customer Referral Programs
    • Referral Discounts: Discuss implementing a customer referral program that offers discounts to existing customers for referring new customers.
    • Community Engagement: Explore engaging with the local community through social programs or charity events to build a positive reputation and encourage word-of-mouth referrals.
  6. On-Site Signage and Billboards
    • Visibility: Discuss the traditional yet effective method of using on-site signage and billboards to attract local customers.
  7. Industry Associations and Expos
    • Networking: Delve into the benefits of networking with industry peers at self-storage associations or expos to build relationships and gain referrals.

Each alternative comes with its unique set of advantages and challenges. While some may offer cost-effective solutions, others might provide a broader reach or a more targeted approach. Understanding the landscape of alternatives provides self-storage business owners with a broader perspective and more options to tailor their marketing strategy in alignment with their own storage needs, business goals and budget constraints.

Comparing Alternatives

Navigating through the myriad of advertising options can be a daunting endeavor for self-storage business owners. Understanding the comparative advantages, costs, and reach of these platforms is crucial for making informed decisions. This section provides a comparative analysis between SpareFoot, other online platforms, and traditional advertising channels, aiding in drawing a clearer picture of what each avenue offers.

  1. Cost Comparison
    • Cost Per Lead: Compare the cost per lead generated through SpareFoot, other online platforms, and traditional advertising channels to provide a clear perspective on cost-effectiveness.
    • Setup and Maintenance Costs: Delve into the setup, subscription, and maintenance costs associated with each platform and advertising channel.
  2. Reach and Visibility
    • Audience Size: Discuss the potential reach of each platform and traditional advertising channel, emphasizing the demographic and geographic reach.
    • SEO and Online Visibility: Compare the SEO benefits and online visibility provided by SpareFoot and other online platforms.
  3. Customer Engagement and Reviews
    • Review Management: Compare the review management features offered by SpareFoot and other online platforms, emphasizing the impact on building trust and credibility.
    • Customer Interaction: Explore the level of direct customer interaction and relationship building possible through each platform and advertising channel.
  4. Integration and Operational Ease
    • Management Software Integration: Compare the ease of integrating management software and other operational tools with SpareFoot and other online platforms.
    • Booking and Reservation Management: Delve into the booking and reservation management features provided by each platform and how they compare in terms of operational ease and efficiency.
  5. Promotional Opportunities
    • Promotion and Discount Management: Compare the promotional opportunities and discount management features offered by SpareFoot and other online platforms.
    • Local Promotions: Discuss the potential for local promotions through traditional advertising channels and community engagement.
  6. Analytics and Performance Tracking
    • Performance Analytics: Explore the analytics and performance tracking features provided by SpareFoot and other online platforms, emphasizing the importance of data-driven decision-making.
    • ROI Tracking: Discuss the possibilities for tracking return on investment through each platform and advertising channel.
  7. Policy Adherence and Control
    • Platform Policies: Compare the policy adherence requirements and the level of control self-storage business owners have over their listings and advertising campaigns across different platforms and channels.
  8. Innovation and Future-Proofing
    • Technological Innovations: Discuss the pace of technological innovation and future-proofing offered by SpareFoot and other online platforms in comparison to traditional advertising channels.

This comparative analysis aims to provide a holistic view of the advertising landscape, enabling self-storage business owners to weigh the pros and cons of SpareFoot against other advertising options. By delineating the costs, reach, operational ease, and other critical factors, this section endeavors to equip business owners with the insights needed to make an informed decision that aligns with their business objectives and budget constraints.

Benefits of Alternative Strategies

In an evolving digital marketplace, diversification is key to sustaining and growing a self-storage business. Relying solely on third-party platforms like SpareFoot may expose business owners to unforeseen risks and potentially higher costs. By adopting a mix of alternative marketing strategies, self-storage business owners can achieve better control over their customer acquisition channels, potentially lower marketing costs, and foster a deeper connection with their local community. The following elaborates on some of these alternative strategies:

  1. Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization):
    • Enhanced Local Visibility: Local SEO targets the community surrounding the business, improving visibility in local search results. By optimizing for keywords that local customers are likely to use, and by managing local business listings like Google My Business, self-storage facilities can attract more organic traffic from nearby customers.
    • Cost-Effectiveness: Unlike paid advertising, the benefits of local SEO continue long after SEO efforts are made, offering a cost-effective way to attract local customers over time.
  2. Social Media Marketing:
    • Direct Customer Engagement: Social media platforms provide a direct line of communication between businesses and customers. By actively engaging with customers on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, self-storage businesses can build a community around their brand.
    • Targeted Advertising: Social media platforms offer robust advertising platforms that allow for highly targeted advertising based on demographics, interests, and behaviors.
  3. Email Marketing:
    • Customer Retention: Email campaigns can be used to keep previous and current customers informed about special offers, company news, and helpful tips, encouraging repeat business.
    • Personalization and Segmentation: Email marketing allows for personalization and segmentation, enabling businesses to send relevant messages to different segments of their audience.
  4. Community Engagement:
    • Local Relationship Building: Engaging with the local community through sponsorships, local events, or partnerships with other local businesses can foster strong relationships and build a positive reputation.
    • Word-of-Mouth Referrals: Community engagement often leads to word-of-mouth referrals, which are incredibly valuable in building trust and attracting new customers.
  5. Content Marketing:
    • Educational Content: Providing useful and educational content through a business blog or other channels can help self-storage businesses establish authority and help customers solve problems.
    • SEO Benefits: Regularly publishing relevant and quality content can also improve a website’s SEO, leading to increased organic traffic over time.
  6. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising:
    • Immediate Visibility: Unlike SEO, which takes time to yield results, PPC advertising can provide immediate visibility on search engines, helping to attract customers quickly when opening a new facility or looking to fill units rapidly.
    • Budget Control: PPC allows for precise budget control, enabling self-storage businesses to manage costs effectively.

Diversifying marketing strategies to include a combination of organic and paid channels, both online and offline, allows self-storage business owners to build a more resilient and adaptable marketing approach. It reduces dependency on any single platform like SpareFoot, and often leads to a more sustainable and cost-effective model for customer acquisition and retention. Moreover, it allows for the cultivation of direct relationships with customers, which is crucial for building loyalty and understanding customer needs more intimately.

This expanded section delves into various alternative marketing strategies, explaining their benefits and how they compare to relying solely on third-party platforms like SpareFoot.


So there you have it! You are now equipped with the information you need to understand if SpareFoot is worth it for you and your storage business or not. It's imperative that business owners evaluate the costs and benefits of employing platforms like SpareFoot, and consider diversifying their marketing strategies to foster a more sustainable and autonomous operational framework.

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