Television programs like Storage Wars often show large groups of people gathered at a self-storage facility for lien sales, events that were generally sparsely attended in the days before the self-storage industry found itself in the reality TV spotlight.
Lien sales are not the only reason your facility may draw a crowd. Hosting events at a self-storage facility is an excellent way to market your business to the public, network with prospective customers and spread some goodwill within the local community. Whether you’re planning an open house, charitable event, carnival, picnic, holiday party or other type of event, the goal is to encourage people to visit your property.
Beyond the necessities of lien sales and positive marketing benefits of neighborhood events, these situations could expose your business to risk that may not be covered by your existing businessowner’s insurance policy (BOP). The good news is that there are some simple and affordable steps you can take in advance of the event to protect your organization.
• Special Event Insurance – Many companies offer property and liability coverage for special events. These policies may address third-party property claims, host liquor liability, personal injury claims and many other event-day disasters that might occur related to the special event. Special event insurance policies typically are relatively inexpensive and many can be purchased the same day. This coverage benefits you by addressing the exposures of the event without putting your BOP coverage at risk. Your insurance agent will help you identify a policy that will address potential exposures for your specific event.
• Vendors and Concessionaires – If your event includes the use of vendors, food and beverage concessionaires, ride operators or other service providers, take precautions when contracting for their services. Each vendor should hold the appropriate licenses and insurance to operate at your event.
• Facility Preparation – The whole point of hosting an event is to draw a crowd, so take the time to prepare your facility for a large number of guests who are not visiting your property for normal business reasons. Be aware of occupancy restrictions and plan ahead to control attendees’ access to the facility where appropriate. Use signage and cones to direct members of the public to the area where the event will take place, make sure the parking area for attendees is clearly marked, and remove attractive nuisances such as golf carts.
The main purpose of a special event is to have fun, raise money if it is a charitable event, and introduce your self-storage facility to the local community. In order to be sure that everything goes smoothly, it is highly recommended that you take these precautions and consult your insurance agent and attorney to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance coverage and properly written agreements in place to protect your business, your customers and your guests.