Newsletter for 1st Quarter 2009
(Winter 2009)
March 2009 - Issue 8
In This Issue
Quick Links

Everybody seems to like the idea of paying online. We're processing lots of credit card payments through our Online Payment program. There's more information about it in our Did You Know section below.

We're passing along some ideas about using mailings to your current or previous renters to try to drum up some new business. And we did some research on batteries because we all seem to have to use so many of them these days.

For better or worse, batteries have become an integral part of our life. We have batteries for our cell phones, cameras, MP3 players, laptops. And then there's toys. I keep searching for toys that aren't battery operated but I don't find very many. Worldwide we use over 15 billion batteries every year!

There are different types of batteries. The ones we most commonly deal with are:
  • Alkaline: These are the AA and AAA batteries that you use and then throw away. OK for a flashlight or a remote control device. Can be stored at room temperature.
  • Lithium: Long-life AA and AAA batteries. You still throw them away at some point but they last longer---the ads tell us seven times longer.
  • Nickel metal hydride (NiMH): Environmentally friendly rechargeable batteries. Best for digital cameras and portable music players, those high-drain electronic devices. Used in some laptops. Check out the mAh number. The higher this number, the more electrical energy it can store, so the longer it will last before needing to be recharged.
  • Lithium-ion (Li-ion): Also rechargeable. Have a higher voltage and can hold a charge longer. Typically used in laptop computers, cell phones, and digital cameras.

If you're going through a lot of batteries, whether it's AA, AAA, C, D, or 9 volt, you can save a lot of money and trips to the store by buying a charger and NiMH batteries. Some helpful hints:
  • Occasionally, use these batteries until they are completely discharged, then do a full charge.
  • Overcharging can damage these batteries so get a smart charger that won't continue to charge after the batteries are fully charged.
  • The other thing that can cause damage is leaving batteries in a device, like a flashlight, that is switched On after the battery has run down. Many toys have this problem. Best to remove the batteries if you're not going to use the item for awhile.
  • After your NiMH batteries are fully charged, store them in a tightly sealed plastic bag in the freezer. Let them come to room temperature before using. They'll retain a 90% charge for several months when stored this way. (Stored at 70 degrees they lose 40% of their charge within a month. And, the warmer it is, the faster the charge goes.)

Lithium-ion batteries are more complex and more expensive than NiMH batteries. But, they can store more energy for their size and weight and hold their charge longer, so they're often used in laptop computers and cell phones. Recently Hewlett Packard, Toshiba, and Dell recalled some of these batteries used in their Notebook computers because of a fire hazard. Most of these computers were sold in 2005 and 2006. Check this Consumer Product Safety Commission web page if you think you might have one: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09035.ht ml

About Li-Ion batteries:
  • The first 3 charges should be fully charge/fully discharge cycles. After that, Li-ion batteries should be charged early and often. They don't have the "memory effect" problem of other types of batteries.
  • Li-ion batteries will last a lot longer if kept cool. Storage capacity is lost 2-3 times faster at 77 degrees than at 32. So leaving that laptop in the hot trunk of your car is not doing it any good.
  • Use it or lose it. If you always have your laptop plugged in, unplug it occasionally and use the battery. Same for cell phones.
  • If you must store your Li-ion battery, charge it to about 40%, then put it in the fridge. Get it out and recharge it every few months. It'll last longer that way.

And, don't forget---all batteries should be recycled.
In these uncertain economic times everybody is looking for ways to attract new customers. NX.gen's Group Letters feature is a relatively inexpensive way to do some marketing directly to your current and/or previous renters. Take a look at the options in the Utilities/Group Letters process and decide which group you would like to send a letter to. Then, go to the Maintenance program, in the Reports, Letters section, and add a new Special Letter for that group.

You can select Business Accounts and write a letter that points out the cost of office space in your area compared with the cost of storage space at your facility. Take the time to look up the cost per square foot of office space and compare it to your storage cost. Explain that money could be saved by moving old files, unused furniture, tradeshow displays, anything that isn't used on a regular basis to storage. They may be able to reduce the size of their office or, at least, stop adding to it.

Send a coupon to all your customers saying that if they refer your store to someone who rents, they'll both get a discount. When you design the letter, you can make page two the coupon and print the customer's name and space number on it. Then, when the new renter brings it in, your customer gets the proper credit.

Create a letter for previous renters and send them a coupon too. Tell them that, if they come back and rent with you again they will get half off the first three months, the first month free, whatever discount you think will do the job. You can add that discount in the Maintenance program and keep track of how many renters you get from this promotion.

Of course, any announcement of store improvements, changes of hours, etc. can be easy with Group Letters too.

That NX.gen now has a Pay Online option? Your web page can link directly to our online payment page. We put your name and logo at the top so it matches your web page. When your renter enters his PIN, his name, address, email, balance and rent paid-thru date are displayed.

Credit card payments are entered directly on this Space Control online payment page. The charge is processed and the renter is emailed a receipt. This is a secure internet connection that meets all the new Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards.

Contact us today to get all the details about this great new feature. Call Gilbert Bohen at 800-663-8688 or return this email with your request and we'll have Gilbert give you a call.

The temperature is starting to climb in our part of the country. It's nice to see some warm, sunny days. We'll trust that your weather is improving too and that our economy will soon follow.

Ramona Taylor
Space Control Systems, Inc.

phone: 1-800-455-9055


Space Control Systems, Inc. | 206 Providence Mine Rd. | Suite 118 | Nevada City | CA | 95959