Inside Self-Storage

DEC 2018

Inside Self-Storage (ISS) is an information source for industry owners, managers, developers and investors covering news, trends, facility operation, finance, real estate, construction, development, marketing, technology, insurance and legality.

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Page 17 of 55

No matter how long you've been running a self-storage facility, a solid operations checklist can ensure you regularly review key areas for peak performance. There are hundreds of activities that occur at a storage facility each day. Following a strategic list of concerns helps prevent items from slipping through the cracks. A strong list should focus on these six categories: site maintenance, customer experience, policies and procedures, competition analysis, technology and disaster preparedness. Though not definitive, the following sections cover the critical questions that must be answered to ensure your business runs smoothly. Site Maintenance Using a checklist as a maintenance guide not only helps prevent problems, it allows for easier resolution when issues do arise. The key concerns here include: • Have capital projects been identif ed? • Is there a system in place for facility managers to communicate about maintenance needs? • Is there a system in place to manage maintenance tasks and follow-ups? • Is there a basic cleaning schedule in place? • Is there a schedule that outlines which tasks should be handled weekly (cleaning the elevators), monthly (testing emergency lights), quarterly (replacing HVAC f lters) and annually (f re-extinguisher inspections)? • Does the manager have easily accessible contacts for handling issues with the facility gate, software, HVAC system, etc.? All these items amount to awareness. Keeping a detailed record of capital projects will help you remember them during budget season. Similarly, a system that allows managers to oversee and communicate the needs of the facility office, buildings and other structures allows them to track issues and resolve them swiftly. Managers should also have the contact information they need to quickly spring to action when an incident occurs. Putting items on a schedule to be tested, cleaned, replaced or inspected, and keeping detailed records, are the keys to preventive maintenance. This helps ensure all company protocols are followed and prevents tasks from being overlooked. A strategic maintenance plan eliminates downtime from broken equipment and allows the facility to operate at its best. Customer Experience When a customer comes to your facility, what does he experience? The first impression your site gives must be welcoming and assure prospects they've chosen the right place. This portion of the checklist helps ensure you give customers the best service possible. Among the key questions to ask are: • Does the store have good curb appeal? Is landscaping neat and well-painted? Is the property free of debris and dust? • Does the look and feel of the property match what's presented on the website? • Is the manager personable and service-oriented? • Is the manager aware of online vs. in-person specials? • How quickly are leads followed up? Are there goals to improve closing rates? • Are marketing f iers printed clearly and professionally? • Do you offer a welcome packet for customers, for both in-person and after-hours rentals? • Are all signs correct and appropriately lit? • Do all the lights work? Today's customers expect a connected experience. All touchpoints must be cohesive, with the digital experience echoing the one someone gets when visiting in person. The above questions are meant to ensure customers have a great encounter with your business, no matter how or where they're engaged. If one touchpoint fails, you risk losing the rental. Policies and Procedures It's critical to ensure your policies and procedures comply with state law and support your operational model. Ask these important questions: • Is the manager performing a daily walk-through to note any anomalies on the property? • Are all units secure? • Are overlocks used when warranted and in adherence to policy? • Does your rental agreement address all your operational processes? • Does your lease comply with all legalities of your state? • Is your lien process correct? • Do you have and use a foreclosure checklist? Procedures allow the manager to be proactive in ensuring the property is functioning as it should. A daily walk-through will allow him to notice anything that may indicate security has been compromised. Legal compliance isn't an option. Managers should follow company policies to ensure the site is secure and conforms to protocol. Six operation categories that should be on your checklist By Melissa Stiles Running at Peak Performance 16 ISS I December 2018

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