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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TILT-A-WAY TILT-A-WAY TILT-A-WAY Beautiful, Secure Commercial and Residential Entryways Security Gates Heavy Duty Barrier Design Safety Features • Adjustable safety obstruction systems • Barrier locks in down position • UL325 listed • Battery back-up 2011 Harnish Blvd., Billings, Montana 59101 800-523-3888 or 406-656-4360 • email Celebrating over 50 years in the business – Since 1957 • email Dedicated Performance Competition Analysis Your self-storage manager should be knowledgeable about the storage offerings in the immediate market. Not only should he be a well-informed resource for tenants and potential customers, he should fully understand what competitors charge and provide so he can maintain your facility's position in the marketplace. Ask yourself the following: • Does the manager know the competitors in your area, and is he aware of the differentiators for each property? • Are competitors' prices tracked? • Are your public-facing rental rates adjusted regularly? • Does your facility offer promotions that are attractive to customers and competitive in your market? Knowing what your competitors are doing allows you to proactively sell your units. If a customer calls to price shop, a well-informed manager can steer the conversation to amenities, features and benefits. This builds trust with the customer and helps you beat the competition. Technology In today's competitive environment, you must use technology to keep your business operating at peak performance. Technological improvements not only increase inhouse efficiencies, they enhance the customer experience. Here are some important questions to ask: • Are you using technology to help with lead tracking and follow-up? • Are you using online auctions to ease the lien-sale burden? • Do you have an automated process for collections? • Are you using your management-software reports to gather and analyze data for better decision-making? • If you're using e-sign, self-serve kiosks or online rentals, how customer-friendly are these services? Is the billpay process working? Facility managers need processes and tools to make lead tracking and follow-up easy. This will lead to better closing rates and more tenants. Automating some processes, such as auctions, reporting and collections, can give your manager more time to focus on tenant needs. Tech tools can also enhance the customer experience and provide a competitive edge. Keep in mind, though, that when you roll out new tools, there must a must be a strategy in place to ensure they're implemented correctly and work properly. Disaster Preparedness No owner likes to think about worst-case scenarios, but it's critical that your managers know what to do in an emergency. In addition, local authorities should be familiar with your property and know how to access the site if necessary. Consider the following: • Do police, fre and other emergency responders have a code to access the property? • Do you have an emergency-preparedness manual? Is it updated regularly, and do all employees know what's in it? • Do you have an emergency kit at the ready with a fashlight, extra batteries, a frst-aid kit, printed copies of tenant leases, etc.? The ability to handle adverse situations calmly and quickly can save lives, and prevent liability and costly errors. Have a thorough disaster plan in place, and make sure managers are routinely trained on those policies and procedures. Applied together, these six categories create a thorough operational checklist that will help you identify any performance deficiencies. Use these key questions to create and implement training resources for your staff. If you can confidently answer them all, your business is likely operating efficiently. Go through the checklist at least once per quarter to ensure your employee and customer experience is optimized. Success in self-storage requires the integration of people, processes and technology. This checklist blends all three to maintain an optimal peak performance. Melissa Stiles is director of marketing for Storage Asset Management Inc., where she's responsible for the direction of marketing for the company and its 120-plus managed facilities. This includes the development and execution of local marketing plans, digital marketing, social media, advertising, public relations and special events. She's been a frequent presenter at state and national industry tradeshows. For more information, e-mail; visit 18 ISS I December 2018

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