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 27 of 55

W hen I was younger, I used to read a comic strip called "The Family Circus," which revolved around a mother, father and four young children. With that many kids, crazy things were bound to happen: broken dishes, baseballs through windows and muddy dogs running through the house. Every time the parents would investigate an issue, they'd get the standard kid response: "Not me," "I don't know" or "Nobody." Comic creator Bil Keane even drew in little invisible ghosts with these names to represent the guilty parties. If you're a self-storage owner, I'm sure you've had experiences like these with your staff. As funny as it is to put the blame on a nameless apparition in a comic strip, finger-pointing is alive and well in the workplace. It's common to hear employees say things like, "I didn't know we were supposed to xyz," "Nobody told me to do xyz" or "Whoever did xyz, it wasn't me." To combat this behavior, it's important to implement specific policies and procedures for your self-storage business and hold staff accountable for them. Put them in writing so they're clear and accessible. Think of these rules as a book of recipes containing all the ingredients, measurements and instructions necessary to create the perfect operation. Making a List To figure out what should go into your policies and procedures manual, grab a pen and paper and build an outline. Start by reviewing all daily tasks, from the moment your manager arrives to the time he leaves at the end of the day. Self-storage has quite a few moving parts, so don't take anything for granted. Include even obvious items such as turning lights on and off, turning on the computer, and taking out the trash. The great part about your outline is it can easily be converted into checklists that can be used to guide daily operation. You can use these as the foundation for your manual, elaborating on each item. Checklists help us keep our mental reservoirs full, as we don't drain them trying to remember rote information. The worst place to store anything is the human mind because we can only remember so much without help. By the time you've finished your outline process, your checklists should be extensive. Following are a some of the things they should include. Company Basics • Who are you? • What's your company's story? • What are your corporate values? General Policies • What's the chain of command? • Who's responsible for specif c aspects of the operation? • How are polices changed? • What are the rules for using company property? Office Operation • What company property is onsite? • What's the contact information for local vendors and emergency services? • What are the daily, weekly and monthly procedures? • Who orders supplies? • What software does the property have, and how is it to be used? • How should the off ce look? • What items should be on the off ce counters? Marketing Plan • What's the marketing plan, and who's responsible for developing it? • Who's responsible for executing it? Sales Process • How should the phone be answered? • Is there a sales script? • What's the procedure to show a unit? • How often should a manager follow up with a potential customer? • What's the limit of your manager's authority regarding specials, discounts or pricing? • How is the rental agreement completed? • What points in the rental agreement should the manager review with the customer? • How are payments processed? • What's the delinquency policy? • What kind of fees do you implement and when? • What ancillary items, such as tenant insurance or rental trucks, are managers required to sell? • What if a customer is considered active military? Customer Service • What's the company's philosophy on customer service? • Who should the manager contact if a customer has an issue? • What are the limits of the manager to handle a customer issue? • How are refunds, change of address or customer bankruptcies addressed? Delinquency Procedures • What are the specif c delinquency timelines? • How should delinquent tenants be contacted? LEARN MORE! Learn more from author Matt Van Horn in the videos "10 Things Self-Storage Owners Do to Self-Sabotage Their Business" and "Stop Going With Your Gut! Installing Data-Driven Decision-Making at Your Self-Storage Facility," both available exclusively at NEW! Don't miss Matt's all-new Management Mastery Workshop at the 2019 ISS World Expo in Las Vegas, April 1-4. Watch for details at Avoiding the 'not me' syndrome among managers By Matthew Van Horn Writing Policies and Procedures 26 ISS I December 2018

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