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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Full-Time Resident Managers Resident managers may be paid an annual salary or an hourly wage. Most also receive some sort of bonus program and/or other benefits such as medical coverage. Hourly wages for resident managers can run $10 to $15 per hour. Compensation for a salaried, single resident manager is typically $2,200 to $3,000 per month, while a resident couple or team earns $3,900 to $4,800 per month. Some managers make upward of $6,000 per month. Even if your manager earns a salary, he should complete a time card for all hours worked. If a situation arises in which a salaried employee needs to work an extraordinary amount of overtime, you should pay him extra for those hours so you don't eventually get in trouble with your EDD for undercompensating the number of hours worked. Upon hiring, a resident manager should receive a formal Letter of Employment that details his job duties, expectations from the owner, facility goals, wages and benefits. Incorporate a separate apartment lease in his employee package. Non-Resident Compensation In the last decade or so, non-resident managers have become the norm in self-storage, which makes them just like employees at other retail businesses. They come to work and go home at the end of their shift. The majority are paid an hourly wage, not a salary. Incidentally, for properties that have resident managers, the relief managers will also fall into this category since they reside offsite and typically work one or two days per week. A full-time, non-resident manager gets paid an average of $14 to $20 per hour, while relief managers typically make $11 to $14 per hour. Maintenance staff generally earns $12 to $16 per hour. In some states like Washington, which has a minimum wage of $15 per hour, relief staff can earn as much as $24 per hour. Non-resident managers may or may not receive a bonus plan in addition to their hourly wage. There's no need for a formal Letter of Employment for managers who aren't living onsite because, frankly, their position is just like any other job. They can leave at any time (hopefully with a proper notice) and find another position without the complication of a residential move. Does Size Matter? There's some perception that self-storage manager compensation increases with facility size. While this may be true in some cases, it isn't always a factor. The manager of a 350-unit property is often paid just as much as one who manages an 800-unit property. That said, the owner of a 1,700-unit facility will probably pay more than he would at an average-sized property because the manager will likely supervise other office and maintenance staff. Other factors may also come into play. An older, smaller property may not have a mortgage and operating expenses may be low. If a facility is in a densely populated area, rental rates may be high, making it possible to pay the manager as much as his counterpart at a larger facility in a more rural setting. This is why there's no set standard and compensation can vary widely. Getting What You Pay For One thing's for sure: Employee wages are likely an owner's next highest expense behind his mortgage. Keep that in mind when designing your annual budget, but don't underpay. If you have a good manager, pay him well in wages and benefits! Train him and give him the tools to do his job well. Install a motivating, achievable bonus program. Conduct regular financial audits and property inspections to hold him accountable. Review job performance at least annually, and provide raises or additional bonuses when warranted. A good manager is worth his weight in gold. The person behind the management desk can make the difference between a clean, high-occupancy and financially successful facility and one that underperforms. Respect the person you've hired and empowered, and remember to say thank-you for a job well done. If you follow that basic credo, you'll create a win-win-win situation for you, your manager and your investment. Pamela Alton is the owner of Mini-Management Services, a company that has been placing self-storage managers in positions all over the United States since 1991. She also offers staff training, operational consulting, and facility audits and inspections. For more information, call 321.890.2245; e-mail; visit 5 Steps to Determine Salary 1. Have a solid job description. If you don't know what you're looking for, it's going to be difficult to find it. Be specific about the duties and responsibilities of the job. 3. Conduct advanced searches. Query online job sites like CareerBuilder, Monster or Using the advanced search tool, you can drill down into specific keywords and categories that match your needs. 5. Advertise a salary range. Keep a narrowed salary range in mind and include it in your job advertisement. Then look at candidates on the low and high end of the range. 2. Look around. What's the industry paying? Do an online search for the job you're looking to create to try and gauge how the market is pricing that position. 4. Do a cost-of-living comparison. This will give you a good indication of what an equivalent job commands in salary in your city or neighborhood. Source: Small Business Administration, "5 Steps to Help You Decide What Salary to Pay Your Employees" 36 ISS I December 2018

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