Inside Self-Storage

APR 2019

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 21 of 93

T he interview is over, and you've been offered a job as a self-storage facility manager. What you should expect when you first start your new role may surprise you! Following are five things I wish had known in advance. 5 helpful insights for new site managers By Kevin Lanning Demand Is High In the city where I grew up, there were only a handful of self-storage facilities. Over the last 20 years, the area has boomed to include 45 or more locations. As I drive through familiar areas now, I'm always surprised to see a new facility or construction. I probably notice them more now that I work in the industry. I'm always trying to discover what other companies are doing or creating to bring in business. Before I got into self-storage, I never realized how much demand there is for the service. All types of people going through life-changing experiences need storage. Death, divorce and moving are some of the most popular reasons for people to visit my office and inquire about sizes and prices, climate control or drive-up storage, and even vehicle parking. The need will always be there if people continue to accumulate things. The Importance of Paperwork I'm so grateful that the manager for whom I worked in the beginning was intentional in keeping good notes on accounts. I learned from her that whenever someone comes by the office or calls to inquire about his account balance, you should make a note in the tenant file. I also learned all the paperwork we should keep on file for each customer. We save a copy of the tenant's lease agreement and driver's license as well as insurance paperwork. Over time, we add any returned letters, receipts, vehicle information, lock-cut information and much more. While I never would've guessed how much documentation was maintained, I'm sure glad it is. So often, we've been able to reference it; and when it comes to information, it's better to have too much than too little. The Amount of Work Behind the Scenes When I interviewed for an assistant manager position, I was told the job would likely involve more manual labor than the manager's job. I would spend most of my time cleaning vacant units, changing out latches or weather stripping, vacuuming hallways, and handling many other maintenance tasks. But I never realized just how much there is to do behind the scenes. I've had it said to me more times than I can count that some of our customers assume we spend all day in the office waiting by the phone and computer. At our company, we've made it a mission to provide "Easy, Clean, Service." That's revealed in the ways we care for our properties, including the office and bathrooms. I Wish I'd Known… No matter how long you've worked in self-storage, take in all the information you can. Learn from your peers, supervisors and even your competition. Build relationships. Show up every day ready to absorb something new. 20 ISS I April 2019

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