Being a Self-Storage Manager in a Challenging Age: Tips for Success
|Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.|
|By: Bob Copper|
|Posted on: 10/15/2009|
The current self-storage market is incredibly challenging, and the difference between a storage business that thrives or merely survives is manager training and professionalism. Today’s facility manager must possess effective sales skills, know-how to collect and increase revenue, and a professional look and demeanor to clearly differentiate himself from his many competitors.
Most self-storage inquiries start with the telephone, but there are still facility managers who do not know how to successfully turn each call into a site visit or a rental. In this new day and age, managers need to get back to basics and keep it simple. To be operationally successful in this industry, you need to know how to do three things really well: how to sell, how to collect, and how to get it all done in a reasonable amount of time.
Not everyone has skills necessary to be excellent at managing a self-storage facility. Let’s review those skills and see if you’re an “OK” manager or a great one.
I came to the self-storage business from a sales background, and it didn’t take me long to realize that what most self-storage managers really need is some basic sales skills. They sell customers on renting space, making payments, sending referrals, etc.
Most prospective tenants will rent storage from someone. If you’re only renting to two or three out of every 10 prospects, the rest are renting from your competitors. Why?
When I interviewed for my first self-storage job, my employer said he had “a huge collections problem,” and needed someone to solve it. My response was, “We have their stuff, how hard can that be?”
You see, I came out of an industry where the customers had my stuff, and I had to either get them to pay for it or get my stuff back. To be successful, I needed an effective collections system, something self-storage managers also need.
Far too many managers struggle with getting all their work done in eight hours. This is primarily due to poor work habits and a lack of discipline. Self-storage is one of those businesses that should not be an all-consuming, living-and-breathing way of life. With good time-management skills, a facility manager should get it all done in eight hours and have a life.
Here is a simple exercise to help you better understand where your time goes. Managers who use it always seem to find two to three hours per day for which they cannot account. On a blank sheet of paper, draw a vertical line to denote your day’s start time and then draw lines at 30-minute intervals. Document your activities every 30 minutes. Try this every day for 30 days. Here are some basic time-management strategies you can try:
Self-storage used to be so easy that even a caveman could do it. No more. The economic realities of today indicate that mom-and-pop, seat-of-your-pants management is out and well-trained professionalism is in. But keep it simple: sales, collections and time management. That’s it.