5 Reasons Your Self-Storage Manager May Be Looking or a New Job (and Insight You Need to Keep Him)
Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.
Posted on: 06/24/2013


By Pamela Alton

My staff and I see a lot of resumes each week from managers looking for job placement all over the country. One thing we’ve noticed is it’s not uncommon to see managers who have had several different jobs over a five-year period. When we contact them for interviews, we ask why they’ve switched jobs so often and why they’re seeking another position. Here are the five reasons they give for seeking new employment, and insight to how you, the self-storage employer, can keep the good ones from moving on.

Micromanaging Bosses

The No. 1 reason a manager looks for a new job is the owner doesn't allow him to actually do the job he was hired to do—manage the facility! The owner is always micromanaging, second-guessing the manager’s decisions and actions on a daily or weekly basis. Some managers have to contact their owner or management company to ask if they can waive a late fee or offer a special on units sizes when they have too many vacancies. Or they must ask permission to broker a deal on a lien sale for less than what’s owed to get the tenant to amicably move out.

Why hire the person if you don’t trust him to do the job, let alone trust him to handle your money on a day-to-day basis? If you won’t allow your managers to do their jobs, why hire them? Just do the job yourself and you’ll know it’s done your way!

If a manager is making irresponsible decisions in the management of your facility, then fire him and hire someone who knows what he’s doing. Then allow him to do the job!


The second reason self-storage managers look for new employment is family or lifestyle. A majority of them are more than 50 years old and have children, grandchildren or aging parents who may need more attention as they grow older, so many desire to live closer to relatives or have more flexible hours.

Some self-storage facilities include onsite residences for managers, allowing them to move from state to state or across country without the need to find new housing. They can find a position closer to family and friends and have a new job. This often leads to a happier and more enthusiastic employee.

Better Pay or Perks

The next reason managers seek another employment opportunity is to make more money. You might think that would be the first reason managers make a change, but it’s usually farther down the list.

There’s no right, wrong or set standard when it comes to manager wages. Your employee may be salaried or paid by the hour, receive bonuses or not, and might be offered other benefits such as paid time off and health insurance. Obviously, people like to make money. We need it to survive in this world. However, money isn’t always the motivating factor for a manager to switch jobs.

A manager might be looking for another opportunity because he doesn’t feel appreciated for the job he’s doing or isn’t being allowed to do the work for which he was hired; hence, he’s willing to take a lower wage just to get out of what he feels is a bad situation! If a manager is looking to make more money in a new position, it’s because he feels he’s underpaid or underappreciated. Perhaps he feels he’s worked hard to hone his skills as a site manager and now’s the time to move on to a better-paying position.

Job Burnout

Another reason managers look for a change is burnout. Perhaps the current owner didn’t realize that slavery was abolished more than 100 years ago and the manager works six days or more a week. If you’re one of those owners who have your managers working six or even seven days a week and your facility is not performing to its potential, perhaps it’s because your manager is exhausted! People need time to recharge their batteries.

If you’ve hired a couple as a management team and ask them to split their days off because you can’t or won’t hire a relief manager, then they can never spend their time off together. They can’t leave the facility, visit family and friends, or spend any quality time with one another. More than likely, they won’t stay with you very long.

New Challenges

Lastly, some managers seek new opportunities that present a new challenge. Perhaps they like opening new facilities or turning around distressed properties. Maybe they get bored out of their minds once the facility is running smoothly and their current owner doesn’t have other facilities on which to focus.

Another reason is some larger owners or management companies seem to have constant turnover in their higher-up management. One week the site manager will have Bob as his supervisor, the next month Susan will be the new boss. Three months later, Susan is replaced by Mary, and each supervisor wants things done differently. Yes, the paperwork remains the same, but how the manager does certain tasks (for example, makes bank deposits) could change from one supervisor to the next. This just makes the manager ask who’s really in charge here. It becomes frustrating when there’s no consistency every time a new supervisor comes on board.

The self-storage industry has changed so much over the past 20 years, and there are so many more facilities today than in the past. This means site managers have more employment opportunities, and they seem to be looking for them!

The moral of the story is this: Owners, if you have a good site manager, pay him well, treat him with respect and allow him to do the job for which he was hired. Managers, if you’re working for a good owner who does these things, then open communication is the key for you! If you’re unhappy, discuss why with your owner before you look for another position. Remember, sometimes the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

Pamela Alton is the owner of Mini-Management Services, a nationwide manager-placement service specializing in placing self-storage management staff since 1991. For more information call 321.890.2245; visit www.mini-management.com .