Welcome mat for the front door: $8. Plant for the office counter: $12. A box of personalized pens, complete with your facility name, to distribute to prospective tenants: $300. Framing your first dollar earned: Priceless.
We've all seen the popular MasterCard campaign that capitalizes on the value of life's precious moments. I've even received a few interesting e-mail renditions highlighting some not-so-precious moments I certainly wouldn't publicize. But the campaign makes a poignant observation on the dichotomy between items whose value is tangible and concepts or experiences whose import cannot be rightfully measured.
So it is with the self-storage product. We can itemize costs of development, construction and operations, but can we logistically place a price tag on the commodity itself? More than just a safe place to store property, self-storage represents a solution to a dilemma. For this reason, operators can justify their rents, which include not only space to keep one's belongings, but security, climate control, convenience--in short, peace of mind.
But how is value determined when you contemplate the sale of your business? After all, you're relinquishing more than a lot full of metal buildings and a set of keys. Ultimately, you're peddling your years of hard work, a steady income and your customers' trust. For some of you, the decision of if and when to sell represents a crisis of sorts, especially if you started the operation from the ground up, have many long-time customers or lived on site. But eventually, the right offer may present itself, or you'll hear the sirens of retirement calling you. To assist with this dilemma, real-estate expert Burt Gay explains how to best value, price and sell your facility on page 18, while Mel Holsinger helps you determine when is the best time to sell (page 28). Whether you ever contemplate selling your "baby," it's always wise to be aware of its value in the current market.
This month we've also included part two of Michael Parham and Victor Lopez's discussion on "Space-Age Designs," found on page 34, as well as a checklist approach to staying on top of daily facility maintenance, presented by Maurice Pogoda. A final note: You'll read in this issue about a recently passed law that could have a direct impact on you as a facility owner. The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act was designed to validate electronic contracts entered into over the Internet. What this ultimately means for our industry is that potential tenants, when renting self-storage over the Internet, can be asked to click a button or check a box indicating their acceptance of the terms of your rental contract, creating a legally binding agreement. This will open the doors of e-commerce to several industries. I suggest seeking legal counsel to determine how this change in policy might personally benefit your self-storage operation.
Teri L. Lanza
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