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Components of the Third-Party Management Package

M. Anne Ballard Comments
Continued from page 2

What’s Included?

Some services are inclusive, while other companies charge separate fees for each. Such intricacies would include invoicing of customers monthly (in which 50 percent replied they send an invoice), and all but one company had this done by the onsite manager. Others send invoices for a fee paid by the customer.

Half of the companies reported conducting auctions/lien sales in-house by a management company representative, while the other combine in-house and auctioneer sales. One company used an auctioneer exclusively for delinquent units.

Marketing plans were prepared and enacted by all companies. One-half reported the marketing plans were paid by property owners. Research also revealed that most management companies operate under various store names; only one reported all sites under their banner. This can result in additional licensing or franchise fees.

All who responded said they were involved in new-store designs to varying degrees. The best scenario includes the management company from the day the dirt is purchased. Because there is so much to handle while the site is being built, this involvement allows the management team to open a new site with all details prepared and ready to go, including marketing plans and programs; website development; manager hiring and training; updated comparable survey; integration of all operating systems, such as access-control and operating software; and promotional items ready for pre-leasing at least one month before opening.

Management firms will also consult on the office and store layout, unit mix and site plan; ancillary sales; lease-up projections and detailed five-year budgets; furniture and fixtures planning; and all signage.

When reviewed and guided by experienced professionals, owners can save thousands, banking on a well-planned site that will lease up quickly, maybe even win an award. The low monthly minimums charged while under construction can literally be the saving grace for a new store, or one in need of a complete rehab. Oversight of construction or rebuilding of the store may also be included for additional fees.

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