To begin, close the door to your office, turn off the cell phone and don’t check your e-mail for a few minutes as you take the time to think about what services you really need from a property-management facility. Here are some services you might consider:
- Accounts payable
- Accounts receivable and accepting rent
- Payroll services
- Property maintenance
- Operations training
- Sales training
- Call center or answering service
- Rental pricing recommendations
- Employee placement (including background checks)
- Human resources
You may find yourself thinking, "Gee, I don’t need a management company to do all that." On the other hand, you may be relieved because these services are exactly what you need. Chances are you do need some combination of any or all of the above.
Before you begin to look at the cost of a property-management company, take the list you’ve made, and prioritize it. This will allow you to keep a realistic view of what’s most important and what points can be compromised. For example, if employee placement is very low on your list, you’ll most likely be happy to find a management company that offers the other services of major importance. This will also keep you from kicking yourself later wishing you had found a company willing to take on specific responsibilities.
It may be that you weigh the pros and cons of hiring a property-management service and decide it is more beneficial to hire your own staff to handle these details or perhaps even create your own in-house property-management department.
Some self-storage owners do exactly that when they realize they have too many facilities to contract third-party management services that usually charge a percentage of rentals or revenue. Internal property management may also be more reasonable if you only need one or two of these services that could easily become the responsibility of one more employee on your office staff.