We all know customer service is a key component to retaining tenants and attracting new ones. Whether it’s over the phone or in person, treating customers like royalty is essential in the self-storage industry’s competitive environment.
Today’s self-storage managers are security guards, salespeople, maintenance crew and remodelers, tenant problem-solvers, software experts and even the marketing staff. “The role has evolved into what I now call a ‘professional sales and marketing person,'” says Mel Holsinger, president of Tucson, Ariz.-based Professional Self Storage Management.
And with the economic crisis, it’s even more critical for self-storage managers to be at the top of their game. “Managers are no longer hired for their ability to care-take the property,” says Linnea Appleby, president of PDQ Management Solutions Inc., Sarasota, Fla. “We look for candidates that bring a business attitude and strong sales skills to the facility. We ask: Is the person a good representation of our company and image?”
While most owners are looking for managers with some background in sales and business, a positive attitude and willingness to learn and adapt to new situations is essential. “Managers need to become totally immersed in continuing education and be willing to embrace it with a positive attitude,” says Holsinger, who also predicts more managers with college degrees will enter the self-storage industry in the near future. “They will want and demand higher compensation and benefits, and they will want to work for companies that recognize their talents and will continue to challenge them to do better in their overall store performance.”
When looking to hire a quality manager, self-storage owners should look at other industries that have similar traits as self-storage. “We look for managers who understand that our business is dealing with all kinds of people and they must have an outgoing, positive attitude,” Holsinger says.
Look for good habits, skills and behaviors, Appleby advises. “We can teach the business to anyone willing to learn, but they must have the underlying personal traits be successful.”