If the company does not plan to keep your current managers, how are applicants screened? What type and level of training is offered for new employees? What kind of continuing education is provided for seasoned staff? Are the managers your employees, or are they the employees of the management company? What benefits are offered? What happens to the employee if the management contract is terminated?
Is the company’s operation computerized? Does it require onsite computers as a condition of management? If your store is not computerized, will the company introduce technology? If it is, will the company use your current software or does it require use of another package? If it requires a change, how much will it cost for conversion and annually?
Will the company prepare an annual marketing plan and budget? Will it create and maintain a website for your store? Does it use an optimization company to make sure your website comes up in the first few responses to a potential tenant’s Internet browser search?
What kind of reporting can you expect? When will you receive financial reports and how extensive are they?
What You Should Expect
One of the most important issues to address with a potential management company is its decision-making process and how you will be involved. This is an area that can be negotiated but needs to be established up front. Also, setting clear financial-approval standards is important so both parties understand the management company’s authority.
Once you've decided to take the plunge and hire a management company, there's a great deal you should expect for the monthly fee you pay. However, it's important to realize that you must give the company time to implement the plans on which you agreed. Change will not occur overnight. When working with a management company, keep the following in mind to get the most out of your investment:
Turnkey operations. Your responsibility should be limited to ensuring the management company performs to your expectations and to the terms to which you both agreed. Day-to-day operation is left to the management company.
Expertly trained managers and assistant managers. Your employees should not be caretakers. They should be “self-storage specialists” who have been trained to determine and satisfy customers’ storage needs in addition to marketing your facility.