In records storage, all labor can be outsourced except management. The smallest business clients will have only few transactions, such as retrievals and re-files. You can avoid offering delivery by opting to provide only will-call service. However, the most successful providers offer seven to 17 services, which create the most value for the customer and revenue for the operator.
The best approach is to employ “just-in-time labor,” a concept that combines strategic partnering with part-time employees:
- A small independent mover to bring in new accounts
- A local independent courier to make regular and emergency deliveries
- Agent sales representatives to sell your services on their own schedule
- Part-time employees to do data entry, boxing, retrieving and re-filing
All of these resources must be carefully selected to represent your business. They should wear your uniform and must undergo training. They should also be required to sign a confidentiality agreement and a strategic-partnering agreement.
A self-storage operator can grow his records-storage business at his own pace. There are three primary models for commercial records management:
- Traditional, which is usually a standalone business and building
- Non-traditional, which exists within the walls of another business such as self-storage
- Transition, which moves from non-traditional to traditional over time
Some operators choose to remain small and offer only few services. Some make a leap to traditional when they reach 30,000 boxes. Others go directly into a traditional model by building a specialized building with a high ceiling height to accommodate records storage. Whatever you choose, it can be a valuable addition to your property’s revenue stream.
In addition, you can sell your book of business at any time during your business lifecycle. In other words, if you don’t like the records business, you can sell your contracts to a local or national provider. Records storage is an add-on service with little risk to you, but it can offer great rewards for you and your tenants.
Cary F. McGovernhas been in the commercial records-management industry for 32 years. He has assisted more than 500 companies in 23 countries enter and excel in this unique business. He is a member of ARMA International and PRISM International, and is a speaker at numerous industry tradeshows and conferences. To reach him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.fileman.com.