By Jean-Pierre Albillar
Self-storage operators are seldom concerned with their unit doors until they have a problem with one. Then, depending on the severity, it can become their No. 1 crisis—one that could have been avoided with proper planning and care. Since many facility operators lack the time or expertise to keep their self-storage doors in top shape themselves, a good solution is to hire a local door dealer who can provide repairs and upkeep.
Door dealers can often offer an ongoing maintenance program, providing periodic servicing on a facility’s doors at a reduced rate under a contractual agreement. The facility benefits from reduced hourly rates and lower costs on parts as needed. Operators will also establish a working relationship with the door dealer that translates into trust over time.
But not all door dealers provide this maintenance service, so it’s good for a facility operator to establish his needs in the beginning. Ask if the dealer provides a service contract with reduced rates for service and parts. It’s in the dealer’s best interest to do this because he will have scheduled work for the length of the contract. Often, such contracts are entered for one year, after which time they’re renegotiated due to possible labor or materials cost increases.
The contracted maintenance is usually designed for quarterly visits, but can be adjusted due to the frequency of door use. In the end, the self-storage operator will have peace of mind, knowing his tenants will have trouble-free doors and any major issues will be avoided.
Remember, when it’s time for a scheduled maintenance visit by the door dealer, operators should inform their tenants to ensure they have access to the units.
Here are some important items that should be included in a regular maintenance visit:
- Over time, all springs will “settle” and the tension needs to be adjusted. If this is not maintained, the doors will tend to drift down when the chain is released.
- Inspect the guides for buildup of dirt, grease or any lubricants that may have been used.
- Make sure the guides and tracks are clean.
- Inspect the bearings for possible wear.
- Inspect overall condition of the door, and adjust or tighten fasteners that may have come loose over time. This is a possible cause for the door to progressively lose tension.
- Check for any abuse by the tenant and repair or adjust as needed.
- Check for alarm contacts that may need attention due to wear.
- If the door is motor-operated, test the operation of the motor. Make sure all safety features are working as intended and repair as needed.
Reputable dealers that provide maintenance services can often be recommended by your door manufacturer. The sales reps usually know which dealers have a good track record and can often save operators a lot of time searching for the right contact. They can usually recommend as many as three dealers. Operators should then meet with these dealers to discuss pricing and contract terms.
Properly working self-storage doors are a critical component to keeping your tenants happy. Avoid problems with your facility’s doors by scheduling regular door maintenance with a professional in your area.
Jean-Pierre Albillar is the northwest region commercial sales manager for Janus International. Headquartered in Temple, Ga., Janus is a manufacturer of commercial and industrial doors and building components for self-storage and an array of other industries. The company also has joint ventures in the United Kingdom and Mexico. For more information, call 770.562.2850; visit www.janusintl.com .