In today's fast-paced technological world, a professional self-storage manager must master a wealth of skills to keep abreast of daily tasks and successfully operate a facility. Yet it's amazing what people outside the industry think it means to be in the role.
I often hear people say things like “Oh, you run a storage facility ... I would love to have that job. You sit around all day, watch TV, play on the Internet, and once in a while, you take a couple of rent payments.” Or what about, “And how about those ‘Storage Wars’? You must really have fun at the auctions where you make so much money.” Of course, the best one I’ve heard is, “You really don’t need to have many skills to run a storage facility since there’s so little to do. But the owners must make a lot of money because they have so little overhead.”
In dispelling those mostly ignorant beliefs, I’ve often pondered just how much we expect our managers to do and be, especially given that, for the most part, they're not going to get rich running a storage facility. We still expect them to perform at an extremely high level to maximize the value of the business. Let’s explore the skills and traits required to be a great manager and an overview of the job description so we can dispel myths about what it really means to manage a storage business today.
The Right Mix
Let's start with some basic skills and traits all storage managers must have to be successful. Today's self-storage manager must be:
- Able to present himself in a professional manner.
- Able to articulate numerous subjects to customers such as legal points, rules and regulations, payments choices and terms of the rental agreement.
- Personable yet firm when dealing with irate or delinquent customers.
- Compassionate yet not naïve when dealing with the excuses customers provide for missing payments.
- Kind and considerate when called upon to help load/unload people’s stuff, but also able to delicately explain why they cannot do so because of the “care, custody and control” we avoid with a passion.
- Able to answer a phone call in a short yet comprehensive way, explaining the features and advantages facility.
- Able to quote prices, specials and other key details, all within a two-minute conversation.
- Able to quickly identify a customer’s problem, research his history, and respond in a quick but complete manner.
- Able to deal with salespeople who try to get them to buy their products and services, even though they often don’t have the responsibility or authority to make those decisions.
- Able to give salespeople the proper contact information without giving out ownership or other information that should remain confidential.