By James Fawcett
Your self-storage manager may be a Jack of all trades, but would you rather have Jack trying to repair roll-up doors or handling the tasks of facility marketing, sales, collections and others that actually drive revenue for your facility?
A third-party maintenance company can and should add value to your self-storage facility’s bottom line and reduce liability risks that go along with Jack climbing ladders to fix gutters or paint the building. Jack may not even have the necessary skills to handle some maintenance issues, like setting tension on an overhead roll-up door or programming the access-control system. And, hopefully, Jack is too busy dealing with paying customers to handle the day-to-day repairs.
Beyond avoiding liabilities and keeping Jack free to actually manage the facility, economies of scale on the supply side is another cost-saving benefit of working with maintenance companies. That’s because you don’t have to stock parts, such as door hasps. Firms that specialize in self-storage keep many common parts in stock.
If you try to handle your maintenance in-house, you’ll have to keep the right equipment on hand and either stock the supplies you need or pay individually for parts as the need arises. That can be an expensive investment either way. Third-party companies buy parts in bulk and pass that savings on to you.
For example, if you buy light bulbs for your wall packs at The Home Depot, you could pay $24 to $28 each. If you hire a third-party maintenance company, you’ll pay about $30 for the bulb and the installation altogether—and Jack doesn’t miss a customer while he’s at store or create a liability risk on the ladder. Third-party maintenance companies carry the required insurance and remove the liability from your self-storage operation.
The best maintenance companies also help you identify potential problems at your facility before they become major issues. Firms that specialize in self-storage have employees who are trained to spot the first signs of safety risks or failing parts so they can be corrected immediately. Catching a small leak with some mildew behind a wall is much less costly to repair than a bad leak that has flooded a unit and left behind mold.