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Building an Effective Training Program for Self-Storage Facility Managers

By Bob Copper Comments

Every day, well-meaning self-storage owners and supervisors hire fresh faces to manage their facilities. In far too many instances, however, those new managers are handed a set of keys to an asset that may be worth millions, yet they have no idea how to effectively manage it. In some cases, their ability to maximize collections, professionally sell space and offer a superior customer-service experience is severely hampered by a lack of quality training.

A large percentage of a self-storage facility's operational problems stem from the lack of clear and effective manager training. Since ours is such a manager-centric business, one of the most important investments an owner or supervisor can make is creating an effective, high-quality program. Here’s how you build one.

Create an Operations Manual

The crucial first step in putting together an effective training program is to create an operations manual that clearly defines the policies and procedures by which you expect your self-storage facility to be managed. It should include detailed and concise descriptions for how to:

  • Rent space
  • Collect money
  • Compile paperwork
  • Make bank deposits
  • Clean and prepare units for rental
  • Open and close the office
  • Print and submit reports
  • Maintain facility safety and security
  • Manage delinquent tenants
  • Selling merchandise
  • Offering tenant insurance
  • Renting trucks

With your operations manual in hand, you can systematically explain those aspects of your business that employees must learn to maximize their abilities and manage your storage asset.

Designate a Trainer

Before implementing your training program, you must first identify who will do the training. The manner in which you conduct training will be somewhat determined by the resources at your disposal.

For example, if you have a lot of facilities, you might have one manager who’s a designated trainer or maybe even several. You might have new employees spend a certain amount of time with one manager who has a strong sales presentation, another who uses an effective collections system, and a third who spotlessly maintains the property. If you have just one or a few facilities, you might still operate with a designated trainer or opt to train new employees yourself. You might also hire a third-party vendor who specializes in employee training.

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