By Aycha Williams
Is your self-storage investment a profitable one? As a self-storage owner, you know there are many essential components to a facility’s success. Location, unit/price mix, curb appeal, targeted marketing, revenue management, budgeting, property debt, operations and your site managers all play a part.
Among these many components, how would you rate the importance of having the right managers in place? It’s absolutely fundamental to have site managers with the right skill set and abilities to make your business profitable. You might have everything else right, but if your managers don’t know how to sell and manage your property, your investment will not pay the expected returns.
Having managers who are motivated, friendly and accomplished in the art of selling while operating your property as their own is the first step to success. Step two is training and certifying your team to ensure they have all the tools they need to reach their monthly goals on various defined parameters such as occupancy, late fees, merchandise and insurance sales, and providing excellent customer service.
If you’ve hired and trained great managers, what happens next? How do you keep the momentum so you can ensure the continuity of high occupancy numbers and profit? How do you inspire, encourage and create an environment for managers to be constantly motivated to hit their targets? One way is through consistent and structured employee evaluations.
A Great Tool
As owners, upper management or supervisors, we’re looking for ways to keep employee performance at the upmost level. A well-formulated evaluation program is a great tool to guide your employees and keep their performance top notch. It will give managers a guideline for:
- Success: A structured evaluation system will define the job description and outline, in detail, monthly and yearly goals, associated bonuses, and any consequences for underperformance. If your managers don’t know what the expectations are, how can they work toward a goal?
- Career advancement: A well-formulated system will also include a step-by-step goal/milestone description for long-term career advancement, as well as a clear description of the criteria and company regulation for termination.
An employee-evaluation program with a strong framework is the next logical step for the profitability of your storage business. What’s your company’s process? How often is it done, and do you find it effective? My company's program includes five phases completed over the course of the fiscal year. Here’s a breakdown of each.
1. Monthly Call Evaluations
The monthly evaluations of our site managers aim to keep track of their sales and customer-service abilities. After we provide the necessary training and certification, we want to make sure our managers continue to apply those skills on an ongoing basis.
We’ve found a good way to evaluate the performance of our managers at a facility level is by randomly evaluating actual incoming sales and customer-service-related phone calls from prospects and existing customers. Incoming calls are automatically recorded and evaluated for service and sales abilities. This way we’re able to award managers who regularly receive the highest score. We do this by tying their call-evaluation score into a comprehensive bonus program.