By Aycha Williams
Some of the factors that determine a self-storage facility's profitability are location, curb appeal, price, unit mix and marketing. Of equal importance are customer service and manager sales skills. Managers who have a successful retail-sales background will generally be great at selling and will most likely have excellent service skills, too, as these go hand-in-hand.
Most successful self-storage owners hire experienced facility managers and put them through rigorous training. But what about the part-time help they employ to support those managers? Isn't it important that they share the same skills?
What qualifications do you look for when hiring part-time "relief" staff? Following are four tips to help you bring in the best support personnel for your team and ensure your own business profitability.
Tip 1: A Successful Retail-Sales Background Is A Must
Operators know to be diligent when hiring a self-storage manager and look for the right candidate with a proven track record in retail sales, service and operation. But when it comes to hiring a part-time manager, most tend to underestimate the skill set and experience they require.
Usually, when we hear the title “relief manager,” we think of an employee who is only working a few hours a week and is mostly responsible for site maintenance, busy with fixing things or cleaning units. In reality, site maintenance is only a portion of the job.
If yours is a larger facility with a lot of customer traffic, the part-time manager ends up being in contact with your prospects at least half the time. Your phones are ringing and you have walk-in customers. Your full-timer is either selling on the phone or in person, and your part-time help may be the only sales back-up. For example, at one of the properties my company manages, the part-timers work five days per week to keep up with the traffic and workload.
It doesn't make much difference if yours is a smaller facility with less traffic. The relief manager may only be working two or three days per week, but the whole point of hiring the additional help is to rent more units. If you hire someone with no skills, you can bet that he won't close any sales. The customer, with multiple other storage options and little time to spare, will not wait to be convinced. When hiring part-time managers, consider including retail-sales experience as a requirement in your job posting.
TIP 2: Look for Motivation, Ambition and the Ability to Work With Others
All jobs, no matter how big or small, require a certain level of diligence and a sense of ownership to be done well. While you may think that motivation and determination are not critical attributes to have in your part-timer, full-time managers who have to work with them disagree. I asked a few site managers what traits they look for when they interview candidates for a part-time position. Here’s what they wanted in support staff:
- Can take initiative and run the facility in the absence of the site manager with minimal supervision
- Can multi-task
- Has a genuine interest in the business
- Is a team player
- Has great customer-service skills