This also ensures a level playing field between your site and those owned by the management company. “Make your management company accountable to the results promised early on,” Payne advises.
Myth 3: I’ll Lose My Branding or Employees
Self-storage operators work hard to establish themselves as part of their community, and it’s more than just the facility name. They join the local chamber of commerce, support kids’ sports teams and host community events. Changing the facility’s name or even color scheme may be unfathomable for some operators. But not all management companies require an owner to adapt this way.
“We realize your facility is very much like your ‘baby.’ As an owner, you have put a lot into it. You have invested not only millions of dollars, but a lot of blood, sweat and tears as well,” says Stacie Maxwell, vice president of marketing for Universal Storage Group, a Smyrna, Ga.-based third-party management company that oversees 50 properties in 13 states. “We recognize that you are placing a lot of trust and faith in us by allowing us to manage and operate your multi-million-dollar investment, and we always vow to handle it as if it were our own. Bottom line, the brand name under which you choose to operate is your decision, and yours alone.”
Other owners may see a name change as a way to generate awareness through an established brand. “Owners take pride in the name they worked so hard to establish in self-storage. They feel by changing to the management company’s brand they are starting all over in creating a link between their store and customers in the market,” Payne says. “One way to overcome this is by using a national-branded management company that already has a presence in your market.”
Some owners also worry signing on with a management company is a pink slip for their current employees. This isn’t always the case, but a possibility, particularly if staff is a key component to the facility’s current negative state. However, many companies will try to work with the existing staff by offering professional training and mentoring.
“Whether a manager is terminated or kept on, it is imperative the owner let the third-party management company handle that decision,” Payne says. “Management companies can take the emotion out of personnel decisions that many owners have a difficult time handling or, in many cases, ignore.”
Myth 4: I’m No Longer in Control
Here’s another fear many owners have: zero decision-making power. In reality, the majority of third-party management companies prefer to act as your partner, not take over your facility completely. Yes, there will be some changes, but self-storage owners aren’t completely powerless.
“Most third-party management companies allow their clients to interact directly with those making day-to-day decisions,” Middlebrooks says. This includes communication with everyone from the marketing manager to the property manager.