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The Many Hats of a Self-Storage Manager

By Donna Edwards Comments

Self-storage manager: An individual who’s able to wear many hats. Someone who prefers to be busy rather than bored. Detail-oriented and able to multi-task throughout the day. Various roles played in the position include diplomat, accountant, counselor, enforcer, negotiator, repair tech, customer-service representative, and marketing and sales director.

How many of you read the passage above and are nodding their head in agreement? A self-storage management position isn’t an ordinary desk job. From collecting rent and addressing delinquencies, to negotiating vendor contracts and marketing, a manager’s daily tasks are varied but all equally important.

First and foremost, a storage manager works to increase occupancy and revenue so the owner is successful and the site is profitable. A profitable owner can then invest in growing his company, which will benefit him and his employees.

However, the manager also works for the customer. He needs to provide the best service as well as help solve the tenant’s storage problem. The manager makes recommendations for the best size unit, shows the customer around the property and suggests retail merchandise to help with his moving and storage needs.

A self-storage manager must also send invoices, process payments, keep customers informed regarding site issues, and communicate effectively with them by phone, fax and e-mail. These tasks make renting a unit a stress-free experience.

Now, let’s look at that definition again: able to wear many hats. In any given day, a facility manager might:

  • Put on his customer-service hat to assist a tenant with a move-in
  • Wear his construction hat to make a repair on the property
  • Put on his housekeeping hat to clean out a storage unit or sweep and mop a hallway
  • Switch to a marketing hat to attend a chamber of commerce function and network with other business leaders
  • Don an accounting hat to process payments or explain an invoice to a tenant
  • Dust off his counselor hat to console a customer when his life is in turmoil and the crisis has reached the crying point

Any and all of these situations can and do happen on the job. Some roles are more challenging than others, but all are critical to operating a successful site. Now, let’s take a closer look at a few of the hats managers wear most often.

The Gatekeeper Hat

In many cases, a facility manager is the public face for the owner. He meets each customer, networks in the community, deals with vendors on contracts and onsite projects, and assists with the disposition of delinquent accounts. As the public representative, he’s expected to be professional, courteous, properly attired and a positive reflection of the company.

This role also includes being the “gatekeeper” between the owner and customers. Being able to make decisions, enforce the lease, resolve tenant issues and look out for the owner’s best interests is an important responsibility.

The Maintenance and Housekeeping Hat

This isn’t the kind of job in which you sit and wait for the phone to ring or for someone to come through the door. There’s always something that needs to be done. Maintenance and housekeeping are two important hats for a facility manager. When wearing the maintenance hat, there are light bulbs to change, unit doors to adjust, trash to be picked up around the property and emergency lights to maintain. In addition, floors, doors and walls need to be painted, bollards should be cleaned and signs should to be washed. Gutters, roofs and sidewalks also require regular maintenance.

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