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Cutting Down on Self-Storage Tenant Delinquencies

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After you’ve shared your payment options, ask the tenant which he prefers. Though he isn’t tied to one option, asking for a preference will reinforce that he’s made a choice and is responsible for making his payments.

Reminder Options

Another way to reinforce timely payments is to offer reminders. Again, this allows tenants to make a choice and reinforces that it’s their responsibility to stay current. It also relieves some pressure off the manager or whoever is responsible for making collections calls. All options need to be prefaced with the understanding that fees will be imposed for late payments. Here are some options to offer:

  • No reminders: This is good for those who pay their rent on time and don’t wish to be bothered with additional communications from your facility.  
  • E-mail: This is a good option for most tenants and can include a link directly to your facility’s online payment page (if this is offered).
  • SMS or text: This is my preferred method, as again, the reminder can include a link that takes the customer right to payment area of your website.
  • Phone call: Some tenants still prefer this method, particularly if they’re older.
  • Paper invoice: Again, this option may be preferred by older tenants who are used to paying for bills by check.

Informal Formality

To help ease the payment and reminder process and make it clear to customers, consider adding an options form to your rental paperwork that you can keep in each tenant file. Give the customer a copy for his records. The form could look roughly like this:

Options Form

Rent renewal date: _____________________

Payment Options
(Please initial your preferred method.)
____ ACH monthly autopay (includes e-mailed invoice)
____ Credit card monthly autopay (includes e-mailed invoice)
____ Online credit card payment (no-fee option via our website)
____ Pay by phone (includes a $3 convenience fee and e-mailed invoice)
____ Check or money order
____ Cash (in person only)

Reminder Options
(Please initial your preferred method.)
_____ No reminder (unless past due)
_____ E-mail reminder
_____ SMS or text reminder
_____ Phone-call reminder
_____ Paper invoice reminder

We all prefer to make choices that work best for our lifestyles. Offering tenants payment and reminder options may take a little more time when completing the initial paperwork, but putting the responsibility on them can free up enormous amounts of time and energy each month when it comes to collections.

Debbi "Frankie" Frank has 12 years of experience working in all aspects of self-storage management and training. She’s owner of Working Smarter in Guffey, Colo., a consulting firm that helps storage owners, managers and staff set up, organize and become inspired to love what they do. For more information, call 760.458.9802; e-mail workingsmarternow@yahoo.com.

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