Who’s Minding the Self-Storage Store When You’re Away?
By Gina Six Kudo
With the Inside Self-Storage World Expo kicking off next week, the implications of social media and facility security have been at the forefront of my mind. Needless to say, as on-site managers we’re always vigilant with our properties, but with the public nature of “checking in,” location-tagged photos, Tweets and more I find myself giving the topic of leaving the site a bit more thought. Self-Storage Talk members know who will be attending the ISS expo, plus it’s a public forum so anyone could view the information. Then there are those who will Tweet and post in an attempt to give members who can’t be there a taste of the events as they happen.
At our site, we’ve always had the luxury of two exemplary customers whom we could ask to secure the property when we were out of town. Since all of our other customers know the two men who reside outside of our site, and they are both well respected, it has been a perfect fit. Alas, one has moved far away, but the other is able to cover the daytime for us. We have also always had our children, who grew up in the business, to depend on. For us, leaving town is more than the usual, “Honey, did I unplug the iron before we left?” type of concerns. When we are away, our staff and family take over in one seamless motion.
I did, however, start wondering about others in this regard. When I began attending industry conferences and tradeshows, I was lucky if there was one other manager among the hundreds of attendees. Now, more managers are attending, as are many owner/operators, so I began wondering who minds their stores when they’re away?
With the explosive advent of social media it’s harder for anyone to hide the fact that they’re out of town. So what is a manager or owner/operator to do?
Do others have family close by who can step in? For some the answer is yes, but for most there is no one. Do you as a manager have an employee you trust enough to let him stay in your apartment while you’re away? If not, what do you do to fill the gaps?
Is your alarm system tied directly into your local police department? Do you hire a security firm to patrol your property? Do you ask the police department to do extra drive-by patrols? Or is the fact that you’re away simply a fact of life? Do you believe as in when playing the odds in Las Vegas, you just bet the wad and hope for a good return when you arrive home? What are your best out-of-town security measures?
Gina Six Kudo is the general manager of Cochrane Road Self Storage in Morgan Hill, Calif. She has more than 15 years of self-storage experience, and a strong customer-service and sales background.
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