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Amy Campbell

Amy Campbell
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acampbell@vpico.com

Self-Storage Collections: Making the Dreadful Task Successful ... and Pleasant

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A new year brings fresh ideas and a renewed sense of purpose. You make plans, create lists and put things into motion. Regardless if your goals are big or small, professional or personal, the turning of the calendar year signals a green light to go after them.

For many self-storage operators, getting a handle on past-due tenants is a new-year goal. Over the past few years, operators around the country have seen an increase in delinquent accounts and lien sales. Collecting past-due money will always be a challenge for most operators. I’m betting there are few people who actually enjoy making these calls.

Fortunately, there are ways to make collections more manageable, if not more pleasant. First, you must have a plan in place—a well-written detailed one—outlining your collection process. Then it needs to be followed. That includes everything from adhering to the days you make the calls to not making exceptions when a hard-luck story comes your way.

There’s a great article in the ISS archives on collections I’d like to share. Written by Anne Ballard and Stacie Maxwell of Atlanta-based Universal Management Co., the article not only offers strategies for collections, but also ways operators can prevent tenants from slipping into delinquent status.

Another good article to reference is Bob Copper’s I Hate Collection Calls! Copper, an industry veteran and owner of Self Storage 101, writes operators can actually develop the skills they need to be good at collections. He even offers step-by-step instructions to making the most of the actual call.

Let’s face it, collections will likely never be a favorite part of your job. Unfortunately, it’s a must, much like cleaning gutters or enforcing the no-smoking rule. However, having a plan in place and developing collection skills can make the job a little less intimidating and lot more successful.

What are your collection strategies? Share them by posting a comment below or on Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s biggest and best online community.   

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