Gina Six Kudo is the general manager for Cochrane Self Storage in Morgan Hill, Calif. She is one of four recipients of the Inside Self-Storage 2009 Humanitarian Service Award.
"You cease to truly live when you quit learning, loving and experiencing what life has to offer.”
This statement is one of the many things I believe in, so when the opportunity crossed my desk to attend a storage-learning seminar I immediately signed up. Presented by industry experts Tom Litton and Alta Walters, I was certain it would be a very information-packed day. True to form, these two storage professionals did just that and sprinkled the presentation with much laughter along the way.
This first topic may have seemed simplistic to some, but there is a distinct difference between a lock check and a unit inventory. It seems we have been performing the weekly advised unit inventory as a daily project. A lock check is simply that: make sure each unit is secured. A unit inventory, on the other hand, encompasses comparing vacant units against your available rentable units list, which units are overlocked, etc.
One more item that struck a chord with me due to some interesting rental attempts of late is a policy for what types of identification you are willing to accept. Like most of you reading this we naturally accepted a valid driver’s license or government-issued ID card, passport or military ID. Given this presumption, how do you handle an out-of-country identification card? How do you know if it's valid?
Furthermore, if you only accept the above-mentioned items, how do you avoid discrimination claims if you refuse to accept a person’s identification from another country? Having a simple written policy in place sounds like a really good idea to me.
No matter how hard we try to do things in the right manner in each possible scenario, there is always someone out there willing and able to make a claim against you in some fashion or another. As Ms. Walters pointed out, there tend to be more claims and lawsuits when people are suffering financial hardships and looking to make a quick buck. I think we can all agree there have been a lot of people in the financial hardship boat of late.
Of course, there were many more important topics covered in the seminar, which obviously I cannot delve into here, nor would it be appropriate to do so. Given the opportunity, I would advise you to partake of whatever learning opportunities come your way. Simple solutions can protect you from incurring any major claims against your business.
The old adage "two heads are better than one" comes to mind. Each person has an area of expertise, and it cannot hurt to avail yourself of knowledge that others possess.
Are you doing all you can to protect your facility from frivolous claims or lawsuits? Do you audit your own files seeking errors and then correct them? Isn’t this something we could all be doing right about now?