Inside Self-Storage 1/98

The National Institute of Self Storage Education (NISSE)™ provides all levels of education and training to the self-storage industry. NISSE originated through the concepts and input of respected self-storage industry leaders across the country to ensure accurate and quality education and certification.

NISSE is the only educational source that provides professional designations and recognition for self-storage professionals. The professional designations offered by NISSE are the Certified Self Storage Manager (CSSM™) and Certified Self Storage Supervisor (CSSS™) Programs. The CSSM and CSSS programs are similar to accreditation programs offered to on-site managers and supervisory-level personnel in other property management fields (i.e., apartments and commercial real estate).

The primary goal of NISSE is to educate, accredit and recognize individuals who are committed to distinguishing themselves in meeting the needs of those they serve, the industry, the owners and, most importantly, the customers.

Seminar and workshop topics offered by NISSE include sales and marketing, telephone techniques, customer service, administration and operations, audits and inspections, employee hiring/supervision/retention and liability issues. NISSE also provides custom and individualized training, contract training, consulting, new facility startups, audits and inspections, employee handbooks and operations manuals.

To better understand what NISSE offers, let's take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions related to the institute:

How is NISSE structured?
NISSE is comprised of a certification and advisory committee that includes respected self-storage leaders who have been selected to assure industry-wide representation. The committee's primary responsibility is to review and approve course materials and class instructors. Cheryl Yeager is the founder and director of education.

Yeager has more than 17 years experience in real-estate management, with heavy emphasis on training. Using hands-on experience, she has developed and implemented numerous sales, management and marketing programs currently in use by companies throughout the country. Additionally, Yeager has instructed real-estate management certification programs for many years and is one of only six nationally accredited instructors with the National Apartment Association. Yeager is also a professional member of the National Speakers Association and has conducted many seminars and workshops at self-storage industry trade shows and conventions.

Why was NISSE formed?
The self-storage industry has become substantially more technical, competitive and legally complex and, as such, the needs of self-storage owners and operators have changed. More and more information is required to effectively operate and manage a highly profitable facility. Upon becoming actively involved in self-storage development, consulting with on-site managers, supervisors, owners, developers, vendors and other industry consultants, Yeager discovered that companies and individuals seeking to achieve higher and more competitive levels within the self-storage industry nationwide, not only wanted, but required more quality, affordable education and recognition to achieve their goals.

Why is NISSE providing the education and certification programs, rather than the industry associations?
The way in which business is conducted is rapidly changing in all facets of today's competitive business climate. The "outsourcing" concept is being recognized as a more efficient and affordable way for companies to obtain services than the usual standards of yesterday. It is proven fact that those who specialize in a particular aspect of a field are more qualified, dedicated and educated, which allows them to efficiently and effectively compete in their respective areas of expertise. Simply put, "we can no longer assume that the rules we played by in years past are still correct for the changes of today. We must continue to improve on what we are doing today." For whatever reasons, many owners and operators choose not to affiliate, join and pay membership dues to associations. NISSE is a non-political affiliated organization focusing on the best interests of all self-storage owners, operators and managers. Anyone desiring to contribute, attend or instruct seminars and workshops may do so without prejudice, regardless of membership in any association. Additionally, associations are encouraged to participate in the programs and to recognize their members involvement and achievements. Several associations have acknowledged the educational benefits of NISSE. These associations actively contribute to and utilize the resources of NISSE on behalf of its membership.

What are the benefits of my employees attending educational seminars and workshops?
With evolution of the self-storage industry from the mom-and-pop operations from past years into the highly competitive business mainstream, it is imperative that employees be equipped with the necessary information to be effective and confident in handling any given situation. Knowledgeable employees understand through education, experience and example how to operate a more efficient and profitable business. Additionally, they are more effective and credible with their customers. It is proven that it is a basic human need to continue to learn and become all one can be. Employees are more loyal when they are supported and given the tools they need to be confident in their jobs. Therefore, owners who provide education and ongoing training opportunities experience less employee turnover and expense.

What is the cost of the certification program?
For an individual to obtain the professional designation of CSSM, it may cost as little as $545. The candidacy administration fee is $50. Each class costs approximately $99 and includes all training materials, textbooks and exam fee. Elective credit costs vary, depending upon the individual and may be obtained in numerous ways. For example, industry trade show and convention attendance that include approved seminars and instructors, legal seminars, membership in industry associations and other real-estate associations, other approved workshops and seminars, etc.

How long does it take to complete the certification program?
The candidacy period is two years and may be extended for an additional year. The length of time will vary depending upon each individual's dedication, participation and attendance in the mandatory curriculum, as well as the elective credit time. The mandatory curriculum for the CSSM program includes five modules that consist of five one-day classes.

Where and when are classes conducted?
Classes are conducted throughout the country. The frequency in which they are held is determined by the participation, attendance and demand from the specific area. The following is a partial listing of cities scheduled for 1998:

  • Atlanta, Ga.
  • Baton Rouge, La.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Chicago, Ill.
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Denver, Colo.
  • Houston, Texas
  • Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Nashville, Tenn.
  • New York, N.Y.
  • Orlando, Fla.
  • Raleigh, N.C.
  • San Francisco, Calif.
  • Seattle, Wash.

Check future issues of Inside Self-Storage for dates and locations. For more information about NISSE, call (800) 464-6524.

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