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Inside Self-Storage 1/98 6918

January 1, 1998

4 Min Read
Inside Self-Storage 1/98

I'm Going to Explode!
Dear Waldmans: My storage facility hasbeen in operation for a little more than a year. We are stilltrying to decide why we need to do this, or how we need to dothat. I have a wonderful manager, but it seems the busier we get,the more we lose things. In the beginning, I didn't think thiswas a problem, just an oversight. But each day I seem to losevaluable information: "What was the name of the tenant thatwas coming by?" Or, "When did you call the past-duetenant?" Or, "Which day was the maintenance man goingto spray the units for pests?" Last week my manager tellsme, "Oh, I forget to tell you that I have a dentistappointment this afternoon." Meekly, I thought, "Thisreally has to get under control. I won't make it another yearwithout some control over my lost information." Do you haveany suggestions, before I really lose my temper?
--Losing It in Sanford, Fla.

Dear Losing It: It does become very perplexing when youcan't find what you're looking for, or you can't remember callingthe past-due tenant. You may have a great manager, but if thereis no organization things can get really out of whack. We havefound all sorts of ways to get organized.

A really simple way to get started in becoming organized is topurchase a large calendar for the office wall. Make sure you havefour different colors of markers--black, red, green, yellow. Whatcolor you use is up to you; just use each color consistently.Okay, let's say black represents appointments made by the staff.Red could be used for any maintenance duties, such as sprayingthe units or cutting the grass. Green could be used to remindmanagers to call on delinquent tenants. You might use the lastname and always the color green. Yellow may show the need tocheck the units for debris or any repairs.

First, instruct all personnel to write everything down. Anyonethat answers the telephone must take a complete message. Usetelephone message pads and make sure everyone understands theurgent need for a name, time, reason and what the call was about.It is always a good idea to purchase the message pads that have acarbon copy. If any messages are misplaced, you always have acopy.

Another good practice to get into is placing notes concerningany tenant inside his individual file, such as why the call camein or why you made the call to the tenant, the name of theindividual you talked to, and the results of the phone call. Youcan never take a message that is too long. When it comes tocovering all the bases, you may be surprised that you have allthe necessary information right in front of you. Stress theimportance of the rules and make sure everyone understands thespecific reasons for all this writing. Notes are good foreveryone. Lists are great to remember what it is you need to do.It may help to write a list of things to do for the next day.This list should be placed in a convenient location, place, as itdoes no good if you can't remember where you placed it. Anothertip is to have a list for any supplies you need to order and hangit in an obvious spot. Hint: don't wait until you run out of anitem before placing it on the list. Make a list for themaintenance person to follow, so that he knows when to check oncertain chores. It makes life easier for everyone if they knowwhat needs to be done and when.

A father-daughter team, Stanley and Jill Waldman are self-storage owners/operators and attorneys. In addition, Ms. Waldman holds a master's degree in labor and employment law from Georgetown University. Together they have co-authored a number of books on self-storage operations, including Getting Started in the Self-Storage Business, Self-Storage Business Management Forms, The Policy & Procedure Manual for the Self-Storage Business, Selling Your Self-Storage Business and The South Carolina Tools Manual for Self-Storage Operators.

Comments and questions may be sent to: Ask The Waldmans, P.O. Box 21416, Charleston, SC 29413; or via their Web site: www.askthewaldmans.com.

Editor's Note: Views and opinions on legal matters are those of the authors. Professional counsel should be obtained before any determination or positive action is taken.

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