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Ode to the Golf Cart

ISS guest blogger John Roser gives praise to one of the self-storage manager's most effective operational tools: the golf cart.

Amy Campbell

March 6, 2009

3 Min Read
Ode to the Golf Cart

John Roser is the South Texas regional manager for AAA Storage and the creator of “Adventures in Storage,” a cartoon that appears monthly in Inside Self-Storage magazine. He is also a moderator for Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s largest online community, and the owner of USAStorageResource.com. 

In this industry, we spend most of our time talking about building construction, management software, security cameras, etc., all of which are important topics and worthy of long discussion. But in the interest of balance, allow me a moment to give praise to the unsung hero of day-to-day self-storage operation: the humble and loveable golf cart.
 
Because, in most instances, the golf cart is capable of only a quiet “whirr” on its own behalf, I wish to personally commend the cart, not only for its faithful answer to the site manager's routine demands for labor but for its dutiful execution of assignments. Forget the golf course ... The electric cart shines brightest on the concrete “fairways” of countless self-storage facilities around the globe.
 
Every self-storage manager remembers his first facility (and often, his first cart) with a fondness usually reserved for a first car. For example, at the first facility I managed with my wife, Barbara, the little Club Car we had helped introduce us to the industry as we employed it in every conceivable maintenance, marketing and extracurricular activity. The white two-seater actually became a companion of sorts, accompanying us on almost every out-of-office experience.
 
As a maintenance vehicle, the typical 48-volt electric pack horse can be found laden with extension cords, jumper cables, cordless drills, weed-eaters, bolt-cutters, etc., as it accompanies the storage manager on every repair expedition or maintenance tour. There are also occasions during which it carries the chemical staples of the manager's daily routine: weed killer, bug spray, fire-ant granules, gasoline, WD-40 ... the list goes on and on. We all depend on its brute force to carry the cast-offs and forgotten articles of transient tenants―the old mattresses, headboards, broken appliances and general trash―to the dumpster. Rarely complaining, its only request at the end of the day is for a refreshing turn at the charger, or a sip of distilled water for a parched battery.
 
Lest we forget, the cart's usefulness is in no way limited to hard labor; it is, in fact, among the site manager's most effective marketing tools. I could recount for hours the tales of prospects (usually accompanied by children) who were sold on a storage space, not by sizes, amenities or discounts, but by the sheer joy of an open-air perambulation around the facility in the golf cart, complete with narration and even an anecdote or two from my wife or myself. In observing the excitement of young passengers, one wonders if Ian Fleming had owned a storage facility whether “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” may well have been an EZ-GO rather than the European Grand Prix winner Paragon Panther.
 
Over the years, our carts―in white, red and even sea-foam green―have been many other things, at times transformed into security vehicles, amusement rides, an ambulance, even a pizza-delivery wagon. Their passengers have not always been human, as they have at times transported a dog, cat or the occasional stray lizard. It's as versatile a vehicle as you'll ever find. The golf cart is a mule without the stubbornness, a faithful sidekick without the fleas and, in most cases, the “greenest” fleet vehicle in your garage.
 
Have you hugged your golf cart today?

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

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