Offering Benefits to Your Self-Storage Employees

More self-storage companies, big and small, are offering a competitive salary along with a comprehensive benefits package to their employees. Here’s a look at some of the programs some companies are providing and how they help attract quality staff.

October 27, 2014

5 Min Read
Offering Benefits to Your Self-Storage Employees

By Amy Campbell and Lindsay Crnkovich

Value Store It Management Inc. knows what it takes to attract quality managers to oversee the company’s 13 facilities: a good salary and an even better benefits package. The Florida-based company treats its 60-plus employees as sales professionals, not facility caretakers.

“The self-storage industry has evolved drastically over the past 10 years. Operators can’t afford to have a ‘clock watcher’ behind the counter,” says Carlos Diaz, vice president.

More self-storage companies, big and small, are offering a competitive salary along with a comprehensive benefits package to their employees. The reason is twofold: to attract a higher-caliber staff and reward them for a job well done.

Providing More

While storage operators are in agreement that an employee-benefits package is a necessity, the programs vary greatly among companies. Many offer medical and dental insurance, with premiums either partially or fully paid by the employer; 401(k) retirement programs, with an employer-matched percentage; paid vacation days; and even health-savings accounts. Plus, most provide “extras” such as performance incentives.

Benefits at Value Store It kick in following 90 days of full-time employment and include three health-insurance options in which the company contributes, paid life insurance, a 401(k) match of 4 percent, and paid vacation/sick leave. The company also offers performance-based bonuses, an employee-of-the-month program and holiday bonuses. It even gives employees turkeys and hams at Thanksgiving. “Qualified managers should expect a comprehensive benefits package with health insurance and performance-based incentives,” Diaz says.

The company also sponsors outings in conjunction with its quarterly manager meetings. “This helps reinforce our corporate culture and build team morale,” Diaz says.

StorageMart, which operates more than 150 facilities in the United States and Canada, understands it “must” provide an attractive employment-benefits package to attract quality employees and reduce turnover, says CEO Mike Burnam. In addition to offering medical and dental insurance, employees can participate in a 401(k) plan in the U.S. and a similar retirement program in Canada. StorageMart also hosts holiday parties and family events, such as barbecues, go-cart racing, batting cages and miniature golf.

Building a Partnership

Employee benefits not only show managers their time is appreciated, they give staff a sense of partnership in the company’s success. Self-storage real estate investment trust Sovran Self Storage Inc., which operates more than 500 properties under the Uncle Bob’s Self-Storage brand, offers a number of benefits to its 1,300 employees, including health and life insurance plans, a 401(k), and vacation and holiday pay, says Jennifer Kozub, director of human resources.

Managers also receive discounts on wireless plans from Verizon, Dell computers and auto, homeowners’ and renters’ insurance.

In addition, they’re eligible for quarterly incentives tied to the company’s “STARS” program, which measures employee metrics and behaviors through company audits. “Dedicated and loyal employees are what make an organization successful,” Kozub says. “To attract and retain high-quality people, we believe it is important to offer not only a comprehensive benefits program but tools to empower them to achieve at their highest potential.”

Sovran’s area managers host events to boost team camaraderie such as lunches, dinners and meetings called “roundtables.” “These events allow our teams to interact, share best practices and build mutually beneficial relationships,” Kozub says. “Our associates appreciate the chance to share their stories and the opportunity to be recognized in front of their peers. The practice builds support within geographic areas and a shared vision for success.”

Small Businesses With Big Rewards

It’s not just larger self-storage operators that are providing comprehensive benefits packages to employees. Many smaller companies have also recognized the value it brings to their business. A1 Mini U-Store-It, which operates five facilities in Canada and has 11 employees, offers dental and medical coverage to managers after six months of employment. The company also provides vendor discounts, bonuses and paid membership to Costco.

“There are typically three types of stakeholders in any organization: staff, principals and customers. If employees are well-treated, they make sure customers and principals remain happy,” says Mat Seguin, director of operations.

A1 Mini also holds customer-appreciation barbecues to reward tenants and employees. “Our managers get to socialize with customers and each other, while I do all the work!” Seguin jokes. “They truly enjoy the opportunity to talk with customers.”

Self-storage managers are no longer “grounds custodians and administrators,” but professional salespeople, so they should be treated as such. “We have to start recognizing that we are not going to attract experienced salespeople with low wages and run-down apartments,” Seguin says.

A company’s strength comes from its employees and their experience, says Barbara Hancock, operations and district manager for Cardinal Self Storage, which operates six facilities in North Carolina and has 13 employees. “We strive to offer all we can to retain good employees,” Hancock says. “We have been fortunate to have had managers stay with us until retirement, some for 12 years.”

Along with health, life insurance and paid vacation for each employee, Cardinal provides a furnished apartment, appliances and paid utilities to all of its onsite managers. “Apartments are two bedrooms and one bath, approximately 1,200 square feet,” Hancock says “All managers get free use of the unit of their choosing.”

Giving benefits and perks to employees isn’t just nice for them, it’s good for business. Employees who feel valued will usually do a better job, which means the business will run smoother and bring in more money. Plus, employees who are satisfied with their job will be more likely to stay, and this stability reduces expensive turnover costs.

But even when benefits can’t be directly tied to cost savings, they can be worthwhile in the long run. “Managers are expected to run these multi-million-dollar facilities professionally and outperform their competitors. Hiring and retaining qualified individuals is more important than saving a few dollars in payroll,” Diaz says.

Lindsay Crnkovich is a senior majoring in journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and an intern with Inside Self-Storage.

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter
ISS is the most comprehensive source for self-storage news, feature stories, videos and more.

You May Also Like