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Y2KAre you ready?

November 1, 1999

2 Min Read
Y2KAre you ready?

Y2K

Are you ready?

By Kim Alton

With the year2000 fast approaching, all self-storage owners and management companies need to take ahard look at all areas of the self-storage market. In the following sections are thequestions you need to ask yourself to decide if you can stay successful in a highlycompetitive industry. No longer can you remain complacent and be happy with 100 percentoccupancy. With stiff competition and modern technology, self-storage will continue tochange.

Equipment

At your facilities, are you using the proper equipment to manage the accounting of thesite? The days of manual accounting and file boxes are obsolete. Take a look at theaccounting capability of any major software package. Most programs are running in the DOSmode and are quickly becoming outdated. Consider a Windows-based product for all of yourmanagement needs. This includes a gate system and credit-card program that will interfacewith your facility-management program. Credit-card terminals and printers are becoming athing of the past. The accountability each one of these programs provide--together andseparately--will also force the manager to conduct business in such a way to help reducesome of the theft that followed the old computer programs.

There are more areas that can be audited and many more ways to spot-check employees.Also involved with the new programs are the management reports available to owners thatanalyze and compare multiple sites. If you are using a computer program, make sure youhave investigated the Y2K compliance of the program. Do you need to send for a disk ordownload a patch? What about the gate system--will it shut down as you are celebrating thearrival of the new year?

Management

Is your staff properly trained? Do you have a strong policy manual? Are your managersup to speed on all of the marketing ideas available to them? Gone are the days whenmanagers played the role of mere overseer. Business degrees and experience are becomingnecessities for this position. You will want your staff to be knowledgeable enough to beon the same page as the company.

Facilities

Make your facilities a site of one-stop shopping. Most potential tenants are hurried,hot, moving--they are not listening and do not have a lot of money to pay upon a move-in.You will want to assure that renting a storage unit from your manager is the easiest thingthey do all day.

Is your facility ready? To offer packing supplies, boxes and locks is not onlyconvenient for the customer, but it also generates revenue. Offering mailbox rentals willkeep tenants for a longer period of time, and offering records storage will attract astrong business-tenant base. When you accompany service with door alarms, climate control,moving aides, electronic gates, individualized security codes, cameras, professionallydressed and trained managers, and a clean, sparkling facility, you will only create awin-win situation for everyone. Customers are your bread and butter. Ask what you can dofor them, not what they can do for you.

Kim Alton is the assistant operations manager and trainer for C.N. LyonsDevelopment Company based in Newport Beach, Calif.

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