Tarco Buys Two CT Self-Storage Properties

Miami-based Tarco Properties purchased two self-storage facilities in Connecticut, which it will rebrand from the Lock Tight to the Value Store-It name. The Boston office of Fantini & Gorga assisted Eastern Bank in arranging $6 million in financing for the acquisition. 

The facilities are in Wallingford and Waterbury. The first has 54,075 rentable square feet and 490 units in two buildings. It also has outdoor parking spaces. The Waterbury property, on 5 acres, has 54,875 square feet and 546 units, also in two buildings. Both facilities offer climate control.
 
Source: Banker & Tradesman, F&G, Eastern Bank Arrange Acquistion Financing For Conn. Self-Storage Facilities

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American Cancer Society Gets Free Space from Guardian Self Storage

Guardian Self-Storage of Massachusetts has become a sponsor of the American Cancer Society and donated free storage to the charitable organization. Guardian has provided units at each of its three locations: Foxboro, Franklin and Pocasset.
 
Source: Cape Cod Times, Cape Commerce

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USstoragesearch.com Offers Up Real-Time Self-Storage Rentals

USstoragesearch.com has launched a newly designed website that allows consumers to find and compare self-storage facilities in their area and reserve units online. The site integrates with member facilities’ property-management software to display real-time unit inventory, pricing and specials.
 
When a customer reserves a unit using our website, we’re able to take that unit out of inventory just as if they were reserving at the facility’s front desk,” said Megan Eckert, executive vice president. “And because we require customers to make a credit card deposit to reserve, we’re sending our members reservations that will convert to rentals more than 90 percent of the time.”
 
The website also features enhanced search capabilities so users can look for units based on size or facility amenities. USstoragesearch.com members interested in participating should contact the company for details.
 
USstoragesearch.com connects consumers with self-storage and mobile-storage facilities in their area. It is the largest online storage directory, representing more than 12,000 facilities nationwide. Participating facilities pay a low monthly membership fee.

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BETCO Unveils Interactive Self-Storage Website

BETCO Inc., a single-source manufacturer of metal self-storage buildings, has unveiled a new, interactive website at Betcoinc.com. The site is designed to deliver information quickly and easily about self-storage trends, the company’s products and services, how to get started in the business, special services for owners, free incentives, and timely industry tips. Visitors can read about the following topics:

  • Understanding the self-storage business
  • Why now is a good time to invest in self-storage
  • Return on investment
  • Finding self-storage financing
  • Expanding or starting a self-storage business

They can also access free tools and resources such as an investment calculator, a concrete calculator, brochures, business seminars, a DVD on self-storage as an investment, a financial projection form and more.

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Day-to-Day Facility Maintenance for the Self-Storage Manager

Self-storage managers have an all-encompassing job. Not many industries require that a single employee be adept in marketing, sales, rental contracts, several aspects of law, business practices, accounting, collections, customer service, computers and maintenance. When juggling what is urgent vs. what is important, it’s easy to let maintenance items slip to the wayside. There are some simple ways to prevent that from happening. 

Deciding on the most productive routine for your facility starts with a list of tasks to be accomplished, and how often each task needs to be executed. Self-storage facilities have an ebb and flow in their workload. Organizing your maintenance tasks to fit your unique work pattern helps ensure you have time do everything.

Collections and move-outs tend to hover around the beginning of the month, so that would not be a good time for lengthy maintenance or repair. But incorporating certain tasks into the move-out process will ensure the ongoing maintenance of units as they turn over in the rental cycle.

Creating a Program

The first step in planning a maintenance program is to determine all the necessary tasks. Some are common to every facility, but each location will have environmental and design factors that influence its maintenance routine. To begin, divide the facility into separate areas of attention. Common areas/items include: 

  • Units and doors
  • Interior hallways
  • Pest control
  • Drives and parking
  • Security equipment
  • Dumpsters
  • Roof and trim
  • Intercoms and amenities
  • Landscaping
  • Fencing
  • Entry gates

Include additional items that are unique to your facility such as detention ponds, refrigeration units for specialty storage, etc. Once your categories are established, list each item in that category that requires consideration. For example, storage units are pretty simple; there are make-ready tasks to ensure a unit is in good condition and ready to rent, and routine maintenance for the exterior. Make-ready and aesthetic items would have two different time frames:

Task

Frequency

Wipe down interior walls and door.

At move out

Sweep out debris.

At move out

Lubricate roll-up door mechanism (if required).

At move out

Make sure door stops are in the proper position.

At move out

Ensure door glides easily.

At move out

Inspect door side channels.

At move out

Lubricate and clean the door sweep.

At move out

Apply protective coating for locking mechanisms.

At move out

Check sturdiness of panel attachments.

At move out

Check insulation for tears, seam splits.

At move out

Apply pest-control measures.

At move out

Clean doors of interior (climate-controlled) units.

Quarterly

Clean doors of exterior units.

Annually

The “at move out” items can then become part of the move-out routine. A checklist of tasks with the date completed can be added to the unit file. This provides a quick reference if you need to check the maintenance history.

Preventing Future Problems

In addition to tenant-based maintenance, consider adding other items to your existing routine. Adding a few minutes to your daily lock check can prevent potential problems from becoming actual ones. For example, when checking interior units, examine items such as exit-sign lighting, locks on mechanical rooms, thermostat controls, fire extinguishers and intercom operation.

When checking exterior units, inspect the gate track and keypad, the dumpster area, fence lines and bollard condition. Pick up any debris. As you drive or walk from unit to unit, look at drives for signs of wear and tear or vegetation coming up through the asphalt. Carry weed killer with you and use it at the first sign of interloping greenery. Keep a check list for your golf cart with the last time tire pressure and battery water levels were checked (weekly), and when fittings were last lubricated. Make it a habit to glance at your list when you get out the golf cart in the morning.

Some things are best tracked on a calendar. For example, adding algaecide to HVAC units, replacing air fresheners, inspecting gate wheels or any items that have longer intervals between inspections. Traditional or erasable calendars are fine, or try computer calendars in programs like Outlook, which let you set up recurring tasks and will automatically generate reminders.

If you’re just not a calendar person, find another way that will work for you. Try to associate the tasks on your list with other things that reoccur at appropriate intervals. Add algaecide every time you get an electrical bill, for example, or check the wheels on the gate the same day each month when locking out late-paying customers. Do a complete roof examination each time the clocks have to be set forward or backward, and check gutter and downspout attachments at the same time.

How you set up your schedule can be as personal as you need it to be; the essential thing is that there is a schedule and every item on the maintenance list is part of the routine. If you wait until you can see dirt on your floors before you mop them, then your tenants have seen it too. Prevention is the key.

It’s human nature to start out with enthusiasm, but as time goes by, interest wanes and diligence along with it. Facility maintenance is a dynamic issue, changing with weather, age and use. The list and schedule should be re-examined at least semi-annually, and definitely any time a new manager joins the team.

Managers guard the value of their facilities by keeping them properly maintained. With all of the other tasks they perform, integrating maintenance into the work flow is the safest bet to ensure there aren’t daisies peaking through the asphalt.

Donna May is president of Cross Metal Buildings, a Parham Group Co., and has been in the self-storage industry for 12 years. She is an instructor of Learn Self Storage, the past president of Joshua Management and a real estate broker. She has also been a partner in several startup self-storage projects. For information, call 210.477.4450; e-mail donna@crossmb.com; visit www.crossmb.com.

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Island Self-Storage Facility Offers 28-Day Free Rentals

Tenerife Self Storage, a family-owned business that opened in Las Chafiras, Tenerife, 18 months ago, sees no reason why people shouldn’t make use of its empty units, even at no charge. The company is offering 28 days of free storage to all takers who mention seeing the offer in the Tenerife News. The free rental must start before the end of June and is good for any unit up to five square meters, based on availability. Users must provide a small, refundable deposit, but there is no further obligation. Insurance coverage of up to 500 euros will also be provided.
 
Source: Tenerife News, What storage problem?

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Fabric-Covered Buildings

Pavilion Structures now offers custom-engineered, economical, fabric-covered buildings to suit any application on a temporary, relocatable or permanent basis. These commercial structures can be used for self-storage, dry storage, bulk storage, factory expansions, mechanical shops, show rooms, car washes, temporary shelter and much more. They provide natural lighting and protection from the elements, and are quick to install. Each pavilion is custom engineered with a double-truss, arch-steel system, covered by a spider weave fire-retardant fabric. It comes with an 18-year, prorated warranty.

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SiteLink Web Edition, Multilingual Version

SMD Software Inc., a provider of management software for self-storage and portable-storage operations, has released a multilingual version of SiteLink Web Edition. In this new version, users can select their language at the click of a button. This international version adapts to local currencies, language and business rules, and features inclusive taxation and translation of forms, leases, and letters. Technical support is available during local business hours. Established in 1996, SiteLink has more than 8,000 installations worldwide.

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Equity Based Services Purchases Arlington Self-Storage Facilities

Equity Based Services Inc. of San Diego purchased two self-storage properties in Arlington, Texas. Assured Median Self Storage has 79,095 net rentable square feet, 738 units and 17 parking spaces. Assured Sublett Self Storage has 88,920 net rentable square feet, 728 storage units and 24 parking spaces. These facilities bring the EBS portfolio to a total of 62 facilities in 11 states.
 
The Arlington purchases kick off the company’s aggressive acquisition plan for the Dallas region, according to Eric Kaplan, chief operating officer. Equity for the purchase came from the EBS Income Fund III and a pool of private client investors. Financing for the deal was facilitated through Tavernier Capital Partners. EBS was able to place a limited-recourse mortgage with one year of interest-only payments and a five-year term that amortizes over 25 years.
 
EBS is a private real estate company specializing in the acquisition and management of self-storage property. The company owns and operates approximately 60 properties in 11 states with a current market value of more than $300 million.

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US-41 Self Storage to Host 'Christmas in July' Event

US-41 Self Storage of Fort Myers, Fla., recently hosted a Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event, and now plans to host a “Christmas in July” benefit on July 25. The upcoming event will collect small toys and stuffed animals for the local Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
 
The June 9 chamber gathering featured a tropical theme, complete with a parrot owned by US-41 assistant manager John Davidson. In addition to representatives from several local businesses, the event was attended by an “alien,” from The Fun Tree, a costume shop next door to the self-storage facility.
 
US-41 serves Cape Coral, Fort Myers and North Fort Myers with self-storage, boat/RV storage and wine storage. The facility offers a coffee bar, meeting rooms and free Internet access.
 
Source: North Fort Myers Neighbor, US-41 Self Storage hosts chamber after hours event

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