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Competitive Bids: How a Simple Project Becomes a Real Chore

Competitive bids are a wonderful perk of the free enterprise system. At the same time, they can become the bane of your existence. While managing your property, you sometimes realize there's a project that is, if you’re honest with yourself, out of your scope of expertise. Being the highly intelligent person you are, you whip out the Yellow Pages or log on to Google to find someone else to tackle the job. 

You begin your quest by looking for companies offering the best customer service, the best pricing and, of course, the absolute best job completion time frame–like yesterday. 

Either by edict from someone higher up on the chain of command or through your own stubbornness you're determined to get three bids. Contact No. 1 goes decently and after some cajoling the bidder actually agrees to view the small jobsite. You initiate contact No. 2. The phone just rings. There's no answering machine, so you try the backup phone number and still no response. 

When you call the next company you reach the girlfriend of a one-man shop, but he’s out and she doesn’t know when he’ll be back. Can’t say you blame him either when you hear her screaming at the children in the background. You practically have to beg her to take down your telephone number. All the while thinking, “I only need three prices and job completion time frames, how hard can that be?”

On to hopefully contact No. 3. A big phone book ad or website greets you and you think, “At last, a legitimate company.” A receptionist greets your call, then passes you along to the job foreman who takes down your information. Within an hour, a rep from company three shows up to bid the job.

Excitedly you show the person the scope of work. And you breath a sigh of relief. You’ve found a company with a fast response, a classy operation, a clean company vehicle and they didn't thumb their nose at the small nature of your job. You know all will turn out perfectly.
 
After going through this process one or two more times over the course of the next week–because no one else ever called back–you are now considering doing the job yourself. What the heck, you can read a how-to book, any dummy can do that much and you’re no dummy.

Eventually all the bids arrive, and you still like company No. 3 from round one with the prompt service during the bidding process. You excitedly rip open the envelope that holds the answer to your prayers, and then you are blown out of your chair and onto the floor by sticker shock.
 
The telephone rings, it’s the boss and he’s asking for a status update on that job that needs to be addressed. “Well, boss, I honestly, really tried but ...” At least a day in the life of a self-storage manager is never dull.

Share your competitive bids stories by posting a comment below or head over to Self-Storage Talk, the self-storage industry's only online forum, and join the fun.

Gulfport Sees More Sophisticated Self-Storage

Accustomed to being home to small, mom-and-pop self-storage facilities, South Mississippi is seeing the emergence of larger, more sophisticated facilities. For example, John Fayard Self Storage in Gulfport, scheduled to open in September, is a sprawling complex rich with contemporary features. Not only can the facility resist 140 mph winds, protecting it from hurricanes, it offers temperature- and humidity-controlled units for wine storage. It has 687 units.  
 
Source: WLOX - Biloxi,MS,USA, Massive complex redefines self storage business

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Dumfries, Scotland, Gets First Self-Storage Facility

The first self-storage facility in Southwest Scotland opened in Dumfries this week. Located on the Heathhall Industrial Estate, Dumfries Self Storage is directed by Peter Landale and managed by Julie Armstrong. Armstrong was trained in self-storage operation at The Jenners Depository in Edinburgh.
 
Source: Dumfries & Galloway Standard, Dumfries Self Storage launches in Heathhall

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Crime Stoppers Offers $2K to Help Solve Self-Storage Robbery

Central Ohio Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest or indictment of the burglars who broke into 24 self-storage units in Columbus, Ohio, on Jan. 11. Surveillance tapes show three men in a 1990s dark-color Ford Ranger truck enter a self-storage facility on Valleyview Drive using an access code at the gate. They broke into 16 units, stealing various goods, and returned several days later to rob eight additional units.
 
Crime Stoppers will pay up to $2,000 for information received by July 22 that leads to the arrest or indictment of the perpetrators. Those with information are asked to call 61.461.8477 or submit info via www.stopcrime.org. Text tips can be sent to "274637" with key word "TIP125."
 
Source: WBNS-10TV Columbus, Self-Storage Burglaries Named Crime Of Week

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Self-Storage Owner Champions San Rafael Clean Campaign

In an effort to keep her East San Rafael, Calif., neighborhood clean, the owner of Bellam Self Storage and Boxes regularly picks up trash on the street behind her business. Andree Jansheski started on this personal mission three years ago. Now Public Works calls her the “Mayor of Simms Street,” she told the Contra Costa Times.  
 
Bellam Self Storage is one of more than 70 businesses that participate in the San Rafael Clean Campaign. Begun during the city's cleanup days in 2005, the campaign has become a year-round effort. Partakers are promoted on the San Rafael Clean website and receive window decals as well as a certificate signed by the mayor. They vow to keep the town clean, provide adequate trash and recycling bins and educate employees about proper trash disposal, They also agree to know and follow all city codes and openly state their status as a “clean” business to staff and the public.
 
Source: Contra Costa Times, Businesses join campaign to clean up San Rafael

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Extra Space Storage Releases 2Q 2009 Results

On Aug. 3, self-storage operator Extra Space Storage Inc. will release its financial results for the three- and six-month periods ended June 30, 2009. An accompanying conference call will be held on Aug. 4 at 1 pm ET. Hosting the call will be Spencer Kirk, chairman and CEO; Kent Christensen, executive vice president and CFO; and Karl Haas, executive vice president and COO.
 
The call will be broadcast live over the Internet and can be accessed through the “Investor Relations” page at Extraspace.com. Listeners should visit the website 15 minutes early to register as well as download and install the necessary audio software. A digital replay will be available from Aug. 4 through Aug. 18. To access the replay, dial 888.286.8010 and enter passcode 31907669. International callers should dial 617.801.6888 and enter the same passcode.
 
Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Extra Space Storage is a real estate investment trust that owns or operates 698 self-storage properties in 33 states and Washington, D.C.

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PODS Franchise Owner Supports Numerous SoCal Charities

Steve Yapp, owner of three PODS franchises in Southern California.

Steve Yapp, owner of three PODS (Portable On Demand Storage) franchises, has been a regular supporter of many non-profit and charitable organizations in Southern California. In particular, he has donated the free use of portable-storage containers to Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, a crisis-care and residential-treatment facility for abused, neglected or at-risk children in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. 

More than three years ago, Yapp contacted Carrie Hughes, Casa Pacifica’s assistant director of development, to ask how he could help. Since then, he has donated containers during the winter holidays to store gifts for kids, contributing many gifts himself. Most recently, he was a major sponsor of the group’s annual Wine and Food Festival, donating four PODS containers to store supplies and silent-auction items. A designated container remains at Casa Pacifica’s facility in Camarillo, Calif., year round for extra storage needs. According to Hughes, Yap’s donations save the group thousands of dollars each year.
 
Yapp owns PODS franchises in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura, Calif., counties. Through them, he has donated hundreds of PODS containers to nonprofit and charitable organizations throughout Southern California, including Boys & Girls Clubs, FOOD Share of Ventura County, Toys 4 Tots, California

Casa Pacifica directors Carrie Hughes and Vicki Murphy stand inside a PODS container filled with toys.

Strawberry Festival, Ojai Music Festival, Relay for Life, C.H.P. Holiday Toy Drive, Salvation Army, Santa Maria Good Samaritan, Oxnard Downtown Management District, Boy Scouts of Ventura County, California Visitors Center, Simi Valley Days and the Oxnard Salsa Festival.
 
Yapp’s company is also an early responder to natural disasters, having dispatched hundreds of containers to assist in recovery and rebuild efforts throughout Southern California.
 
Founded in 1998, PODS provides moving and storage services throughout the United States as well as in Australia and Canada. To date, the company has completed more than 200,000 long-distance moves and has more than 138,000 containers in service.

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ISS Blog

AZ Victory: Now It's Official

It's official: The bill that affects positive change to the self-storage lien law in Arizona was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday, after several weeks of its supporters holding their breath and wringing their hands. Things looked grim for a while as budget squabbles threatened to undermine the success of HB 2435. Now the state's self-storage operators can look forward to saving money on lien-sale notifications. The new law goes into effect Sept. 30.

Congratulations to the Arizona Self Storage Association, the national Self Storage Association and attorney Richard Marmor on this fantastic victory. Let this give inspiration to other state associations in causing beneficial legislation for facility owners and managers nationwide.

To join an online discussion about the new legislation and the challenges operators face in other states, check out the thread titled "Legislative Victory in AZ!" on Self-Storage Talk.

To read more about the history of this legislative battle, visit the following pages:

Details about the bill can be viewed here:  http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=2435

Arizona Governor Signs Bill for Improved Self-Storage Lien Law

Arizona self-storage operators breathe a sign of relief today as Gov. Janet Brewer has signed into law HB2435, a bill that amends the notification requirements for self-storage lien sales. Since the bill passed the legislature on July 1, its champions have been concerned about its fate, as budget debates delayed the essential signature.
 
The bill was introduced by the Arizona Self-Storage Association (AZSA) and subsidized by the national Self Storage Association’s Legislative Issues Fund. Lead by attorney Richard Marmor of The Arbour Cos., the bill will save Arizona operators money by replacing the requirement for expensive Certified Mail notices and doing away with the requirement for newspaper advertisements prior to lien sale. They can now notify tenants in default via any method offered by the U.S. Postal Service that provides evidence of mailing.

In Arizona, a new law takes affect 90 days after the legislature adjourns, which was July 1 in this case. 

To view details about the bill and its journey, visit http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=2435.

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Door Improvements: Design Loads, Universal Guide System

U.S. Door Nylon Windlocks

The Florida Building Commission has issued windload certifications for U.S. Door & Building Components door Models 501-30, 501-42, 502-30, 502-42 and 652-30. In addition to design loads up to 66.1 PSF (pounds per square foot), the product line has incorporated a new universal guide system. The improved guide can be used on masonry, steel or wood jambs and allows for simple, easy installation due to a more “forgiving” design than those used by traditional windlock doors.
 
Each of the models uses nylon windlocks, making them quieter and easier to operate while reducing maintenance. Also improved is the elimination of the jamb clips. This novel design decreases the required jamb side room by 1.75 inches.
 
These products complement the full line of windload doors available from U.S. Door, including models equipped with steel wind locks approved for Miami-Dade County Florida. All models are available for shipment from Orlando, Fla., and Mesa, Ariz.


U.S. Door Model 652

U.S. Door has been an international supplier of commercial doors and products for the self-storage and metal-building industries for more than 30 years. In addition to roll-up doors, the company offers related products including hallway and corridor systems, swing doors, lockers, EZ Access wicket doors, relocatable buildings, and mezzanine systems.

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