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U-Haul Co. of Phoenix Metro Names President

U-Haul Co. of Phoenix Metro named Christopher Clark as president. Clark has proven leadership skills that will allow him to drive his team to success, the company said in a press release. He will be responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the company, including truck, trailer and storage rentals.

“Chris has shown the ability to execute company programs and get his team motivated to help serve customers,” says Area District Vice President Jeremy Frank. “I look forward to his continuing this effort in his new role of leading U-Haul Co. of Phoenix Metro. With Chris' incredible focus, his entire team is going to come together
and shine.”

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ISS Blog

The Value of a Relief or Assistant Manager

Times of office staff changeovers are never easy regardless of the reasons for the change. Whether it be a wondrous thing of a person moving onto better things in life, or a difficult HR situation, changes can cause stress for managers.
 
While the qualities in a relief staff member can be as varied as the number of facilities across the nation, the one quality that I believe is the most valuable of all is trust.
 
I recently had the opportunity to leave town for a few days, which meant thrusting a fairly novice office person onto front desk duty. Was I concerned? You bet. Maybe even a little worried? Yes, to that as well. However, the one thing I knew and could rest assured of was that this person was above all else trustworthy.
 
Skill sets can be taught, written procedures and policies can be followed by people with varying degrees of industry knowledge, but ultimately the question is: Is this person trustworthy and does he/she possess good morals and ethics?
 
The value of a person who appreciates employment, and tries his best is immeasurable and a truly great asset to any team. Sure, the telephone calls ensued, which I anticipated and welcomed. This particular team member cared enough to want to do things as best as possible.

One call stood out above the others: "Hi, Gina, I had a sales call, and I need some help on how to respond to this lady and for future reference."  

WOW! An employee asking for feedback in order to perform the job even better? We've all experienced the relief manager who does the minimal amount possible to collect a paycheck, so this was such a nice treat.
 
The potential customer's question was a bit out of the norm, and my employee did his best to answer the query.  The best part is he told the caller, "I'm new at this, and I know much about that ... May I call you back after I check with my manager for more precise information for you?"
 
Their is, of course, more to this story and why I can trust this person so explicitly, but the bottom line is every site manager needs a break and mine was long overdue. Having a trustworthy caring employee on site, despite a lack of the finely tuned skills that come with experience was wonderful. Looking for the basic good qualities in a person, and not "storage-knowledge" was a good thing.
 
Do you have any great hiring concepts? Or horror stories to share in seeking new employees? Self-Storage Talk, the industry's best online forum, is a great place to share and learn with others.

New Jersey's Premier Self Storage Adds Solar Panels

Premier Self Storage in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., recently joined other businesses in the state relying on power from the sun. According to facility owner Tim Schaeffer, Premier is the only solar-powered storage facility in New Jersey. The facility has 754 solar panels, each capable of generating 210 watts of electricity.

Other New Jersey businesses are also benefiting from solar power, including the Atlantic City Convention Center, which has 13,000 solar panels on its rooftop. The state currently has 4,000 solar installations producing a total of 93 megawatts of electricity, which is 5 percent of the state's 2020 goal.

Source: Press of Atlantic City,Clean Energy Is Heating Up, But New Jersey Still has a Long Way to Go to Meet its Goals

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Records Storage: A Good Add-On for Self-Storage, Even in a Down Economy

Records storage can be the No. 1 revenue-producing ancillary service in self-storage. It’s up in a down economy and up in an up economy. During hard times, businesses shrink their footprint and store records off site. In an up economy, growth spurs more business records.

Growth in commercial records management is now up by more than 10 percent worldwide. In fact, last yearthere were more commercial records-center startups than ever in the 60-year history of the industry. It has become a great ancillary service for about 5 percent of self-storage operators in Canada, Europe, Mexico and the United States.
 
Up in a Down Economy

Often, the most reliable self-storage customers are commercial tenants, typically small businesses. They stay longer and are most likely to add additional space. It’s estimated there are more than 100 million records-storage boxes in passive storage in North America. As a matter of fact, self-storage is the largest point of origin for most new commercial-records clients. You may already have dozens of clients with hundreds or even thousands of boxes in passive self-storage today.

Businesses worldwide are in a recessionary downturn, minimizing their expenses and onsite space. Records-storage boxes are the first non-essential items to go offsite. Self-storage is the most logical place to store them “temporarily.” Many traditional commercial records centers have hit all-time highs of growth during this slump.
 
Multiples of Revenue for the Same Space

Like self-storage revenue, records-storage revenue is computed by the cubic foot. Additionally, it is considered annuity revenue. The industry has developed an unusual and almost magic characteristic: Records grow like mushrooms in the dark. The average growth of an existing records-storage account can be as high as 25 percent in the first year of storage, or a minimum of about 10 percent on average. This factor is called “creep.” It’s defined as growth net of destruction from existing accounts.

Records-storage clients sign a one- to five-year contract rather than a month-to-month agreement. The contract has several key components:

  • Automatic renewal for the existing term unless canceled 60 days before the end of the term
  • Automatic price increases written into the verbiage
  • Penalties for withdrawal, retrieval fees, permanent retrieval fees and transportation fees

Price vs. Yield

Traditional records centers focus on larger accounts because of the cost of sales. Non-traditional records centers focus on small-business accounts that can be packaged to include a group of services for a fixed price. For example, typical packaging could include:

  • Economy package: less than 50 boxes
  • Small-business package: more than 50, but less than 100 boxes
  • Professional package: more than 100, but less than 200 boxes

These packages are priced based on a formula that allows the revenue yield to be 60 to 80 cents per box per month rather than the traditional average of about 35 cents per box. The account is signed to a tiered contract that automatically moves from one package to the next, and then finally to a standard agreement when it reaches 201 boxes at a fixed price. No new agreement ever needs to be signed. Billing for accounts can be done in advance by credit card on a quarterly basis to avoid hassle.
 
Just-in-Time Labor

In records storage, all labor can be outsourced except management. The smallest business clients will have only few transactions, such as retrievals and re-files. You can avoid offering delivery by opting to provide only will-call service. However, the most successful providers offer seven to 17 services, which create the most value for the customer and revenue for the operator.

The best approach is to employ “just-in-time labor,” a concept that combines strategic partnering with part-time employees:

  • A small independent mover to bring in new accounts
  • A local independent courier to make regular and emergency deliveries
  • Agent sales representatives to sell your services on their own schedule
  • Part-time employees to do data entry, boxing, retrieving and re-filing

All of these resources must be carefully selected to represent your business. They should wear your uniform and must undergo training. They should also be required to sign a confidentiality agreement and a strategic-partnering agreement.
 
Growth

A self-storage operator can grow his records-storage business at his own pace. There are three primary models for commercial records management:

  • Traditional, which is usually a standalone business and building
  • Non-traditional, which exists within the walls of another business such as self-storage
  • Transition, which moves from non-traditional to traditional over time

Some operators choose to remain small and offer only few services. Some make a leap to traditional when they reach 30,000 boxes. Others go directly into a traditional model by building a specialized building with a high ceiling height to accommodate records storage. Whatever you choose, it can be a valuable addition to your property’s revenue stream.

In addition, you can sell your book of business at any time during your business lifecycle. In other words, if you don’t like the records business, you can sell your contracts to a local or national provider. Records storage is an add-on service with little risk to you, but it can offer great rewards for you and your tenants.
 
Cary F. McGovernhas been in the commercial records-management industry for 32 years. He has assisted more than 500 companies in 23 countries enter and excel in this unique business. He is a member of ARMA International and PRISM International, and is a speaker at numerous industry tradeshows and conferences. To reach him, e-mail [email protected]; visit www.fileman.com

Related Articles:

Records Storage: Like a Gold Mine

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Building a Self-Storage Customer Base With Records Management

Self-Storage Talk: Does Anyone Have Document Storage at a Self-Storage Facility?
  
  
 

Records Storage: A Good Add-On for Self-Storage, Even in a Down Economy

Records storage can be the No. 1 revenue-producing ancillary service in self-storage. It’s up in a down economy and up in an up economy. During hard times, businesses shrink their footprint and store records off site. In an up economy, growth spurs more business records.

Growth in commercial records management is now up by more than 10 percent worldwide. In fact, last yearthere were more commercial records-center startups than ever in the 60-year history of the industry. It has become a great ancillary service for about 5 percent of self-storage operators in Canada, Europe, Mexico and the United States.
 
Up in a Down Economy

Often, the most reliable self-storage customers are commercial tenants, typically small businesses. They stay longer and are most likely to add additional space. It’s estimated there are more than 100 million records-storage boxes in passive storage in North America. As a matter of fact, self-storage is the largest point of origin for most new commercial-records clients. You may already have dozens of clients with hundreds or even thousands of boxes in passive self-storage today.

Businesses worldwide are in a recessionary downturn, minimizing their expenses and onsite space. Records-storage boxes are the first non-essential items to go offsite. Self-storage is the most logical place to store them “temporarily.” Many traditional commercial records centers have hit all-time highs of growth during this slump.
 
Multiples of Revenue for the Same Space

Like self-storage revenue, records-storage revenue is computed by the cubic foot. Additionally, it is considered annuity revenue. The industry has developed an unusual and almost magic characteristic: Records grow like mushrooms in the dark. The average growth of an existing records-storage account can be as high as 25 percent in the first year of storage, or a minimum of about 10 percent on average. This factor is called “creep.” It’s defined as growth net of destruction from existing accounts.

Records-storage clients sign a one- to five-year contract rather than a month-to-month agreement. The contract has several key components:

  • Automatic renewal for the existing term unless canceled 60 days before the end of the term
  • Automatic price increases written into the verbiage
  • Penalties for withdrawal, retrieval fees, permanent retrieval fees and transportation fees

Price vs. Yield

Traditional records centers focus on larger accounts because of the cost of sales. Non-traditional records centers focus on small-business accounts that can be packaged to include a group of services for a fixed price. For example, typical packaging could include:

  • Economy package: less than 50 boxes
  • Small-business package: more than 50, but less than 100 boxes
  • Professional package: more than 100, but less than 200 boxes

These packages are priced based on a formula that allows the revenue yield to be 60 to 80 cents per box per month rather than the traditional average of about 35 cents per box. The account is signed to a tiered contract that automatically moves from one package to the next, and then finally to a standard agreement when it reaches 201 boxes at a fixed price. No new agreement ever needs to be signed. Billing for accounts can be done in advance by credit card on a quarterly basis to avoid hassle.
 
Just-in-Time Labor

In records storage, all labor can be outsourced except management. The smallest business clients will have only few transactions, such as retrievals and re-files. You can avoid offering delivery by opting to provide only will-call service. However, the most successful providers offer seven to 17 services, which create the most value for the customer and revenue for the operator.

The best approach is to employ “just-in-time labor,” a concept that combines strategic partnering with part-time employees:

  • A small independent mover to bring in new accounts
  • A local independent courier to make regular and emergency deliveries
  • Agent sales representatives to sell your services on their own schedule
  • Part-time employees to do data entry, boxing, retrieving and re-filing

All of these resources must be carefully selected to represent your business. They should wear your uniform and must undergo training. They should also be required to sign a confidentiality agreement and a strategic-partnering agreement.
 
Growth

A self-storage operator can grow his records-storage business at his own pace. There are three primary models for commercial records management:

  • Traditional, which is usually a standalone business and building
  • Non-traditional, which exists within the walls of another business such as self-storage
  • Transition, which moves from non-traditional to traditional over time

Some operators choose to remain small and offer only few services. Some make a leap to traditional when they reach 30,000 boxes. Others go directly into a traditional model by building a specialized building with a high ceiling height to accommodate records storage. Whatever you choose, it can be a valuable addition to your property’s revenue stream.

In addition, you can sell your book of business at any time during your business lifecycle. In other words, if you don’t like the records business, you can sell your contracts to a local or national provider. Records storage is an add-on service with little risk to you, but it can offer great rewards for you and your tenants.
 
Cary F. McGovernhas been in the commercial records-management industry for 32 years. He has assisted more than 500 companies in 23 countries enter and excel in this unique business. He is a member of ARMA International and PRISM International, and is a speaker at numerous industry tradeshows and conferences. To reach him, e-mail [email protected]; visit www.fileman.com

Related Articles:

Records Storage: Like a Gold Mine

Records Storage: How to Learn More

Building a Self-Storage Customer Base With Records Management

Self-Storage Talk: Does Anyone Have Document Storage at a Self-Storage Facility?
  
  
 

Devon Self Storage of Lansing Hosts Underground Artist Market

On the first Sunday of every month, Devon Self Storage of Lansing, Mich., hosts the Old Town Underground Local Artists Market from noon to 5 p.m. In addition to providing artisans with a place to trade their wares, the event aims to build community. Dozens of artists and crafters assemble on the facility’s lawn and in its hallway and conference rooms to offer jewelry, pottery, photographs, drawings, handmade candles and more.
 
The event is the brainchild of Kat Lusch, a 25-year-old jewelry-maker who arrived in Lansing two years ago. She set up her studio in a unit at Devon Self Storage and, finding no regular artists’ market in the area, decided to create her own.
 
Source: Lansing State Journal, Underground community in Old Town markets artists

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Oroville Self Storage Raises Funds for High School Athletic Departments

Oroville RV Boat & Self Storage of California is donating a portion of its September sales to the athletic departments of Oroville and Las Plumas High Schools. The departments are each short $17,500 in funding for their programs this year. The facility will donate $5 from every unit it rents this month.
 
The self-storage facility is also challenging other local businesses to participate. Facility marketing director Lisa Beachamp picked up the idea from the Dutch Bros. Coffee "Give Back to the Community Program,” in which the Oroville coffee shop donated $1 from every beverage sold between Aug. 24 and 28 to the school athletic departments.
 
Beachamp sent e-mail blast to local businesses last week. Galeria Mexicana has agreed to donate 10 percent of its monthly sales. Mike Driskill of Driskill Insurance will donate $5 from every new insurance policy he sells this month. Comp U Bytes owner Gary Norwood will contribute $25 from the sale of each new computer system sold in his store during September.
 
Source: Oroville Mercury-Register, Businesses team up for high school sports

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Real Storage of Canada Buys Whitecourt Facility

Real Storage Limited Partnership of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, has acquired Hill Top Self Storage in Whitecourt, Alberta, the city’s largest facility, providing approximately 40,000 square feet of self-storage and boat/RV storage.
 
The Real Storage portfolio is comprised of five facilities in Alberta and British Columbia, with another two properties in the development stage, said Bill Roberts, president and CEO. The Whitecourt property increases Real Storage’s holdings to more than 375,000 net-rentable square feet and 2,100 units.

Real Storage is a Canadian-owned partnership focused on the acquisition, development and management of self-storage facilities across Canada.

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The New Retail Paradigm: Add-On Products Drive Self-Storage Rentals

It used to be that a self-storage facility’s level of retail sales depended on the number of new customers who came through the door. Retail was just a byproduct of rentals, responsible for a paltry 5 percent or so of revenue. These days, however, retail sales are actually driving unit rentals. It’s a case of the tail wagging the dog, so to speak.

I recently visited a newly acquired facility, a third-generation site upgraded into a model corporate enterprise. Along the entrance of the site was a propane-exchange cage complete with signage. When asked, the district manager said the business has a lot of regular propane customers, some of whom rent storage from time to time.

Inside the facility was a fully loaded, well-designed retail display. What raised my eyebrows, though, was the thriving parcel-mailing and mailbox-rental service. Plus, the facility offered carpet-cleaner and truck rentals. The manager said these ancillary sales account for up to 20 percent of the company’s income. 

Retail Can Act as Advertising

“As near as we can figure, all those people that come in to buy boxes and tape and stuff, or FedEx a package, or rent a truck or trailer, make up a decent portion of our new rental customers, too, ” one facility manager told me. It makes sense. If folks frequently visit a facility and have good service experiences, where’s the first place they’re most likely to turn when they need storage?

Americans are bombarded with hundreds, even thousands, of signs, billboards, ads and commercials daily, not to mention Internet pop-ups, e-mails and banners. To prevent information overload, consumers have learned to filter out messages that are of no interest to them. For example, if you’re driving and you’re hungry, you’ll notice restaurant signs and food billboards. If you’ve already eaten, you’ll be nearly oblivious to them.

What does this mean to you? That even if the same drivers pass your place twice a day, every day, they can be unaware of you. All your eye-catching signage and architecture may go completely unnoticed ... until someone finally needs storage. But when he does, he could turn first to the Yellow Pages or some online search engine where you’ll be competing with the guy four miles away before he figures out (maybe) that you’re just down the street.

So how can you get people’s attention before they need storage? Offer them something else they want, something you already stock, such as boxes and packing materials. And promote the heck out of it.

You already display those “We Sell Boxes” banners and signs. That helps, but are you listed in the Yellow Pages under “boxes” or “moving supplies?” That’s where people will look. How about giving renters coupons they can pass on to friends? Consider distributing these as door hangers on units or buying an insert in a direct-mail pack. In short, really work at establishing your business asthe community’s source for boxes and moving supplies. If you don’t, you could miss out on a major market opportunity.

Cornering a Retail Market Ensures Future Rentals

Consider this: Home-improvement centers, big-box stores, plus some office-supply and pharmaceutical chains have dabbled in box sales, but none areknown as the definitive source. It shows in their lackluster sales.

The fact is the only retail category that has been gradually establishing itself in the public’s mind as the place to go for boxes is self-storage. If you’re not building on this growing awareness and selling boxes and packing supplies to people other than your renters, you’re losing more than retail sales, you’re losing future rental business.

Price is not the only thing or even the most important thing customers consider when renting. Amenities, proximity and the “likeability” of the staff are often more important considerations. How better to have people experience all these factors than to sell them something? I’ve discussed boxes, but any product or service can work equally well.

Advertising That Pays for Itself

If you accept that people who have visited your facility for non-storage reasons are more likely to rent from you, then you need to think about products or services to lure them in. Since drivers can’t see into your store, you need to consider ways to let them know what you’ve got to offer. That includes outdoor displays, signage, Yellow Pages, ads, mailers and publicity.

People who visit a facility to buy boxes, send a package or rent a truck can often make up a portion of new rental customers. Those products and services will bring in new customers, just like advertising. But unlike advertising, these sales leads don’t cost you money. Instead, they pay you money.

Imagine adding up to 20 percent in revenue while also increasing your occupancy, which could lead to higher rates and margins. What if your add-on services and products increased your sales by even a modest $3,000 per month? A few hundred dollars here and there adds up. Before you know it, you’ve also increased the value of your facility. And that, my friends, would be a case of the tail wagging the dog we can all appreciate! 

Rob Kaminski is the vice president and general manager of Supply Source One, a division of Schwarz Supply Source, a retail supplier for more than 100 years. With a dozen warehouses nationwide, the company offers the self-storage industry a complete selection of retail products and office, maintenance and janitorial supplies that can be ordered in combination to simplify delivery and reduce costs. For more information, visit www.supplysourceone.com.

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Five Questions With Kiwi II Construction President Peter Brady

Inside Self-Storage recently spoke with Kiwi II Construction President Peter Brady about the evolving self-storage industry and the company's future.

1. Tell us about Kiwi II Construction.

Kiwi II was founded in 1982 by me, vice president Robert Walker, and principals Wayne Woolsey and Brian Foley. We started out as an installation company for a variety of steel buildings, from small garages to aircraft hangers and warehouses.

We became involved in the storage industry early on, installing standing-seam metal-roof products over wood framing, but it soon became apparent there was a better, more efficient way to frame these structures. 

We were instrumental in some designs that have become the industry standards, such as the post and purlin 5-by-10 grid and shear wall. Most buildings have become far more involved in design and construction as architects and owners push to get approval from municipalities while retaining as much net storage area as possible.

This is where our expertise and experience come into play. We have our own in-house engineer and drafting departments that allow us to control the designs and schedules of our projects. This ensures that our clients receive the most cost-effective and efficient designs applicable to each individual storage facility—from height restrictions to odd-shaped lots.

We also remain in control through in-house installation crews that are held to high standards of installation safety and schedules. We manage the manufacturing of many of the products we use, and have the ability to maintain steel pricing and adjust delivery schedules to suit field conditions and requirements.
 
2. What spurred the opening of the new office on the East Coast?

We’ve built on the East Coast for the past 10 years, but controlled operation from our California office. We recently opened an office in Orlando, Fla., to better serve our East Coast clients. The success of this operation was largely due to the many late-night flights and effort from Wayne and also project manager Ralston Toughey.

About six months ago, Ralston and his wife decided to move back to her home state of Florida, so we jumped at the opportunity to have him involved in the east. Ralston brings many years of construction experience and is a great complement to the Kiwi II team. 
 
3. What else is new with Kiwi II?

Storage has its own set of requirements for shear and load values, so rather than apply single-product values, we’ve designed our own full assembles and tested them to get maximum shear and load values in as-built conditions This allows our engineer to maximize the designs for our clients.

Another new avenue for Kiwi II is solar systems integrated on our RV canopies and storage buildings. We’ve been involved in these systems in more states and found the trick is to make sure you do your homework on local codes and financial incentives from state and federal tax credits.
 
4. Tell us about your RV- and condo-flex business.

These have become popular product lines and are finding their own niche in the storage industry. We’ve seen the early ones we built 10 years ago evolve from basic, oversize storage units to units with bathrooms, mezzanine floors, climate control and electric roll-up doors.

One of the drawbacks with RV-storage buildings from an owner’s standpoint is the amount of real estate you need to accommodate drive aisles, as some coaches are up to 44 feet long. We just completed a facility where we built the units on an angle to the driveway. It worked out great for the coaches to get in and out, and saved a good chunk of real estate.

The flex business has been a good complement to the RV condos. The units used for running a small business can offer more visibility from the street, or customers can take advantage of the wide drive aisles, as this makes loading and unloading delivery trucks much more feasible. They can also make use of the onsite manager and security as part of their daily operation. We just completed a project with business-flex units where the owner built a common room that includes a conference space and coffee bar.
 
5. Kiwi II has many installation crews and manufacturing facilities throughout the country. What can you tell us about them?

Kiwi II has a long history in the installation arena as that is how we started—installing others’ designs and products. We still have a core of original installers who are now managing training, overseeing or running many of our crews. This has been essential in maintaining our reputation on quality and schedule. We realized early on that the end product and the manor in which we conducted business in the field would be a key factor in our success. Our goal is also to generate repeat clients.

Outside sales are handled by Eric Henderson, based in Phoenix, and Terry Conners in Denver. They both bring many years of experience and know that whether it’s a sketch on a napkin or making commitments to owners and developers, we are behind them 100 percent. We can and will get it done. In this economy, it’s even more important to know who you’re in business with. We consider our clients our partners.

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