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Extra Space Storage CFO Participates in Self-Storage Panel

Kent Christensen, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Extra Space Storage Inc., will participate in a self-storage panel at the BMO North American REIT Conference on Sept. 11 at 10:30 a.m. CT. The panel will be moderated by Paul Adornato of BMO Capital Markets and broadcast live over the Internet. It can be access through Extraspace.com by clicking on the "Investor Relations" link at the bottom of the page.
 
Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Extra Space is a real estate investment trust that owns or operates 738 self-storage facilities in 33 states and Washington, D.C. Its properties comprise approximately 495,000 units and more than 53 million square feet of rentable space.

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ISS Blog

Are You Keeping Customers Waiting?

A few weeks ago, I purchased something at a nearby retailer, then decided to return it. I entered the store, headed to the back where returns are made and came to an abrupt stop when I saw the long line. There was only one person behind the customer service counter—on a Saturday afternoon. So rather than waste my time standing in line, I decided to try another day.

Have you noticed lines are longer these days? As retailers, restaurants, banks and grocery stores cut stuff, longer lines are inevitable. There simply are fewer employees to man registers, serve food or accept payments. For impatient people, like me, a long line could be a deal breaker.

An interesting article in The Wall Street Journal chronicles the problem of long lines in retail—and dives into the use of single, serpentine lines, the kind you see at Best Buy and in banks.

As a self-storage manager, you’re often faced with serving multiple customers, perhaps in the office, on the property and on the phone simultaneously. How long do you balance their needs? Do you keep the caller on hold so you can help the person standing in the office? Or keep the person within eye contact waiting?

While creating a single-service line is ludicrous in this setting, you do need to learn how to prioritize you customers so you not only meet their needs but exceed their expectations. The last thing you want is a tenant popping in, seeing several people ahead of him and ducking out the door. This could be a payment, a new rental, a chance for retail sales, etc.

To boost your customer service skills, read these articles from the ISS archives.
 
Partnering With a Self-Storage Call Center  

Service Matters! Eight Steps to Superior Customer Relations 
 
10 Tips for Making a Good First Impression in Self-Storage 
 
If you’re planning on attending the Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Washington, D.C., Oct. 5-8, you should consider attending Joe Niemczyk’s Management Workshop. Joe is a veteran of the self-storage industry and an engaging speaker. The add-on workshop will help newcomers and experienced managers hone their customer service and sales skills, brush up on legal issues and uncover new marketing strategies.

The expo will also have a day-to-day operation and facility management education track loaded with information-packed seminars. To view seminar and add-on workshop descriptions and to register, visit www.insideselfstorageworldexpo.com.

Self-Storage Insurance Program

All Risks introduced a new insurance program designed specifically for the self-storage industry, including boat/RV storage and mobile storage. 

The turnkey solution will be available nationwide in a package or mono-line basis. The company will offer customer-goods legal liability, and sale and disposal liability, along with property insurance, including wind and coastal areas, pollution clean-up, workers’ compensation, umbrella, and flood and earthquake.

The Hunt Valley, Md.-based company said the program will meet the insurance needs for self-storage operations of all sizes. The company will offer competitive prices and premium credits for facilities reflecting best practices in site construction and operational procedures. Additional credits are available for storage association members and facilities that provide tenant insurance options.

Mele Harris, who has 20 years of insurance industry experience, will serve as the program manager.

Source:  Insurance & Financial Advisor,  Maryland Company Un-Boxes Self-Storage Industry Insurance Program

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SiteLink Web Software Posts Record Conversions in July

SMD Software Inc., developer of SiteLink software for self-storage and portable-storage management, posted a record number of conversions to SiteLink Web Edition in July, completing more than 200 conversions and new startups. The 34 percent increase year-to-date underscores SiteLink’s continuous growth.

SiteLink Web Edition allows owners integrate online management for tenants, and enables them to change settings on their websites any time without programming or Web-design experience. Cost-saving features include real-time access, online reports, ACH/bank draft, online payments and account management for tenants, a mobile-storage module and more.  

“We are proud of our team’s strong performance. Our seven in-house programmers and 20 technicians have optimized conversion processes to Web Edition," says Markus Hecker, COO and director of marketing and sales."When clients switch from any system to SiteLink Web Edition, we transfer more information than ever before.”  

Customers choose SiteLink Web Edition for its greater reliability and ease-of-use, Hecker says. Web Edition offers clients data that is secure, encrypted and stored in redundant locations. Managers, owners, accountants and investors can track performance any time. 

Consolidated reports, dashboards and custom-report writers deliver data-mining. The promotions module, Insomniac Kiosk, CRM integration and e-commerce module help users navigate today’s online environment.  

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Overhead Door Acquires Portion of Wayne-Dalton Door Business

Overhead Door Corp. and Wayne-Dalton Corp. have reached a tentative, non-binding agreement in which Overhead Door will acquire Wayne-Dalton’s overhead door business in North America and Europe.
 
Under the terms of the tentative agreement, Overhead Door would acquire substantially all of the assets of Wayne-Dalton’s commercial and residential overhead door business, as well as its Fabric-Shield storm panel business in a cash transaction.

Wayne-Dalton would retain its garage-door opener and wireless home-access control businesses and will continue to manufacture, market and sell products of those businesses.

The tentative agreement in principle contemplates that Overhead Door will continue to promote and make available Wayne-Dalton openers and wireless home-access products to Wayne-Dalton customers. The transaction is subject to the negotiation and execution of a definitive agreement and to customary closing conditions, including regulatory and other approvals.
 
Dallas-based Overhead Door Corp. is a manufacturer of overhead doors and openers for residential, commercial and industrial applications.

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AR&C Self Storage Opens in New Jersey

AR&C Self Storage opened a state-of-the-art 67,808-square-foot facility in Hamilton, N.J. The facility is adjacent to The Home Depot along Route 130.

The three-story climate-controlled facility has expansive windows from ceiling to floor to showcase the roll-up self-storage doors. Two of the three floors were completed by the opening. When finished, the facility will have 635 units, including drive-up units accessible around the perimeter of the first floor. 

Investment Real Estate Management (IREM) will manage the facility's operations and marketing. The company currently manages more than 45 self-storage properties for third-parties in six states. 

The Investment Real Estate Group of Companies, based in York, Pa., provides self-storage brokerage, construction, management and consulting services to owners and investors in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States. 

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Sentry Self Storage Awarded Brooksville Management Contract

Broad and Wiscon Self Storage in Brooksville, Fla., will now be managed by Sentry Self Storage LLC, a Florida-based company that provides management services to independent self-storage owners and investors. The facility is comprised of 54,515 square feet with 430 units. 

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Self-Storage Truck Rental Meets Operator and Customer Needs

To maintain profitability and outperform your competition, you should aggressively promote and expand your business. The best way to accomplish this is to anticipate what your customers need and take advantage of the opportunity to provide it, while simultaneously making a profit.

When customers move into their self-storage unit, they often need boxes for packing and a lock to secure their belongings. You’ve probably anticipated these needs and offer these items for sale. Take the same approach to the need for transportation. By anticipating self-storage customers’ need for a truck—and then providing one—you add a profit center to your business that has other fringe benefits.

Truck Features

First, determine the type of truck and features your customers will require to make their move as safe and easy as possible. Your truck should be a new or late-model vehicle that’s reliable and meticulously maintained. It should be a size that’s easy for customers to drive and park.

A 14- or 15-foot truck requires only one parking space, and when equipped with a backup alarm, it’s easily maneuvered by the average driver. An extended loading ramp (12-foot) with a reduced incline makes loading and unloading much easier for the non-professional. An automatic transmission, air conditioning and radio will make your truck user-friendly and comfortable.

Customer safety is crucial. When you provide amenities such as a fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, furniture pads, safety triangle, hand truck and roadside assistance, your customers get a safe and efficient solution to their transportation needs. Your truck box should have a flat-wood floor to help cushion the load and make it easy to use the hand truck. All of these features are essential to ensure customers have an easy and safe move. 

Go Green

People are increasingly aware of how their actions impact the environment. “Green” is the new catchphrase, and you should jump on the bandwagon by getting a “green” truck.

Trucks that are aero-dynamically designed can reduce wind resistance, allowing 15 percent to 20 percent better fuel efficiency. Flex fuel allows your vehicle to run on gasoline, alcohol or any combination of the two. Fuel made of alcohol, also called ethanol, burns cleaner than gas and reduces pollution and global warming. Offering a green option make you an environmentally conscious choice for customers and gives you an edge over competition. 

A Moving Billboard

Your truck provides a convenient and anticipated service for customers, but it also presents an opportunity to advertise your business and establish a presence within the communities you serve. When you add custom graphics to your vehicle, it becomes a moving billboard, which is a great competitive advantage.

Moving billboards make more than six times the number of impressions than standard billboards, frequently at a lower cost. When customers are using your vehicle to move in and out of your facility, they’re advertising your business. You don’t have to pay them a salary to drive your moving billboard, or even pay for the gas. Your truck will make thousands of impressions daily on potential clients and millions of visual impressions per year.

A regular stationary billboard can cost more than $1,000 per month. For less money, you can obtain a rental truck for your tenants and enhance revenue by charging them for its use. Adding slogans to your graphics such as “Rent From Me, Use the Truck for Free” will ensure that your company is sought when someone needs storage.

You can allow customers to use your truck for free, or you can charge a usage fee by the day or hour. You can also rent your truck to the general public, locally or long distance. If you own your vehicle, or lease to own, you can charge any amount you choose and don’t have to share the profit with a franchise company. The public will be intrigued by your moving billboard, and your customers will be delighted that you have anticipated their need for a transport vehicle.

The graphics for the truck should be high-quality, using a solvent-based inkjet print process. All prints should have UV-protective laminate to protect against scuffs, chemicals, etc. Use a graphics company that’s reputable and experienced with commercial vehicles to ensure graphics are applied right the first time.

Working With the Community

You may even be able to get your truck for free by allowing other local businesses to advertise on the back door and sides. This space frequently rents between $150 and $300 per month, and some trucks provide six to 10 advertising spaces. You could easily acquire more advertisers than you need to cover the cost of your truck.

You can also build a positive community image and gain more exposure by allowing local charities, religious institutions, schools and clubs to use your truck free of charge. This complimentary rental will increase your exposure and appreciation from major community stakeholders. It will also lead to referrals and increase your market presence.

Be the business that outperforms the competition by anticipating customers’ needs. Start the process of acquiring a truck for your business today.

Jackie Ulfig is the outside sales director for On The Move Inc., which provides commercial trucks for lease, vehicle graphics and insurance to self-storage facilities and other industries. For more information, call 800.645.9949; e-mail [email protected]; visit www.onthemovetrucks.com.

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US Storage Centers Helps California Fire Victims

US Storage Centers facilities in Irwindale, La Crescenta, Mission Hills and Montrose, Calif., have stepped up to help fire victims in the areas devastated by wildfires north of Los Angeles. The facilities have offered free storage to victims through the Red Cross and local fire and police departments.

“These are our communities, our neighbors,” said Mike Brady, senior director of operations. “We are happy to assist in any way we can.”
 
US Storage Centers is managed by Westport Properties, which manages more than 3 million square feet of self-storage in five states.

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A-American Self Storage Offers Free Storage to California Fire Victims

A-American Self Storage of California is offering 30 free days of self-storage and free use of its moving truck to people in danger of losing their homes to the wildfires raging through Los Angeles County. 
 
“The catastrophic effect of these wildfires is being felt, as they get closer to home,” said Craig Olson, president. “We want to do our part to make sure that irreplaceable items are not lost in the devastation. We're encouraging everyone to follow evacuation orders and we are opening up our doors for any valuable goods they may want to take with them for temporary safe keeping.

People in need of evacuating their homes due to the wildfires should call 1-800-499-FLAG (3524). Trucks are subject to availability and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
 
A-American Self Storage has more than 100 locations throughout California, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri and Nevada.

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