“With great power comes great responsibility.” For those of you who don’t follow comics and superheroes, this often-repeated line comes from Uncle Ben, the character who helped raised Peter Parker, also known as Spider-Man.
The quote can also apply to reports generated from self-storage management software. What kind of power do they really give you? I’m sure you casually glance over your management summaries, rent rolls and possibly even daily deposits to ensure the numbers align and there’s nothing fishy going on. But have you taken a deep dive into other reports?
Many people don’t like to look at numbers all day long, while others (like me) love analytics and strategic planning. Truthfully, you don’t have to like math to understand numbers and information about your company. However, as a self-storage operator, it’s your responsibility to ensure your facility is running at peak performance. The power of reports can enhance your business and take it to the next level.
Your management summary is probably the most important report you have in your arsenal. It’s an overview of your entire operation, all bundled into a simple, one- or two-page document that can help you make informed decisions about your business.
For example, consider your gross revenue potential if every unit is rented at street value vs. actual. Knowing that percentage may change what you do with rental-rate increases and can help you create a plan to fill empty units. Even if you’re at 100 percent physical occupancy, you may not be at 100 percent economic occupancy.
The rent roll is the most basic, informative report you have. It contains a list of occupied units with tenant information including paid-through dates, balance owed (if any), unit price and what the tenant is paying. You should be able to clearly see the variance between what is being paid and the current street rate.
Use the rent roll during your morning walk-through each day to ensure the units showing as occupied in the software have a tenant lock. Any vacant units should have a company lock. You don’t want anything as simple as this to slip through the cracks, so double-check the report at least once per day.
Learning how to read an occupancy-statistics report is one of the best ways to improve your business. This report should give you an at-a-glance view of the number and percentage of occupied units as well as area rented, broken down by unit type for the entire site.
The most important figure that should stand out on this report is your economic occupancy, which is your actual occupancy vs. gross potential. If your economic occupancy is above 100 percent, you’re doing great but may still want to investigate where you can make improvements. If it’s between 90 percent and 100 percent, you need to take action now. Anything less than 90 percent is poor. In this case, hopefully, you’ve already started a plan to improve.
Do you offer tenant insurance? The insured-roll report is similar to the rent-roll report in that it provides a list of tenants who have insurance on their accounts. It displays coverage, premiums and the paid-through date for all tenants who are active policy-holders.
If you sell merchandise such as locks and boxes, keeping track of it can be time-consuming. Counting inventory, making sure it’s correct, and tracking what was used for display or anything that was damaged can be a pain. The merchandise-summary and merchandise-activity reports will give you better perspective and more control. What better way to track product than to have a report that tallies it for you?
Want to keep track of what your employees are up to and make sure they haven’t made unwarranted changes in the software, or are giving out discounts or freebies? Use your exceptions report, which outlines what changes were made, by whom and when.
Power and Responsibility
Reports can give you great insight into your business trends, but only if you take the time to examine and fully understand them. Kudos to you if you’re already doing what needs to be done, taking the deep dive and recognizing the value they hold. Understanding the reports in your self-storage management software gives you the power and responsibility to improve your business. Be your own superhero and take your operation to the next level!
Amird Caballero is an international sales executive for SiteLink, a provider of cloud-based and standalone management software for single- and multi-site self-storage operations. He’s a graduate of Florida International University and fluent in Spanish. For more information, visit www.sitelink.com.