So, you own one or more self storage properties. You constantly think (or worry) about revenue, expenses, unit occupancy, delinquencies, budgets, capital improvements…and the list goes on and on. Because you are on owner, you can’t really escape these things. However, you can make your life less stressful by having an on-site property manager at each of your stores. This person will be the main contact for every one of your customers and handle all the things you probably don’t have time to do (and don’t want to do).
Let’s go over the benefits of having an on-site property manager and explain why you need to have this role filled by someone other than yourself.
Rent Storage Units.
The main duty of an on-site property manager is to rent storage units! When someone calls in to the store or stops by in person, the property manager is there to close the sale. They will answer the questions the customer has (and some will have a lot) and help them decide on which type of storage they need as well as which size suits them best. They can even be trained on how to “up-sell” customers to a premium unit or one with more amenities than they thought they needed, such as temperature control or one with an alarm.
Secure Reservations and Give Property Tours.
When a customer is not sure if they want to rent a storage unit right away, your property manager will secure a reservation from them and schedule a time for them to visit and take a tour of the property. They will take them around the facility, show them the different storage types and sizes available and be sure they have all the information they need to make a decision. By taking this extra time with each customer and showing them they are important, your manager is more likely to get them from just thinking about storage to actually renting a unit, which is the ultimate goal.
While they are renting storage units, the property manager will also handle retail sales. They should be trained on how to sell a lock to every new tenant for starters. They can also showcase the items that will best help the customer with their move, such as boxes and furniture covers, and explain why yours are better than the ones you can buy at the home improvement store down the road. If you don’t have retail for sale at your store, you need to change that! A customer is more apt to make a purchase on the spot than to take more of their time and drive down to another store for the same item you have right there.
Provide Excellent Customer Service.
There may be times when customers are visiting their storage unit and questions arise that they want addressed on the spot. With an on-site property manager, your customers can get the answers quickly by simply walking into the rental office! They won’t have to worry about scheduling an appointment for a future time or calling back and leaving a message, which is a huge plus for your customers.
By having an on-site property manager, you will have someone available to answer the phone during regular business hours as well. Nothing is worse than calling a place over and over just to get a machine and have to leave a message. They are also there to take payments from existing customers, handle customer complaints (hopefully that is a rare occurrence) and send out company letters and notices to customers as needed.
Complete Daily Bank Deposits.
No more running to the bank for you! The property manager will handle the daily bank deposit so you don’t have to worry about it.
An on-site property manager is also there to keep your store looking the best it can. They should walk the property at least once per day and pick up trash and anything else that may have drifted in like branches, leaves and so on. They can pull weeds and water flowers during the warmer months to keep everything pleasing to the eye. Your manager should also sweep hallways and clean empty units to prepare for new tenants. If these items are kept up with, your property will look fantastic and be easier to maintain.
For the items they are not equipped to handle, such as dents in the building, broken fences, doors that won’t operate and more, they should be in charge of keeping a maintenance list up-to-date. That way you will know what needs fixed or addressed at all times to make sure the property is operating at peak efficiency.
If you have competitors near your store who operate by appointment only, you can lead the pack and have the advantage by offering an on-site property manager. Most customers will choose that added benefit because they know if they have any questions or issues at all, they can get a more immediate answer or solution if someone is in the office regularly.
These are just some of the benefits of having an on-site property manager at your stores. However, with just the ones we have reviewed, it should be clear to you now that it makes sense for you to “get out of the weeds” as they say. This will allow you the time to focus more on what your goals are, whether that is expanding your portfolio of properties or enjoying your retirement on the beaches of Florida. The last thing you should be worrying about is handling the day-to-day operations of your self storage properties.