Facility Management: The Role of Today’s Self-Storage Manager
by boxwell/June 16, 2022
Your self-storage facility’s manager is the first impression of your business. This is the person who runs the day-to-day physical operation. Often, this is also the person who maintains the online presence of your facility. Facility management is a big job with many hats. Therefore, be sure you hire someone who is versatile in skillset and experience.
As facility owner, you decide how to run things. Self-storage facilities have options when it comes to facility management. For example, one option is to manage the facility yourself. Alternatively, you can hire a resident manager who lives on the property. Or you can hire an on-site manager who comes and goes to supervise the facility. There is also an option to bring in someone from a third-party management company. Whatever you decide, it’s important to be clear on what this role entails.
Let’s think about technology. Your facility manager should be proficient with computers and smart devices. There is a lot of storage software out there. For instance, there is software for marketing and communication. In addition, you’ll find billing software. Plus, there are new digital entry and locking systems. So, training is key. Depending upon the size of your facility, you may have more than one manager. It’s ideal to have someone taking care of things 24/7. But surveillance cameras can be a big help. Especially if you do not have a resident manager living on site.
What are the many hats of today’s self-storage manager? First, facility management involves customer service. This role is the face of your business and point of contact for customers. In addition, your manager will answer your facility’s phone calls and emails. They will give tours and explain pricing and options. Next, there are the business items. Your facility manager will be responsible with handling the facility’s money matters. Your manager will also be the one to write leases and take payments. Also, they will pay taxes, utilities, overhead costs, and the salary of the other employees. Then, you’ll need to consider the maintenance. Facility management includes cleaning units and maintaining the grounds. And finally, marketing. Facility management includes marketing your self-storage facility. Be sure your manager is savvy with social media and knows your marketing plan.
Here are the top 4 responsibilities for today’s self-storage manager:
1. Customer Service
Self-storage managers are the go-to person for tenants renting units. They are the first person a new customers might contact through email or phone call. This first point of contact with your facility is important. Is your manager a people-person? Hope so. They’ll be the ones giving tours once the phone call/email turns into a site visit. It’s important that they listen to customers and ask questions. For example, “Is this working for you?” Also, “What else can we be doing?” and “What can we do better?” Here is a recent post we wrote on customer service and customer retention: “What is Your Company’s Strongest Asset? Customer Retention.”
2. Business Transactions
One of the most basic responsibilities for your manager is collecting the rent from tenants. They can collect rent online, through the mail, or in person. Luckily, customers are more and more comfortable with online transactions. So be sure your manager can arrange for that convenient method. It’s easy to streamline how you keep track of customer leases through management software. You can also organize contracts, reminders, late fees, and rate adjustments online. Your manager needs to be ready for questions about the facility, hours of operation, unit sizes, pricing, leasing terms, locking and entry systems, etc.
3. Facility Maintenance
Your manager will check and maintain all facets of your facility. Is the security system working? How is the keyless entry system? Are all the lights operating? They will also oversee keeping the facility clean. They can either do this themselves or hire a cleaning crew. Be sure your facility manager has a game plan to care for your investment. And check out our post, “Beyond Cleaning: A Maintenance Schedule for Movable Storage” for some ideas for facility management and maintenance.
Like most other industries, self-storage relies upon websites and online communications. Each facility should have its own website. This is where customers will find contact information, hours of operation, location, photos, rates, etc. Your website is often a first impression to potential customers, so it’s critical that you make it attractive and easy to navigate. Just as you look after the curb appeal of your facility, you should make sure you have “online appeal.” Managers will market the facility online through the website and social media. Texting is also an efficient way to send rent reminders and promotions. See our recent post, “Marketing Strategies to Boost Your Self-Storage Facility” for some ideas.
Regardless of how you choose to run your facility, the self-storage manager’s role is key to the success of your business. Having first-hand experience is always a good idea. Often, owners and operators will take on the task themselves and find out that it’s a very demanding position. If your manager is keen on technology, super friendly, organized, and energetic (i.e.someone who has it all!), you’re good to go!
At the core, Boxwell uses a hands-on approach to business that is carried throughout everything we do. When we need to talk, we pick up the phone. If there are questions, we demo our product. When intrigued with something new, we give it a try. If a team member needs help, we offer it.When our community needs support, we lend our resources. With compassion and innovative ways of “thinking outside of the box,” anything is possible. That’s our culture.
At Boxwell, we pride ourselves on providing customers with the highest-quality storage containers on the market. We set out to reinvent storage and prove that a great product can be created through innovation and perseverance. As a team, we strive to evolve with our ever-growing industry. Work with a Boxwell representative to decide on an ideal, moveable storage unit mix, custom colors, door configurations and more. Once you place an order, we deliver and install your Boxwell relocatable self-storage units. You’ll be ready to rent them in no time.