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  1. #1
    Tom W is offline Junior Member
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    Default I just got a job as a manager. Need some helpful advice.

    Hello

    So I just landed a job as a manager after a few months of being unemployed. I have 4 years in the storage business working as an assistant. I kind of have my hands full with this new place I'm at. The previous manager only trained me for about 3 days so now Im all on my own. Here are some of the issues.

    -They are using quick books (which I know very little of) and an excel spreadsheet to keep track of tenants and payments. The owner would like me to get a storage software going sometime soon and I was wondering if any of you could point me in the right direction. Which is the best to use and how to get going setting it up. Cost is an issue right now with the owner.

    -The facility is an old 8 story building and all the units are inside. We do have a 10X20 freight elevator but we are still having a hard time getting people in to rent. So any marketing ideas would be a big help.

    That is about it for now. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you all in advance.

    -Tom

  2. #2
    astro is online now Moderator
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    Feb 2008
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    Cashiers, NC
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    Default Re: I just got a job as a manager. Need some helpful advice.

    Tom, welcome to SST, and, also, to storage management as a manager.

    Tenants have a hesitancy to rent on upper floors of a building, felling it is more convenient on the first floor. You might and the desirablility of the upper floors by stepping the price per floor down from the first floor price. Tenants like cheaper prices. You might take a step back and look at the facility and see what it is that a new tenant sees when they come into your office and building. Do you like what you see? If you don't they won't either. Can you spiff up the freight lift? Are th hallways bright and clean? Maybe some paint will change the appearance enough to help. What about signage? Is in easy to see and read? Does it tell the prospective customer what it is that you do? Do you sell boxes and packing supplies? do you tell your customers, and phone callers that you do? Do you rent trucks? Do you advertise. Are you a member of your Chamber of Commerce. Are there any business associations that might benefir you? How about your local Real Estate board? Can you make a presentation to them about your business?

    There is a lot to what you have taken on, but the challenge and fun of it make it all worth while.

    Software? There is a real can of worms. I use SiteLink, and it does fine. I have used Centershift, and it did fine. In my opinion, all of the software out there does an adequate job. Check out the trade magazines and ISS web sites for more specific information on software, etc. They will refer you to much information. Click on the advertisers here on SST. We have head a threador threads on this very subject, with many opinion given for all of the software available.

    Good luck, and keep in touch with the forum with updates on how you are doing, and jump in anytime, the waters fine.
    Bob Taylor (Astro)
    Blue Ridge Self Storage
    Cashiers, NC

    Disclaimer: What Gina said....'cause the the cheese fell of my cracker.

  3. #3
    Autodoc's Avatar
    Autodoc is offline Mod eMeritus
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    Default Re: I just got a job as a manager. Need some helpful advice.

    the first step is to read everything on this forum - there is so much valuable information a lot of your general questions will be answered.

    If you have specific questions ask and we will try to answer them.

    As for software --- like Astro said -- everyone has an opinion on that one. We use Storage Commander and love it and the tech support.
    I would contact several of the vendors -- most will give you a free fully functional sample to test.

    Good luck and welcome and to the business!
    Wayne
    Jamestown, ND


    All arguments can be resolved ... with high explosives and Humor!!!

  4. #4
    Gina6k's Avatar
    Gina6k is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: I just got a job as a manager. Need some helpful advice.

    Michael Bishop is doing a s/w webinar on Wednesday morning. Try searching for it, & I'll try to find and post a link later.

    Here is the webinar information. I've used several programs and I'm signed up. I think it may be an interesting program.
    Last edited by Gina6k; 19th July 2010 at 01:06 PM.
    Gina 6k
    CochraneStorage dot com
    Morgan Hill, California
    twitter.com/CochraneStorage

    You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!
    I am not an attorney, just an experienced manager who is willing to share what I have learned. Your thoughts, practices or opinions may vary and neither of us may be right.

  5. #5
    Sondone is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: I just got a job as a manager. Need some helpful advice.

    my boss used rent plus and said it was pretty good. I've used Sitelink and Winsen (i think...it was years ago). Winsen is pretty basic if I remember...have some buttons you click to move in, take payments, etc. Sitelink has a vast amount of reports, graphs, and automated functions that can really help if they are all utilized, but it has a monthly fee, not sure about a start up fee. Good luck with getting customers, astro pretty much nailed the key things: keep a clean facility, be SUPER nice to everyone as much as possible (if it doesnt help immediately it will down the road for sure), and tier pricing upstairs definitely helps rent upper floors. If you have move in specials like 1st month for $1 or whatever, try only offering it upstairs. Maintaining the property is probably the best way to go for new customers...and keeping current ones. Take care
    Jordan
    Climatized Self Storage - Middleburg, FL
    Look at our newest Atlanta storage facility!

  6. #6
    geraldine1051 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: I just got a job as a manager. Need some helpful advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom W View Post
    ... -They are using quick books (which I know very little of) and an excel spreadsheet to keep track of tenants and payments. The owner would like me to get a storage software going sometime soon and I was wondering if any of you could point me in the right direction. Which is the best to use and how to get going setting it up. Cost is an issue right now with the owner.
    Hi Tom, I use QuickBooks and love it. I found it easy to learn and very forgiving of mistakes. In addition, QuickBooks allows creation of a large variety of reports, financial and otherwise. I also use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of tenants and payments. This system works very well for me, but then I only have about 300 tenants.

  7. #7
    Tom W is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: I just got a job as a manager. Need some helpful advice.

    Thanks for the reply's everyone. It was kind of a tough day and Im not sure if its going to work out. The previous manager only trained me for a few days and didn't leave me much to work with. Everything is unorganized (Move out files from 2004 mixed in with ones from 08,09) The owner got served with papers today. Apparently he cut the lock of one of our delinquents and threw away some of his things without taking the right steps to do so. There is only one part time guy and he doesn't even know how to process payments. I just dont know what I got myself into.

  8. #8
    Lisa T's Avatar
    Lisa T is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: I just got a job as a manager. Need some helpful advice.

    Tom, Welcome to the first month of any new job in storage! I have yet to start a new storage job without walking into one $(#(!)_@ MESS!

    Here's the acid test...you've already survived Day 2 (which I call the critical day), so if you can make it through the first month, I can guarantee you will start seeing some daylight at the end of the tunnel....start making a list of what needs to be done to get things in order, and then start working on your list. You will get that "oh so satisfying feeling" as you cross each item off your list.

    But most of all, don't give up too soon. On our last job, my husband and I had a 3-hour discussion over dinner of our 2nd day (critical day), about whether we were going back for day 3 or not....and as it turned out, we ended up working there for 3 years...so don't give up...you have all of us to lean on in these trying early days on the new job!

 

 
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