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Long time, no see

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  • Long time, no see

    Amy Campbell made me promise at last month's ISS Expo in Las Vegas to return to the forum. It's been more than a month but I finalloy have a little time.

    Speaking at the convention was fun. Getting attendees energized at 8:00 a.m. wasn't easy. I hope they learned something. A few came up afterward and i could see they really wanted to be better managers and owners.

    With that, it's hard to believe that it will be six months as of tomorrow that I stopped working in self-stroage. I was stunned at the time, but I have done a lot of interesting jobs since in several parts of the country and now doing work in two former careers of mine, media and bowling, at the USBC's Women's Championship tournament. I have helped manage a couple of conventions in Las Vegas. All have been nice assignments and could do it year after year.

    After a few months away from the business, I ask myself if I would ever return to the field. I don't know. Right now, probably not. And the reason is owners and executives are ridiculously cheap in an industry that has enjoyed tremendous growth for years. They are making very good profits but think they're the reason for their success instead of the front liners.

    I mean, how do they justify paying a manager $9 an hour? That's not a manager, that's peon pay.

    Some fo these uppity types think they're going to be homeless and bankrupt paying a manager a decent wage. What's a decent wage today for a manager? Let's start at $30,000 and go from there. Anything less is chump change to them.

    Normally I don't sound off on owner business decisions because I'm a libertarian. it's their playtoy. But they want you to be loyals, honest, and the next Madame Curie at the same time for $20,000 a year. Too many owners act like this is 1917, not 2017,.

    And these are the same owners who tell managers they can't freelance rates to customers to close a deal or even clsoe a deal for a higher rate! That's right - I know owners who tello managers that they can't make more money than the unit's default rate. And these hyprocrites complain they're not making enough money when they make decisions like this?

    Too often, owners and district managers just get in the way of more success and profit.

    Will I come back to work in self storage? Maybe. But I know that I can outsell most on my worst day than they can on their best day. My stats proved it at a facility four miles from Ferguston, Missouri riots. Yep, a 25% gains over 3 years wasn't done in Beverly Hills. I won an industry video contest. I was invited to speak on how to grow sales and revenue. I've proven my value. If an owner is serious about change, he or she can get ahold of me. If you're an owner bent on the status quo, hire a non-degreed milleanial.

    Amy filled me in on old forum friends and where they are these days. I promise to come back online more and reconnect.


    It's been so long, I see my signature still ID's me as a self storage manager. Gotta change that!
    Scott Simon
    St. Louis area resident storage manager

  • #2
    Hey Scott
    Nice to "see" you on the forums again!!!
    Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.


    • #3
      Hi Scott! Sounds like you're having fun being out of the biz. As for cheap, you've hit the nail on the head. It's why I left my last place.
      I was born to be wild, but only until about 9:00 pm.


      • #4
        Originally posted by KrisinNC View Post
        Hi Scott! Sounds like you're having fun being out of the biz. As for cheap, you've hit the nail on the head. It's why I left my last place.
        Amy filled me in on where you are these days. Sorry we didn't connect in Vegas this year.
        Scott Simon
        St. Louis area resident storage manager


        • #5
          "It's been so long, I see my signature still ID's me as a self storage manager. Gotta change that!"

          That's why when I saw you respond in another thread I was thinking you are back at it at a different facility. Sounds like you are busy busy busy. That is way better than the opposite. The owner's wanting to get by on the cheap? Yep, gotta agree. When I came to this facility and we were negotiating salary, I reminded them that they came after me. I didn't search them out. Too many owners think "anyone" can do this job. Wrongo bucko! You expressed what so many of us feel, in very great terms. Quality costs. Good luck and again, keep in touch.
          "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"


          • #6
            Haha welcome back Scott!!
            Kevin Kerr
            Self Storage Software by Storage Commander
            Direct - 951.867.4732


            • #7
              Welcome back!


              • #8
                Glad to see you popped back in. I'm so sorry I wasn't able to attend your seminar due to other commitments. Like you, I'm not working a facility at this time, I retired back in July. Instead I'm doing some consulting work and indulging in some long neglected hobbies. Thankfully I have the luxury of doing so thanks to my husband and late parents. I would consider working a site again as I miss the interaction with the great customers and the challenges. I'm grateful for the acquaintances I made during my last tenure as now I have the time, so I can go out for lunch or coffee with some of my former customers.

                Also like you I've learned a lot and what my value is, I wouldn't work for wages I could make elsewhere easier by simply asking "Would you like fries with that?" and go home at the end of a shift.

                We plan to move out of this area in the next couple of years so I've looked at up and coming projects to see what may interest me down the road. It never ceases to amaze me how little value people put on the management of their investment. I ask owners/investors I've interacted with what the most important piece of their project is. I'm sure you can guess what their answers are not.

                Have fun Scott, enjoy life and pop back in from time to time.
                Gina 6k
                VM: Four-Oh-Eight- Seven-Eight-Oh-Eight-Oh-Seven-Nine

                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.


                • #9
                  "We plan to move out of this area in the next couple of years so I've looked at up and coming projects to see what may interest me down the road. It never ceases to amaze me how little value people put on the management of their investment. I ask owners/investors I've interacted with what the most important piece of their project is. I'm sure you can guess what their answers are not."

                  So true Gina, so true.
                  "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"


                  • #10
                    I feel like it really depends on the owner. I for one manage a property with a terrific owner. He is very supportive and I feel he really takes in to account what I think. Communication is super important in this industry and if you are not being paid what you feel you are worth the most important thing is for you to make that clear. I am well taken care of and feel lucky to be in the position I am. With that being said I always make it a point to do my best. I go out of my way more often than not and push that extra mile to make as many things work as smoothly as possible. I am still learning, as I hope to always be.


                    • #11
                      They say that hindsight is 20/20. This post should be a wake-up call for aspiring owners.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Stevedore View Post
                        They say that hindsight is 20/20. This post should be a wake-up call for aspiring owners.
                        It should. Saw an ad for a facility wanting a manager, $9 an hour to start.

                        The snowflakes are protesting to get $15 an hour at fast food. They may end up getting it, or close to it. Many major cities have raised their minimum wagge requirement well above the national and their state minium, and what these citiies are requiriring match what a SELF STORAGE MANAGER is paid.

                        Hey self storage owners - you're off the hook for benefits. The Affordable Health Care Act took care of that. Many of you didn't cdreate a 401(k) for your staff. So quit being penny-pinching chieapos and pay a staff member with the title MANAGER like one instead of an indentured servant.
                        Scott Simon
                        St. Louis area resident storage manager


                        • #13
                          Yea, and most of the time what they get for $9 an hour is what they paid for. Someone that will not put the best foot forward for the facility, will not care about appearances, will not care about doing all legal paperwork correctly, will likely start scheming asap about how to hide money from the owner, will have their friends in the facility for no rent or very little rent, will not take locks off of paid late units or even put them on to begin with, will have constant excuses for opening late and closing early, will not try to sell the facilities best attributes, will not care if a unit is unrentable.....etc. You get the picture.
                          "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"


                          • #14
                            Simon it was great to see you in Vegas!

                            On the other hand, this is the topic I have been preaching for the last 5 years. I have seen way better wages being paid but there are still some that just don't get it.

                            And from what I am understanding now, the industry is really trending to Third Party Management Companies. So to those of you who may be interested, check out working for one of them possibly.

                            As for me, I have a waiting list of potential managers. I have worked hard to have a stellar reputation and no one on my staff makes less than $40K, most actually make $50K, PLUS they have health insurance, HSA Accounts, Paid Holidays (yes we actually close), a 4 1/2 Day Work Week, overtime pay, and two weeks paid vacation per year.

                            And what happens with that kind of pay? We have grown and grown and grown. Most of my managers have been with me over 5 years. Our sites are performing at record level highs. Delinquency rates are at 0.30% across the board. There are no discounts. Retail sales average between $600 - over $1K. Insurance sales are through the roof (one of my locations brings in almost $7000 a month just in insurance).

                            It is simply a win win. We do no truck rentals, have no call centers and encourage our Managers to become involved in their communities. We pay for them to attend Chamber Events and sponsor and attend any local event they want.

                            I am extremely proud of their performance and will continue to always be their cheerleader. We have fun. In fact, next month we are taking our entire staff out on a Dinner Cruise on The General Jackson for dinner and a show and the beautiful lights of Downtown Nashville.

                            Owners should listen and invest in their most valuable asset of all, the Managers who run their locations.

                            Off my soap box now......
                            Stephanie Tharpe
                            Senior VP of Operations
                            A+ Storage of Tennessee, LLC
                            Nashville, TN

                            TNSSA Board of Directors


                            • #15
                              I cannot sing "Hallelujah" or say "AMEN" better than what Stephanie just did. If I could, you could call me Leonard Cohen (RIP). I hope I am not as much an over-recorded cliche.

                              We are more a fledgling enterprise (I work as a manager at one of our facilities, while being a DO of four other facilities) compared to what Stephanie does. But we have similar numbers, except we do truck rentals (RELUCTANTLY -- and this will cease when our NOI hits a set planned number, and we hit a fifth location) and we tolerate a much higher rate of delinquency as a minor income stream and talking point (family owned kindness/work with you) -- it works for us. It works REALLY well. We have a retail presence at prices that undercut our local exurban Walmart. We sell insurance.

                              Correct me if I am wrong, Stephanie, but I think we also agree on providing excellent live on-site facilities for managers, which is somewhat in contrast to prevailing canned talk at most conventions, and against the second/third gen sensibility of self-storage. I joke (sometimes it falls flat) with our owner that we are fourth gen, without the legs (yet) to strut. All of us are members of our respective chambers. I have two young ones who got married last month. Point being: in an exurban community with four golf courses, that live-on-site thing works well with women, who are (by marcomm survey are 70% of our inquiry folk) the deciders on the storage decision.

                              And yes: No discounts (save for vets and 1st responders). Ever. Price is price. If a seal the deal needs a lagniappe, then we waive fees. WE GET STREET, and that is the goal.

                              What can happen with a visionary owner (his family trust, and he is a CEO of a local construction company) with a visionary manager completely outperforms the surrounding chains and the rural area (my west 1/3/5) that is 1/3 of my price. Those kiosked and phone center facilities to my west will get the distaff side of the business (evictions/price over amenities/blah) and we send that to the west once folk squeak at price or that we have a seven page contract, and that we screen tenants (in person, and court search).

                              I won't tell you wrong: he and I butt heads and there are days I eat stress for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But his year-to-year NOI increase is hitting close to 20% as I manage his real estate for the past five years. Before me, it was 5.5% in the ten years before me.


                              Somewhere in flyover country

                              I happen to feel that the degree of a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting attitudes she can bring to bear on the same topic.


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