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In Construction process, very much so newbie!

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  • In Construction process, very much so newbie!

    I guess my first question would be if I have lots of questions for different topics like Software, construction, etc should I post in the individual sections or all right here? I will start here and if I need to move my questions somewhere else please just let me know! I am SO glad to have found this forum. I am opening a storage facility that also will have flex spaces up front for rent. I am in Southeastern NC and have lots of competition in my city, in fact, that is my first question:

    1. As soon as we broke ground another storage facility broke ground RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from us. We are in an area that is still semi rural but will be the next area to develop in our city. Anyone else have this happen to them? What have you guys found to be the best way to be the choice facility over someone right across the street? I am sure price, security, cleanliness etc but really what drives the decision? Online presence IM sure is a factor as well?

    2. What management software are you guys using and loving? As much all in one as possible? Do I have to have a separate gate access software or is there one that does both site management and access? I definitely want the software to have web access so I can work from home when needed. What about bookkeeping and payroll? Are you all using something like QuickBooks?

    3. Please tell me what additional services, sales, businesses you are running from your facility? What is working and worth the time and effort and what is not? Examples I have heard are renting Uhauls, selling supplies (boxes, etc), shipping services, business services (faxing, printing), mobile storage like PODS. Since we have one going across the street we definitely will fill slower than expected so was trying to up revenue if possible.

    4. What colors are you using and would you choose those colors again?

    5. What are you main regrets? If you could do it all over what would you change... what would you keep the same?

    I guess that is enough hefty questions for now. THANK YOU to anyone who provides any insight on any of these! I appreciate your time.


  • #2
    Hi and Welcome to the Forum!

    I want you to know I have been in the business since 1996. I have seen a LOT of changes and speak from much experience. I have seven very successful facilities in Nashville, TN and we are building at this time, four more. We have had up to 12 at once. I am also the Sr. VP of Ops and an owner, working my way up from a resident manager to where I am now. I hope this advice is useful to you. It is not to offend, merely to share my experience.

    Number 1 - The biggest difference will be your STAFF. Whoever is answering your phone and working your front desk will be the deciding factor for almost 100% of your potential customers. Shop your competition and know what your facility offers that they do not.

    Number 2 - We use SiteLink along with SiteLink Merchant Services. VERY HAPPY. SL integrates with almost all vendors. We use PTI for Gates and it works with SL. Other vendors that tie in with the software are StorSmart Insurance, Our Web Service Provider (AutomatIT handles our website and Google Ad Words, etc. AutomatIT is a wonderful company) Late2Lien which handles our delinquencies and finally yes, we use QuickBooks which also integrates with SiteLink. All vendors I work with I HIGHLY Recommend.

    Number 3 - The BIGGEST Newbie mistake I see is new owners trying to up revenue by offering additional services like truck rentals. Don't do it. Use your time to market to the community, get involved with your Chamber of Commerce, support local things that are beloved by your community. Reach out to the apartments, police and fire departments etc. Storage is what makes you money. I truly believe in old fashioned marketing in the community. We DO sell boxes and locks, you definitely want to do that. Don't make the mistake of doing shipping services, truck rentals, business services etc. It is simply busy work that takes you away from your real money maker, storage.

    Number 4. We use black and red and white and no, we would not change that.

    Number 5. Biggest regret was truck rentals.

    I truly wish you only the Best of Luck! You are getting into an amazing industry.
    Stephanie Tharpe
    Senior VP of Operations
    A+ Storage of Tennessee, LLC
    Nashville, TN
    http://www.aplustorage.com
    615.288.2162

    TNSSA Board of Directors
    www.tnssa.net

    Comment


    • #3
      Welcome to the forum LBKropp1125.
      "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

      Comment


      • #4
        I couldn't agree more with MusicCity Gal, your STAFF is everything and will set your facility apart. Keeping your staff focused on renting units is key, all of the small ancillary revenue streams can quickly become a distraction. There is a reason many of the REITs simply stay away from the truck rental business! Find a few good operators to model your business after and don't let yourself try to reinvent the wheel, keep it simple!

        Comment


        • #5
          Welcome LB!

          I agree with MusicCity Gal abt the trucks etc. -also, isn't construction a matter of public record? See what the new guys are offering, and offer something different. Don't go crazy and add wine storage if you're in a farming community (unless you have farmers with vineyards or a brewery nearby) but if they don't offer a/c or heated units, make sure YOU do. Definitely hire good people-your first line of defense.

          Both of the facilities I've worked for have done blue as primary, last one had yellow as an accent and this one has red (red, white and blue-you can't go wrong) We had a facility in LA that was purple and yellow. DON'T DO THIS. It was fugly.

          Last facility didn't make the doorways wide enough for carts. Bad idea-you'll have tenants moving in a bottle-necking hallways b/c their stuff gets knocked off. Measure the carts you want and make sure the hallways will work and vice versa. Put bollards at bldg corners, don't cheap out on areas that will get bumped a lot by carts-put diamond plate or whatever works so your property looks nice as long as possible.

          Sitelink is awesome, but I'm biased.
          Why are I-phone chargers not called 'apple juice'???

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you all SO much for taking the time to respond :-) KrisinNC are you with Sitelink? Where in NC are you located?

            I believe the across the street competitor is offering standard climate and non-climate controlled units and parking.

            Has anyone seen or had a Gray and White color scheme? Opinions? White doors, gray walls.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by LBKropp1125 View Post
              Thank you all SO much for taking the time to respond :-) KrisinNC are you with Sitelink? Where in NC are you located?

              I believe the across the street competitor is offering standard climate and non-climate controlled units and parking.

              Has anyone seen or had a Gray and White color scheme? Opinions? White doors, gray walls.
              No, I manage a facility in Charlotte. I've been in storage for awhile but still learn something new every day.
              Why are I-phone chargers not called 'apple juice'???

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by LBKropp1125 View Post
                Thank you all SO much for taking the time to respond :-) KrisinNC are you with Sitelink? Where in NC are you located?

                I believe the across the street competitor is offering standard climate and non-climate controlled units and parking.

                Has anyone seen or had a Gray and White color scheme? Opinions? White doors, gray walls.
                I would not choose white.
                It will show every dirt, and scratch mark!
                Green and beige
                Blue and black
                Blue and grey
                Are some good color combos

                Make sure to have qualified and well trained staff!
                Retail items! Boxes and the like.

                Have you thought about a dress code??

                Khaki pants...provide work shirts, is a good option.

                Good luck and keep the questions coming.

                Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Lady, I HATE khaki pants LOL! We are not Jake from State Farm.
                  Stephanie Tharpe
                  Senior VP of Operations
                  A+ Storage of Tennessee, LLC
                  Nashville, TN
                  http://www.aplustorage.com
                  615.288.2162

                  TNSSA Board of Directors
                  www.tnssa.net

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    MCG, did you do the air quotes when you said "Jake from State Farm"? LOL! Funny damn commercial. I love his deadpan look when he tries to explain to his wife. "Well, he's a guy, so".
                    "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

                    Comment

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