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How to Cheat? and then prevent it?

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  • How to Cheat? and then prevent it?

    So I did some searches and couldn't come up with anything like this so I figured I would start it....

    When I started in Self Storage it was as a consultant tasked with figuring out what was going on by the absentee owners. I quickly found that the manager was cheating the system for his profit. I will point out that this was before using any kind of software to help monitor. His confusing monthly spreadsheet helped mask the theft.

    Here's how he did it:

    He would Rent units but not file the paperwork and pocket the payment. The EE would go through the whole move-in process but then take the contract home. If they paid in cash, it was easy, he would pocket it every month. If they paid via check or money order, he would use a contract with a different business name (property management company that he owned) and deposit those checks as well. This started to fall apart when I did an inventory of "Empty" units when I got here and discovered a bunch that had a customer lock and stuff in it. Magically contracts started appearing in the office a week or so after I started. We have since computerized the whole system (6Storage cloud software) and I inventory any "open" units biweekly. We also stopped taking cash and make copies of every check/money order that comes in.

    How have EE's cheated the system? How did you catch them? What processes did you put in place to ensure it didn't happen again?

  • #2
    I think it all starts with a company searching for the right person and when they feel they have 2-3 choices they do an in depth interview. So many ties I can bet most of us did not go thru that type of interview. On my first facility I did and it was in 2 stages. My rep had been established and the current job was no where near that. Next, do a background check and a credit check. Most times people that have a hard time managing their own money have a hard time at work as well and then figure out a way to "thieve" from "the man".

    I encourage the owner(s) to check and double check me as they wish. Just like when I interview a prospective tenant and see if they set off my spidey senses, as an owner I would want to have a free and open conversation with a manager and expect detailed and succinct answers to any questions or concerns. I am very self motivated and never need someone over my shoulder but some managers do.

    I also think some of this can be attributed to facility owners having the mindset that facility managers are a dime a dozen and "anyone can do this job" and therefore the pay is not where it should be. That is no excuse for thievery but I bet it contributes to the problem.

    That being said, have checks and balances in place and do them. Not helter skelter when you feel like doing them but on a schedule. My numbers and info are reviewed daily. The owners son does it and he is sharp. He may not visit me in the office very often but he is in and out of the facility on a regular basis. Actually the whole family is in and out of the facility.
    "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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    • #3
      First ever manager I worked for bragged about the old "doctor" who owned a facility he worked at that was all hand written paperwork for ledgers that he would constantly "cook the books" on and steal from. I would never suggest anyone run a facility without SOME form of software in place. Even with software if higher ups/owners are not doing their due diligence when they visit you can still have issues. I've ran across employees cheating timecards, renting units under the table to friends, deleting receipts after a customer leaves from a cash payment then crediting off the balance and pocketing the money, going into auction units to get things they wanted, cutting deals with past due customers to pay them certain amounts so they will waive off fee's... These are just a few of the things i've caught.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Orkocean View Post
        First ever manager I worked for bragged about the old "doctor" who owned a facility he worked at that was all hand written paperwork for ledgers that he would constantly "cook the books" on and steal from. I would never suggest anyone run a facility without SOME form of software in place. Even with software if higher ups/owners are not doing their due diligence when they visit you can still have issues. I've ran across employees cheating timecards, renting units under the table to friends, deleting receipts after a customer leaves from a cash payment then crediting off the balance and pocketing the money, going into auction units to get things they wanted, cutting deals with past due customers to pay them certain amounts so they will waive off fee's... These are just a few of the things i've caught.
        And every one of them were/are the lowly thief. Hate 'em. There are worse things a person can do but thievery is right up there. Think of the parents that brought them up or the people they hang with and know they are taught to do this. People wonder why I "grill" prospective tenants so much. This is why.
        "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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        • #5
          I feel as Self-Storage owners, employees, etc we work very hard to prevent theft at our facilities. For someone to blatantly lie, cheat and steal in such a way makes them worse than the drug users and "general" type thieves.
          AmyLou

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