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  • Suggestions appreciated

    Good Afternoon all. I love this forum and get so many good suggestions from you all. I am a Manager of a storage facility and the Owner is going to open up 3 more. They will be move in on-line only facilities and I will be running all of them from one office. Right now I ask Tenants to give me a 10 day notice if they plan on moving out so I will be abreast of which units will be opening up. Most of the time they do tell me but there is always those that don't. When I get here in the morning I do a drive around so I can keep on top of move outs and so forth. So I have a couple of things I would like your opinion on. The new facilities will be gated and have security camera's but I will not be able to drive around them everyday. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep track of who moves out at one of these, without driving to them everyday? Also at the facility that I run now I have disk locks that I require everyone to use and not padlocks, but I think at the new facilities I am going to let people use their own locks. I don't want to do that but I cannot require them to come to my home office to pick up a lock, that would not be fair. If there are any of you that run more than one, is there anything you can share with me that I may be on the lookout for? Also I was wondering if your website can have a place where they can email you questions or concerns? I have a facebook page but I would like them to be able to call me or email me with any concerns. One of these places will be mostly outside storage for campers and boats with a few units but the other two will be all units. I have been thinking about posting this for a week or so and know that I had more questions but cannot remember them at this time. Thanks for any feedback you can give! Have a great day!
    "A Dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself".

  • #2

    Hi Jewelgreg,

    Sounds like an exciting time over there with the expansion!

    Your management software is going to really make a difference when you're looking at what you can do on a broader scale now.

    I would suggest taking advantage of online management resources (rentals, payments, reservations) from your website in order to keep a manageable flow of service. You can easily place forms or messaging services on your website for communication as well.

    As to your locks, I've seen a lot of managers leaving locks in units and zip-tie them closed closed as an alternative and then you can charge for locks upon move in as a default if installing something like Bluetooth-enabled locks isn't really a possibility.

    Depending on which management software you are using, it will affect how much information you can gather for the new RV and vehicle storage too. Ideally, you'll want to track VIN #'s, current registration, current insurance and have pictures. I think it's important to be able to switch between locations easily as well since you're scaling up.

    Either way, it sounds like things will be interesting moving forward so good luck!
    Kevin Kerr
    Storage Commander Cloud Software
    k[email protected]
    Toll Free: 877.672.6257
    Direct: 951.867.4732

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    • #3
      I would tell them they can supply the lock but it must be a disc lock design and not the "easy to cut padlock. The disc lock can be key or combination. Your facilities should have a website and not do everything off of Facebook.

      To address the move out without the notice, that is easy, before move in they pay a refundable deposit that is refunded when they give the correct notice and create no problems during the move out like leaving items behind or damaging the unit. They have to contact you via phone or email or text for the notice and you make note of all that on their account and also contact the same way when out of unit so you know when to go look and then start the refund process.

      I would never have a facility that is unmanned but if I did, it would have a deposit attached to it, absolutely for sure. Not some cheap $20 deposit that they will not care about getting back but at least $50 or more.
      "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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      • #4
        Very easy.

        I go up to my facility every two weeks. I go up on the 7th to collect the few checks that are there and do whatever else that needs to be done. We use Davinci locks to overlock any tenants who don't have a payment in by the 7th. As they pay us we issue the combo code and instruct them to return those locks to dropbox. As far as people moving out goes everyone has been great about telling us. We usually have one that doesn't tell us they're moving out, no biggie. We sweep the unit out, toss a free padlock on the floor for them to use, and slap a DaVinci lock on the unit. Good to go.

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        • #5
          Since you will be moving from a Manager position to a General Manager position, you may wish to hammer out all those decisions with the owner; pay, bonus, vacation days, etc. It may be wise to look at the level of work that is required for the one facility and think about running 4 total. You may need a staff of one or two part-time?, hourly employees, again another discussion with the owner. From experience, I went from running 1 to running 5 and the time required to pay weekly bills, submit payroll, answer emails, order supplies and parts and so forth went up considerably.

          Some items can be covered by creating a list of various tradesmen/women that can handle issues around the facility and have a primary and 2 to 3 backups. You may want to find out if they are on-call after hours or for emergencies.

          You will want to make sure the current facility gets an upgraded computer and software, if that will be the primary office. You do not want to be bogged down by a slow computer.

          For lock-cuts, the tradesperson list should be helpful or you may wish to give out combination locks. In 7 years, I have never had to cut a combo lock, somebody always knew the combination or where to find it.

          If you hire some part-time help, they may be able to clean units and do the drive-by's that are needed. If you have tenants that leave hallway doors open or the unit door when they vacate, you may have an issue with the weather. I always check the weather forecast and do rounds before any storms or rain, an open unit door can allow rain or water into neighboring units.

          For part-time help, you may only want to pay them the time for any work done at the location and not pay them for the time it took to drive to the facility. There may be advantages to having them off the clock during the drive, in case they get into an accident.

          Since many things may be remote, you want everything to function if the power goes out. You may want to check with the owner and make sure battery back-ups and UPS systems are included with the new facilities.

          If any of the new facilities have audible alarms, would you be able to silence remotely?

          The best of luck on this new and exciting adventure!! T

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          • #6
            Thank you all, great suggestions!
            "A Dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself".

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            • #7
              I run our facility from California and it is located in Reno; I do have part time help though. We use combination locks and require that the tenant buy the lock and then it is theirs to keep, this way I do not have to be present and the whole process can be done online and I don't have to worry about them returning the lock to me (I tried that and had a few not being returned so I changed that policy). Then as people move-out my part time helper puts new locks on the empty units once they are ready to be rented again. It has been working well for us since Covid-19 hit and more and more people want to do the move-in process online or contactless.

              As far as move-outs, I have our part time help check that for me so I have not thought about how I would keep track of that without being there, or having someone there. Sounds like there are some great ideas above for that. I like the idea of a deposit for so many reasons so I will second that. We have been much better off since we began charging a $50 deposit with 10 days notice required prior to move-out.

              Good luck and congratulations!
              Linden Mini Storage, Reno, Nevada
              www.MiniStorageReno.com

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