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  • Greetings from CT

    Just wanted to introduce myself and thank you all for the info you have posted in the past in the forums. I’ve been lurking and learning, and appreciate how open you all are with helpful info. Anyway, I am in the process of purchasing a real small mom & pop shop. Currently the business consists of approx. 50 drive up/outside units as well as couple of other buildings currently being used for winter car storage. It is in a relatively rural location and is about 95% full. We are in the process of examining whether the car storage makes sense long term or if it would be more cost effective to either rent the whole space out to one entity or to make additional small units. We do have room outside to add more drive-up units which is most likely in the future, regardless of whether we keep the car business or do something else.

    I have met with the current owners who are on-site and do have records, although much of it is handwritten and in their heads. This is a second business for me and I will not be on-site. I want to make sure that we start off on the right foot but I am concerned that the monthly costs to automate anything is going to be more than it is worth because of our small number of units. My background is in real estate so I have experience with tenant/landlord issues, but I don’t have the bandwidth to be chasing 50 people each month for payment so I am hoping to get some sort of system in place.

    I plan on posting in the software forum specifically for software advice for such a small operation, but if anyone has any that they would like to share right here, that would be great.
    Also, if anyone had an introduction/transition letter that they might be willing to share, it would be greatly appreciated.

    I am very excited to get going on this new venture, and hopefully I will be able to help some of you with something in the future.
    Thanks!

  • #2
    Welcome. If you are that full I would consider adding additional units. We also had to spend more money to get things "right' at our first facility but it's worth it in the long run. In the letter all, you need to do is lay out who you guys are, how things are going to be. I made it clear from day 1 that there was a new sheriff in town.

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    • #3
      Welcome to the forum....CT here as well.....What part of CT are you in. I agree with Bubba in regards to the introduction letter, I would also attach your rental lease, along with a brief outline of your late fee schedule, move out notice etc. Also include autopay authorization forms as any one of the tenants on autopay must sign a new authorization form with you.

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      • #4
        Welcome to you from my mom and pop here in Southeast MO.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the greetings and advice.

          Bubba, we are definitely planning on adding some units. Once we get the basic day to day up and running I think we will get a better handle on what we want to do with respect to expansion.

          GMStacie we are in Northeast CT. We are pretty much starting from scratch as far as any auto-pay options are concerned. Everything right now is done by check. I am currently researching the most cost effective software and payment options. We are a bit limited because of the small size, but we will figure it out!

          Steve, thanks for the welcome.

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          • #6
            Hi and welcome from Texas! Glad to have you here!

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            • #7
              Hi there Blue Sunshine and welcome to the forums.

              One good thing about modern management software is that most providers do offer tiered pricing or at least a type of "small operator" pricing. I can say from our experience at least that we have some operators that have facilities as small as 20 units that are using our software.

              Automation in itself is such a broad term that I would laser-focus on exactly what you want to automate (i.e. notices, payments, rentals) along with the most that you can reasonably spend on software and try out a demo of each provider that meets that criteria.

              Hope that helps and good luck!
              Kevin Kerr
              Storage Commander Cloud Software
              k[email protected]
              Toll Free: 877.672.6257
              Direct: 951.867.4732

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              • #8
                Thanks Kevin - appreciate the advice. I will take a few systems for a test drive to be sure.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BlueSunshine View Post
                  Thanks for the greetings and advice.

                  Bubba, we are definitely planning on adding some units. Once we get the basic day to day up and running I think we will get a better handle on what we want to do with respect to expansion.

                  GMStacie we are in Northeast CT. We are pretty much starting from scratch as far as any auto-pay options are concerned. Everything right now is done by check. I am currently researching the most cost effective software and payment options. We are a bit limited because of the small size, but we will figure it out!

                  Steve, thanks for the welcome.
                  We're neighbors....that's awesome, only a few us here are from CT.....I'm in Bristol CT, if you any questions, I will gladly help if I can. We use Sitelink (some consider it a little costly). I haven't tried a lot of the software available. I've been using sitelink for about 6 yrs +, before that we used webselfstorage (I believe no longer available) and even though I've been doing storage for over 16 yrs, the 1st 10 yrs, we did not use software, we did not even have the internet, lol ....everything was done manually.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by GM - StacieJ. - BSS View Post

                    We're neighbors....that's awesome, only a few us here are from CT.....I'm in Bristol CT, if you any questions, I will gladly help if I can. We use Sitelink (some consider it a little costly). I haven't tried a lot of the software available. I've been using sitelink for about 6 yrs +, before that we used webselfstorage (I believe no longer available) and even though I've been doing storage for over 16 yrs, the 1st 10 yrs, we did not use software, we did not even have the internet, lol ....everything was done manually.
                    Thanks Stacie, I appreciate the info and the offer. I'm sure I will take you up on it at some point.

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                    • #11
                      I think Sitelink is a great software for EVERTHING/ except I wish they would add a simple report that I could pull for pending rate increases..... I liked the WinSen Sentinel as well. but haven't used it except for gates in awhile, we have Sentinel Gates and Sitelink for everything else. Not sure for a small property though, But I can do everything remotely if need be with Sitelink.....

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SBAZ View Post
                        I think Sitelink is a great software for EVERTHING/ except I wish they would add a simple report that I could pull for pending rate increases..... I liked the WinSen Sentinel as well. but haven't used it except for gates in awhile, we have Sentinel Gates and Sitelink for everything else. Not sure for a small property though, But I can do everything remotely if need be with Sitelink.....
                        Thanks for your feedback, and congrats on the new project's ground breaking. I can't imagine managing a project that large (at least right now!). Good luck with it.

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