Monday, March 31, 2014

8 tips for dealing with a crisis at your facility

Mike McCown never gave a thought to developing a crisis communications plan or defending his storage facility against bad publicity until terrible news arrived on his doorstep.

McCown, who manufactures hydraulic torque wrenches for a living, built the 130-unit My Space Mini Storage facility across the creek from his home in Charleston, WV, in 2006 as retirement income. He had no idea he’d unwittingly rented to the tenant from hell until his daughter rushed in one warm evening last June with news that gunshots were ringing out at his facility.

‘There Was Blood Everywhere’
Outside Unit 127, “there was blood everywhere,” McCown recalled. The cops came at his request; the TV news crews followed. The tenant, whom McCown had never met, turned out to be a convicted felon. The weapon? A stolen AR-15 assault rifle.

Inside the unit, police found a makeshift meth lab, despite the intentional absence of water or electrical outlets throughout McCown’s facility. “There’s apparently something called ‘shake and bake’ now,” said McGown, referring to a meth-making technique that requires neither.

“Long story short, the local authorities required me to test all 54 units in this set of buildings at $75 apiece, and they found that 14 of them were ‘hot,’” McCown said. “That meant that most of those people’s stuff had to be thrown away.”

Mike McCown

Mike McCown spent almost $40,000 on cleanup after a meth lab was discovered at his facility.

Facility for Sale
Six months and $39,000 in haz-mat cleanup costs later, McCown’s occupancy is off 20 percent—a minor miracle that he attributes to having called the police immediately.

“They didn’t put up the big plywood ‘You’re a bad person’ condemned signs on my building, just stickers on those units,” he said. “They knew I wasn’t a fly-by-night operator.”

This spring, he plans to erect a sign of his own. It will say “For Sale.”

“This was enough,” McCown acknowledged. “The stress from having to tell people their stuff was bad just about killed me. What could I have done differently?”

Be Prepared
Jonathan Bernstein makes his living answering that very question. As president of Bernstein Crisis Management and author of “Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management” and “Keeping the Wolves at Bay,” Bernstein said preparation is the key to damage control.

“Unfortunately, most businesses are unprepared, even the big ones,” he said. “It’s a question of coming across as compassionate, confident and competent.”

To do that requires a crisis plan. Here are eight steps to get any owner or operator started,

walking a tightrope

You could be walking a tightrope if you fail to assess the risks at your facility.

1. Assess Your Risks.
What could possibly draw the authorities and the media to your facility? Fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and illegal activities may top the list, depending on your location. You can do a risk assessment “with friendly competitors in our area because your situations are so similar,” Bernstein suggested.

2. Band Together.
Competitors do this in the hotel and restaurant industries all the time, especially along the hurricane-prone Gulf Coast. “They use each other’s facilities as backup if their facilities go down for a gas leak, fire or other crisis,” Bernstein explained. “Storage facilities can do the same thing, say to make space available in an emergency.”

3. Learn the Basics.
Crisis communication shouldn’t be any more complicated than your closing-up-for-the-night routine. Bernstein’s books and others provide simple roadmaps any business can use to identify its spokesmen, define its message, notify its customers and keep its stakeholders in the loop.

4. Choose and Train Your Team.
Is an employee or family member a caring listener? Bernstein said you should slot that person for post-crisis phone duty “because they’re going to be dealing with a lot of anger, fear and anxiety.” Everyone else needs to understand that a crisis automatically enlists him or her as a potential spokesman. The mission? “Compassion, honesty and humility,” he said.

facebook and twitter

If a crisis hits your facility, be sure to monitor the chatter on Facebook and Twitter.

5. Monitor the Buzz.
Word travels fast on social media, “but don’t start getting involved there during a crisis. If you do, you’re at a real disadvantage,” Bernstein warned. “Every small business should at least be on Twitter and Facebook before anything hits the fan.”

6. Prepare “Holding” Statements.
“Holding” statements are verbal placeholders your team can use during a crisis until more facts are known or can be released. A sample: “Our hearts go out to those in harm’s way. Our crisis team will issue updates as they become available.”

7. Don’t Respond Emotionally.
“If negativity is getting any traction, it can do a lot of damage,” Bernstein said. “If they’re going to be talking about you, you’re better off participating in the discussion, but don’t respond in kind. If there are clearly factual errors, you need to correct those compassionately.”

8. Review Your Response.
“It’s always worth looking back to see if there’s something you could have done better, either to prevent the crisis or respond to it,” Bernstein said.

coach

Regular coaching on crisis management is critical, expert David Blum says.

Crisis Coaching
David Blum, president of Florida-based storage management and consulting firm Better Management Systems, has overseen emergency response at several storage facilities after fires, hurricanes and even hazardous waste incidents. He’s sold on the need for preparation.

“We’ve always used an emergency manual that we prepare that has a whole agenda for dealing with different types of crises,” he said.

Manual aside, Blum said the secret to surviving a crisis is a clear chain of command.

“You want to determine in advance who is going to handle what, especially if it’s a newsworthy situation,” he said. “Managers need to be coached on who the responsible individual is to deal with that situation. Don’t necessarily leave it in the manager’s hands.”

He added: “The best thing you can do is coach a manager to say, ‘I’m sorry, but I’m not authorized to have any conversation about this. You need to speak to so-and-so.’ But they have to be coached on a regular basis because you never know when a crisis is going to hit. You don’t want them to get flustered.”

Photo of Mike McCown courtesy of the Charleston Gazette

Source: http://blog.selfstorage.com/self-storage-operations/crisis-management-4038

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Interesting and Wacky Finds in Self-Storage Units

People use self-storage units for a variety of things. You may have heard people talking about using self-storage units to start businesses, practice for their bands or more. With quite a few facilities having 24-hour or after-hours access and the availability of a variety of sizes, the things that can and will go on in storage spaces are quite inventive. Here are a few interesting and wacky finds that occur in self-storage spaces.

  • Money

For those people who don’t like or trust banks, it’s very easy to see the concept of stashing your money in a storage unit a likely story. More often than you realize, storage units have held hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time, all in the name of being a “safer” space, and hiding out from the IRS.

  • Expired or deceased individuals

Yes, it’s true. Sometimes people don’t want to part with their loved ones and take matters into their own hands. A truly weird storage, a family kept their grandmother – in her coffin – in a storage unit for over 17 years.

  • Tenants

It’s been done again and again. The falling economy left quite a few people homeless and forced them to have to put their items in storage. The problem is, they were also in the storage unit with their items. Self-storage units were a hot commodity for people needing a place to lay their heads. There was shelter, electricity and it’s climate-controlled. If their possessions were in the unit, they already had a bed and a sweet set-up. Battery-operated fan anyone?

  • Illegal Drugs

There are many stories where serious drug activity takes place in self-storage units. From marijuana to hard drugs like cocaine and heroin, drug dealers don’t think twice about storing their stash in a unit. The problem with that is, cops are getting very wise and if you’re being watched, it’s almost a guaranteed that they are well aware of the narcotics that may be hiding out in a self-storage unit.

  • Animals

From dogs to fish, animals have taken center stage at self-storage facilities. It takes a certain kind of person to leave animals in self-storage units as a pet store or worse. Almost every animal you can conceive has been found in one.

These are just a few wacky and weird uses for self-storage units. Self-storage units are also notorious for holding the wares of some of your favorite stars, and also for selling items that have belonged to famous actors and actresses who lost the unit due to non-payment or forgetfulness. Can you imagine the managers who check these units to find these astonishing things? If you’re thinking about investing in the world of self-storage, make sure you have protocols in place to safeguard your property from certain things – especially the illegal ones. If you don’t you’ll pay for it dearly in fines and possibly property damage. After all, it’s no secret when doing a raid, the cops take the opportunity to tear up everything in sight. Happy hunting!

Source: http://usselfstoragelocator.com/blog_posts/517-interesting-and-wacky-finds-in-self-storage-units

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Skeletons in Your Closet?

A

Source: http://magellanstorageblog.com/2013/10/15/skeletons-in-your-closet/

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How to use social media analytics for your self storage business

It is sometimes difficult to measure success in the social media arena. Many social media marketers struggle to determine how to ensure that the payoff matches the effort. Social media analytics can help marketers in the self storage industry and beyond to determine which efforts are worth continuing and which ones are in need of revision. Here are a few tips that will help you to master social media analytics:

Clearly define your goals – This is the first and perhaps most important step in using social media analytics. Once you determine what your self storage business is trying to gain from social media, then you can make a clear plan of action when it comes to analyzing your follower counts and engagement numbers.

Develop an analytics schedule – After you assess your self storage marketing efforts, determine how often you will need to perform analytics. Some businesses do analytics on a monthly basis while other larger ones need to perform it more often. Once you figure out a schedule that works for you, then you can use the information to tailor marketing efforts to your audience.

Determine what to track – At this point in time, you should figure out what exactly you will use to determine whether or not your efforts are successful. For example, will you be looking at follower count or engagement? It is recommended that you look at a mix of the two in order to get the best overall picture.

Get a good analytics tool – The data in your analytics repots will only be as good as the tool used to track it. There is a wide range of tools from which to choose. These include services like SumAll, Simply Measured, Sproutsocial and Hootsuite. They all offer different price tiers and features. Sproutsocial and Hootsuite provide customers with a social media management system in addition to the analytics.

Use information to maximize engagement – The main point of conducting social media analytics is to use it to further the online marketing strategy for your self storage business. After you’ve conducted your review of your social media efforts, use this information to determine things like the best time of day to post and the kind of posts to make. For example, if you find that the best days for engagement are on Fridays and Saturdays, use this knowledge to ensure that your posts get the maximum amount of reach on these days.

There are several social media analytics tools available to help you reach your online marketing goals for your self storage business. If you are willing to make the investment, the paid options offer a little more capability that the free versions of a service like Hootsuite. Consider all options and what you are trying to achieve before committing to any one tool.

Source: http://usselfstoragelocator.com/blog_posts/392-how-to-use-social-media-analytics-for-your-self-storage-business

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Priced to Sell

I am an extremely Positive Person and I like to think of water glasses half full and that the Sun ALWAYS comes out, BUT… the garage sale season here in North Florida is off to a terribly slow start!!!! Fifteen sales were listed in the Pennysaver for my little town and I planned and mapped out 8 of them. First sale I got started on Saturday at my usual 11 am time and as I started to work my “route”, sale after sale had been canceled! I can only assume that the 55-degree temperatures and the stiff ocean breezes made it difficult to stand in your driveway and hope for sale seekers!!!

 

Second sale

But, I persisted and I finally came upon an open sale and met a wonderful Russian couple that was eager to get rid of everything! She was warm and bubbly and every time I asked her the price of an item, it seemed to go for “One Dollah!” Most of their items were tools and dishes, things I already had too much of in my own home, but I did buy some old frames and Christmas items.

While the Bubbly misses went inside to get change, another couple came up to the sale and started asking for prices. The husband of Misses Bubbly, who’s English was terrible at best, started giving out prices that were shockingly high. The sale seeker was just that, shocked!!! He even blurted, “WHAT!!” After looking over a few items and continuously asking for prices, the sale seeker just left without buying anything. Misses Bubbly was oblivious to the departing couple and happily gave me my change while pointing out other items she thought I would like. But, I left with my treasures and wished them luck on such a cold Florida Day.

 

Third sale

I found one other sale that was still in progress and the group putting it on was all huddled in the garage with the items strewn around the driveway. This time, all items were priced with very large labels so there was no negotiation. But the Man in Charge came out and stated that everything was “Half Price”. There were pieces of furniture, a complex stereo system and lots of copperware. I love copperware and own quite a collection. Unfortunately, I also know prices and these prices were set to match items selling new at Macy’s! Even at half price, they were way too high for a garage sale. I think they could tell I was disappointed because the next thing I looked at was a plant shelf and they let me have it for 75% off the original price! I bought the shelf and decided to call it a day

. Garage sale Garage sale Garage sale

 

On the way back home, I started to think about the prices for used items at both of these sales. I certainly understand the state of our economy and people selling things from their homes to pay for bills, but there is an unwritten rule about garage sales: Price To Sell!!!! All too often, I will buy something at a garage sale that I certainly don’t need but I buy it because it was such a fantastic deal!!!! I absolutely love things for a Buck!!! Even $5 can be a deal! Furniture I will look at in the $20 range but when prices start going into the $40, $50 and on up range, it will simply bust my budget!!! I have bought things in that range but they were very “one of a kind” and the only thing at the sale with that price tag on it!!! So I recommend pricing items in a logical fashion. Price to Sell!!!!

 

Source: https://www.storageunitauctionlist.com/blog/priced-to-sell/

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How to Prepare Your Vehicle For Long Term Storage

Whether you are a collector of cars or traveling abroad, there are many reasons you might need to store your vehicle for an extended period of time.  Taking a few easy steps can be taken to ensure your vehicle remains in the same condition as the day that you put it into storage…

Paperwork – Make sure all of your documents are in order.  If you need to renew your registration or insurance policy do it prior to storing your vehicle to prevent any problems when the time comes to take it out of storage.

Engine Oil – Change your engine oil and oil filter.  You may also want to consider changing your transmission fluid and brake fluid if you are going to be storing a long time and you haven’t done so in a few years.

Cleaning Your Vehicle – It is essential to perform a thorough cleaning of your vehicle both inside and out.   Wash, buff, and wax the exterior.  Remove all trash and debris from the in interior and the trunk to make sure there is no odor build up.  Treat leather seats, and clean the windows and windshield with Windex.

Battery – Fully charge your car battery, and then disconnect the battery cables.  Failure to do so will result in a slow drain, and your car won’t start when you return.

Gas – Fill your gas tank to capacity and use a fuel stabilizing additive to prevent collection of moisture in your fuel.

Critters – Make sure you don’t leave any openings for critters to invade your vehicle.  Close all windows, place a piece of steel wool in the exhaust pipe, and use a garbage bag to clog the air intake.  Leave a note with the car keys to remind you to remove these items from the air intake and exhaust pipe that would cause serious problems.

Tires – Place your vehicle on jack stands while storing to prevent flat spots in your tires.

 

Source: http://www.devonselfstorage.com/blog/2012-08-03-how-to-prepare-your-vehicle-for-long-term-storage

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Packing Up Your Valuables


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It is very important for you to ensure that everything you pack up will be safe and packed carefully as you are moving from place to place. You can go to your local self storage facility and talk to the property manger there to see if they have some products to help you. They will have bubble wrap, tap and even boxes to help assist you in your packing. Below are a couple of tips that you can use when you are trying to pack up for the big moving day. In addition to these tips, do not hesitate to talk to the property manager to see if they have any additional tips for you to pack.
Not many people want to repurchase everything they have in their homes. They want to ensure that what they are bringing with them is property wrapped whether they deem it valuable or not. In the same respect you do not want to do a lot of clean up or scrubbing of your valuables when unpacking. When wrapping up your glassware and not to get ink all over them you can get unprinted new paper. Putting items in the dishwasher to have they cleaned versus scrubbing them with your fingernail or scrub brush is a lot better.
When planning to pack or packing your valuables in a hurry, you could run out of packing paper. In a pinch and you don’t have enough paper to wrap your dishes use paper plates between them. Not many people think of this as a way to pack their dishes or other valuables, but it makes perfect sense. This way you do not have to worry about the dishes jostling around.
If you are going to store items for long term get totes and you can color coordinate them to know what is inside. When you go back to your self storage unit to visit or to get something out, you do not want to move everything around in order to get to that one item. Organizing the self storage unit in a manageable way is ideal. If you have questions about packing, or how to store your belongings properly, talk with your property manager.

It is very important for you to ensure that everything you pack up will be safe and packed carefully as you are moving from place to place. You can go to your local self storage facility and talk to the property manger there to see if they have some products to help you. They will have bubble wrap, tap and even boxes to help assist you in your packing. Below are a couple of tips that you can use when you are trying to pack up for the big moving day. In addition to these tips, do not hesitate to talk to the property manager to see if they have any additional tips for you to pack.

Not many people want to repurchase everything they have in their homes. They want to ensure that what they are bringing with them is property wrapped whether they deem it valuable or not. In the same respect you do not want to do a lot of clean up or scrubbing of your valuables when unpacking. When wrapping up your glassware and not to get ink all over them you can get unprinted new paper. Putting items in the dishwasher to have they cleaned versus scrubbing them with your fingernail or scrub brush is a lot better.

When planning to pack or packing your valuables in a hurry, you could run out of packing paper. In a pinch and you don’t have enough paper to wrap your dishes use paper plates between them. Not many people think of this as a way to pack their dishes or other valuables, but it makes perfect sense. This way you do not have to worry about the dishes jostling around.

If you are going to store items for long term get totes and you can color coordinate them to know what is inside. When you go back to your self storage unit to visit or to get something out, you do not want to move everything around in order to get to that one item. Organizing the self storage unit in a manageable way is ideal. If you have questions about packing, or how to store your belongings properly, talk with your property manager.

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Source: http://www.propertymanagementblog.com/packing-up-your-valuables/

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Blog: Regina DeCarlo

Source: http://my.facilitiesnet.com/personal-announcements/b/regina_decarlo/default.aspx

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JunQue from Junk

Every week I leave my home and venture out into the world of collecting Junk.  I attend Garage Sales, hunt treasure at Flea Markets, become a bidding warrior at auctions and scour thrift stores and antique shops.  I simply like acquiring the unique and interesting products that have been used and loved by previous owners.  They have Wear.  They have History.  They have Heart!!!

junk

Shutterstock/trekandshoot

 

But….

 

There is a Reality to this acquiring of things.  There have been shows developed about the acquiring of things.

 

hoarding3

Original image from Shutterstock/MCarper

 

And there are a million magazines and books and articles about the acquiring of things!

 

decorating-books

There are Doctors who deal with the subject of the acquiring of things!!

 

doctor

Shutterstock/Dooder

 

So, I looked over my piles of worn, historical and heart felt things and decided I needed to Re-purpose them!!!!

 

lots of dishes for towers

piles of dishes

plastic dishes for towers

pile of plates

 

I am an artist and I could most certainly use my imagination to create something New, Beautiful and Useful!!!!

 

Amy the artist

First, I looked over my pile of “stuff”

 

pile of tower 2

And I started to “Build”

 

crystal for towers

And kept Building

 

building tower 1

And then Gluing

 

gluing tower 2

And the next thing you know…..I’m addicted!!!!!!!

 

plastic tower 1

circle plate design tower

chinese pagoda tower

 

 

fish bowl tower

 

I have glued together everything I could find to make China Towers!!!

And they aren’t all China!!!! Many are plastic!!!

They can be used for cupcake plates, jewelry displays, cheese and cracker trays.  Just let your imagination go WILD!!!!

cupcake tower 3

While I let these newest Towers dry and cure, I think I will list the others on Storage Unit Auction List's newest feature…Classifieds!!!!

classifieds.storageunitauctionlist.com

I’m so excited!!!! Now I can get my JunQue (not junk) SOLD and make some money for more Junk!!!!!!

Amy's Heart

 

Source: https://www.storageunitauctionlist.com/blog/junque-from-junk/

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Get Your Mind Off Page Ranking

Businesses that don’t understand SEO continuously put page rank at the top of their list. Although it’s nice to be at the top of Google’s SERPs, but with the continuous changes, you could be at the top today and on page 13 tomorrow. Frankly, Google just doesn’t care where your site ranks and if you’re focusing only on page ranking, you know nothing about real online marketing.

One of the most important things to incorporate into your online digital marketing strategy is not to become dependent on Google. If you’re sweating bullets because you drop a number on your page rank, then your site is not being organically successful and you’re doing it all wrong. By focusing on a few other things, you can get good results while not making Google your king.

Take these suggestions into account:

Micro-conversions

This is useful because people give you their information, which allows you to continue user engagement and interaction well beyond your website. Google does not control how your Facebook, Twitter or other social sites operate and if you’re getting customers through this process, you will be successful.

It’s more than a website

Your website is not the only outlet you have to market yourself. IF you’re into e-commerce, there are a number of outlets where the word can get out. Use these channels to expand and build on your brand.

Referrals are just as effective

To get rankings that have longevity, you need links that are built organically. Look at how you get them. Your campaigns should focus on building relationships and partnerships that will translate into referrals. This type of traffic cannot be bought and will positively affect your ranking without Google.

Lists

Do you have a list? It’s a form of micro-conversion but it’s very important. Once you have a strong listing in which to disseminate information, you have an audience to communicate with. Valuable content will get you noticed and keep your audience, with or without a Google ranking. There are other ways to achieve what you desire without focusing too much on a page rank.

It’s great to have a high page rank, but implementing other methods can get you the same results without you losing sleep. If you incorporate a variety of marketing methods, you’ll gain more traction because you put the real work in as opposed to focusing all your efforts on a page ranking. Google is determined to shake things up, so putting all your eggs in one basket will result in disaster. Google’s guaranteed that. Take the time to reassess and strategize on your local visibility and focus on creating a good site that works. You’ll be a lot happier and the results will all come together.

If you’re unsure on how to proceed, take a class or go to a business development workshop to improve on your marketing methods. It’s much more detailed than you think, and as recent history has shown, your overall efforts should be the goal.

Source: http://usselfstoragelocator.com/blog_posts/496-get-your-mind-off-page-ranking

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Proposed Massachussetts Bill Gives Police Access to Customer Records

If you are like the millions of Americans who are concerned about “Big Brother” watching your every move, then you’re not going to feel too comfortable about this next bit of news. In Massachesetts, Senate Bill 158 is being proposed which would require self storage operators in the state to keep an record of tenant information, which would be accessible by the police and other authorities at any point in time.

The bill was introduced by Senator James E. Timilty and was referred to the committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure on January 22, 2014. This committee is responsible for considering all matters that deal with consumer credit, consumer protection, and various trade registrations and other matters. The House concurred on the matter and a hearing was held on January 28, 2014, which is still pending the results.

If this bill is passed, then self storage owners and operators in Massachusetts would be required to maintain names and addresses of every tenant along with information such as unit number and the duration of the rental. Police and other authorities would not need a search warrant to access the information. If self storage operators refuse to comply, then it could cost them up to $500 and 90 days in jail.

What does this mean for the self storage industry? Self storage operators would need to start paying more attention to customer records in order to avoid the repercussions. While a $500 fine might not seem excessive, the 90-day jail sentence is sufficient to cause anyone to panic. This also means that there will be less anonymity in self storage rentals. As things stand currently, there have been instances where police have discovered anything from bodies to drugs in self storage units. In some circumstances, the owners of the units have not been tracked down. This new bill would help to eliminate the occurrence of this and hopefully bring those who abuse self storage units to justice.

Persons in the self storage industry in Massachusetts are not taking this proposed bill lightly. Members of the Massachusetts Self Storage Association (MASSA) and the national Self Storage Association (SSA) testified this week in a hearing in Boston to voice their views. There is no doubt that the additional burden this new requirement would put on self storage operators is cause for concern. The maintenance of these records could possibly require additional manpower. There is also a privacy concern for renters as well. There is a reasonable expectation of privacy whenever consumers conduct any form of business. Giving the authorities access to information about whenever you rent a self storage unit would make any one a little uneasy.

No matter what the eventual outcome of Senate Bill 183, we can expect to see a heightened discussion in privacy debates from those in the self storage industry and consumers in general.

Source: http://usselfstoragelocator.com/blog_posts/478-proposed-massachussetts-bill-gives-police-access-to-customer-records

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They Need Your Help


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Why do you think customers say no to you as a property manager when it comes to renting a space? Do you think they are telling you no or do you think they are telling you no  because you have not gave them the solution to their problem. It is not difficult to find out what the customer needs, you just have to make it not difficult for them to see the solution you are offering them. You are offering them a solution the customer just needs to see that. Can you provide that solution and show them. That is your challenge.

The customer needs your help, but they are just afraid to ask for it. They are not looking for some sales pitch. They want a realistic solution to their problem. They want someone to look them in the eye and tell them that their solution is only a step away. The customer definitely has to trust you as a manager in order to believe you will help them. They want your help but they just don’t know how to ask for it. It would be great if the customer just said to the property manager, I want to rent, now show me what I need. That does not happen everyday.

For some managers it is hard to step outside of their comfort zone and go beyond what they were trained to do. The manager just wants to give their normal spiel and then the want the customer to say yes. Well that maybe happens one third of the time. Those are the gimmies. It is figured that at least a third of people wanting storage will rent if you ask them to rent with you. There are many people that need a bit of nudging in the right direction. There are people who just need to realize that this self storage location is the location that their belongings should rest.

Do you believe that you have the best facility and you are the best manager in the area? Then show the customer that. If the customer sees and believes that you are what you claim to be, then you are in luck. If the customer can not see that then they will go somewhere else. Many managers think that the customer is not smart enough to make a good decision on their own and think they need the property managers to come in and save the day. Do not make that mistake or make the customer feel that they need you. They do need you in order to get the paperwork done, but they can have any facility do that. They just want to know that if they rent with you, they will not have to worry about their belongings. Can you make them feel that comfortable?

No manager wants to be told what to do or what they should be doing. They want to hear how great of a job they are doing and they want to hear how big of an asset they are to the company. The customers need your help and you are there to guide them a rental. The question is, can you do that? If you can not do this for the customer, I am sure there is a facility down the street or right next door that can help them.

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Source: http://www.propertymanagementblog.com/they-need-your-help/

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Simplify Your Holiday Baking

Holiday Baking
Holiday Baking

The holidays are a big time for baking, and with everything else you have to do during this time, it’s important to make sure you simplify this process as much as possible. Before you get started, make sure to plan ahead and simplify your holiday baking, and you will end up taking less time overall.

First things first, you want to decide ahead of time what cookies you make and make a list of what ingredients you need to make these. Before you start baking, whether it is the day before or the hour before, make sure you have all the ingredients and go out to get the ones you don’t have. During this time, you will want to make sure you have all other supplies as well, including pans, parchment paper, cookie cutter and any other supplies you need for these cookies at hand. If there are some item you don’t use often that you keep in your storage unit, you’ll want to get those ahead of time as well.

Once you have all your supplies and ingredients, make sure you have an order to your baking. For example, if you’re making chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies, you’ll want to start the sugar cookies first so you can let them cool while you prepare the other cookies and then you can decorate them sooner. You can pre-measure all your ingredients ahead of time so when it comes time for mixing, you have everything ready. Lastly, we suggest you leave it to the dishwasher to do all the dishes for you. After all your baking, this will be a welcome break.

Once all your holiday baking is done, you should stop into your self storage unit at LifeStorage and put all your baking supplies you don’t need often back in storage. You will want to keep your home in order to prepare for any holiday guests.

Source: http://lifestorageblog.com/life-storage-tips/simplify-your-holiday-baking/

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Forum Post: Looking for managers to discuss technology for a Roundtable

We're looking for three maintenance and engineering managers to participate in our roundtable discussion on incorporating technology into your profession as part of our May issue.

We know managers are under pressure to control costs related to both departments' activities and the efficiency of facilities' HVAC systems and equipment. At the same time, they are inundated with information on new and advanced technology that is designed to increase and enhance efficiency. We'll discuss managers' experiences specifying technology designed to achieve these goals, as well as successfully incorporate it into facility operations.

If you are interested in participating, please email me at dave.lubach@tradepress.com.

Source: http://my.facilitiesnet.com/general/f/6298/p/11658/14941.aspx#14941

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HVAC on Self Storage

There are many varieties of people that utilize self storage for various different reasons from people using storage spaces for cars, trailers or RV’s all the way to business owners utilizing storage space for their materials and equipment. Today I will be writing about a particular type of business owner which is HVAC (Heating, Venting and Air Conditioning) businesses whom can be commonly be found using the convenience of a self storage unit for their business needs.

Typically you find that smaller HVAC companies utilize self storage space because a large 10 x 20, 10 x 40 or the like sized unit are perfect to accommodate their business needs for storing their materials used on a day to day basis.

To give a better idea of what HVAC companies do within their business I would like to provide a quick explanation of the training HVAC employees receive before they are able to do their job as well as services that they provide to their heating, venting and air conditioning customers. HVAC workers start their career with a training course through a college or trade schools where they become HVAC certified and learn the basics of the HVAC trade all the way to the advanced aspects of the HVAC trade. In these courses, HVAC students learn skills such as refrigeration basics, trouble shooting HVAC refrigeration systems, HVAC electrical operations, how to service refrigeration systems as well as how to service HVAC electrical systems, how to work on and ventilation ducts from installation to repair and also how to operate a compressor and many, many more trade skills. Depending on how you go about getting your certification it can take up to 5 years in the state of New Jersey to become fully HVAC certified after completing 4 years of apprenticeship as well as all of the certification classes required.

Now that you know some of the basics involved to become HVAC certified we can move on to some of the job basics an HVAC certified person performs and why a self storage unit can be quite handy for the uses of the HVAC business. HVAC workers are able to install an entire heating and/or air condition system from the electronic control system used to operate the power of the system to the sheet metal duct work run from area to area to create a stable heated or cooled environment.  A lot of the time a central air system provides both air conditioning as well as heat to your home so let me explain as simply as I can how it works . The air conditioning works as follows, there is a compressor that is located outside your home which has a condenser coil inside of it and then within your home there is an evaporator coil usually installed by your furnace. The air conditioner uses a gas called a refrigerant that transfers heat to the outside condenser coil through a chemical reaction when the refrigerant is compressed by the compressor.

Now this reaction takes place within a contained area within your air conditioner and it pulls the heat out of the refrigerant. Once the warm refrigerant is cooled, it is sent inside the home to the evaporator coil in which a blower is used to pull warm air from throughout your home and moves it over the evaporator coils which cools it and circulates it through your house through the ventilation ducts. Now that you know how the air condition works to create heat it is exactly the same process but reversed. The systems that can both cool and heat are called heat pumps and works as follows. The same three components are used the compressor, the condenser coil which in the heating process will act as the outdoor evaporator coil and the indoor evaporator coil which in the heating process will now act as the condenser coil inside your home. Now the heat pump uses the same gas called a refrigerant which transfers cool air to the outside condenser coil through a chemical reaction when the refrigerant is compressed by the compressor. The chemical reaction is contained in the heat pump and pulls the cold out of the refrigerant. When the cold refrigerant is warmed it is sent to the indoor evaporator coil and the blower located under the evaporator coil pulls cold air from your house over the evaporator coil which heats it and then sends it through the ventilation ducts which in return heats your house!

Wow, now that the scientific explanation of how heating and air conditioning work, let’s talk about why HVAC companies benefit from using a self storage unit. Let’s face it, with all that duct work being used HVAC companies need a place to put it all and the space that a large self storage unit provides is a perfect choice and location to keep it! Here at Storage Station our large 10 x 20 and bigger units have a large approximately eight and a half wide by about seven and a half feet tall roll up door very similar to a garage door so moving the duct work in and out of the unit is without question a breeze.

Having a large self storage unit also enables HVAC companies to not only store their duct work but their air conditioning units as well.

Even when it comes to HVAC companies storing their electrical equipment it is a no brainer that they can also just store it right along with all of their other materials too. The only thing that we prohibit the HVAC companies from storing is the refrigerant because it is considered a hazardous material and should be disposed of as well as treated as a hazardous material which is not allowed here at Storage Station facilities.

Overall, HVAC companies utilizing self storage units is a lot more common than people think and without question it is a fantastic place to store almost all of the materials and let’s not forget tools necessary to complete the installation of a central air conditioning and or heating system. One would really be surprised at the different businesses that utilize the convenience of a self storage facility for their needs and I look forward to writing more about the different kinds of business that do in the near future.

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HVAC on Self Storage brought to you by : Storage Station Self Storage and Storage Blog

Source: http://www.storagestations.com/blog/hvac-on-self-storage/

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California’s Maria Contreras-Sweet is new SBA chief

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a federal agency that backed more than $29 billion in small business loans in 2013, has a new leader.

On March 27, the U.S. Senate confirmed California banker Maria Contreras-Sweet as the new head of the SBA. She replaces Karen Mills, who stepped down last August.

The SBA has become much more important to the self-storage sector in recent years. In 2010, self-storage was added as a property type for SBA loans. According to self-storage financial advisory firm The BSC Group, two types of SBA loans are available for self-storage facilities: SBA 7(a) and SBA 504.

‘Fierce Champion’
In a statement, President Obama said that with Contreras-Sweet at the helm of the SBA, “the American people will have a fierce champion who understands what it means to start a small business, and who has a proven track record of helping other small businesses succeed.”

Two years ago, Obama elevated the SBA to a Cabinet-level agency, giving it more influence in the White House and on Capitol Hill.

Contreras-Sweet is founder of Los Angeles-based ProAmérica Bank, which lends money to small and midsize businesses, particularly those run by Latino entrepreneurs. She also is former head of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. Contreras-Sweet immigrated to California from Mexico at age 5.

“As we work to keep our economy growing, Maria will be charged with looking for more ways to support small businesses,” Obama said.

Maria Contreras-Sweet

President Obama introduces Maria Contreras-Sweet as Jeanne Hulit (right) looks on.

Sweet Praise
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat, said she thinks Contreras-Sweet will be a “strong advocate” for small businesses, which create two of every three new jobs in the U.S.

“Every single day, we need to think about small businesses in our community and how much we need to help and support them,” Cantwell said.

U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein, a California Democrat, noted that as the founder of ProAmérica Bank, Contreras-Sweet “knows firsthand what it takes to run and grow a small business.”

“With so many Americans who earn moderate incomes having trouble getting approved for loans, this kind of support is essential to growing job-creating small businesses,” Feinstein said.

SBA Concerns
When Contrera-Sweet’s nomination was announced in January by the White House, U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, a Missouri Democrat who chairs the House Small Business Committee, said he was disappointed that Obama had taken so long to name a new SBA chief.

“Small businesses have been bombarded with a flood of regulations, a health care law that stifles growth and a constant fear of tax increases during the past five years,” Graves said. “I hope the new SBA administrator will give a voice to small businesses in this White House and redirect the SBA to focus on its core missions of capital access, contracting and counseling, while reducing duplication, overlap and wasteful spending.”

‘Unique Perspective’
For her part, Contreras-Sweet said her background as an entrepreneur, a state government official and a corporate executive will give her a “unique perspective” as leader of the SBA.

“SBA’s record levels of lending helped pull us out of one of the nation’s worst economic periods, and the agency has streamlined and simplified many processes, reduced paperwork and become more customer-oriented than ever before,” she said.

Source: http://blog.selfstorage.com/self-storage-financial/new-sba-administrator-4065

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Devon Regional VP, Bob Francis and the conservation of the Albino Armadillos of Central Florida

Recently we were able to pull Bob Francis away from a busy work week to answer some very important questions regarding life, passion and wildlife in our 1st installment of  ”The Devon interviews”

Enjoy!

 

Name: Bob Francis

Title: Regional VP

 

Where did you work before Devon?

At The Heron Group a boutique ownership and consulting company specifically focused on self storage.

Why did you decide to work for Devon?

I had known the Principals for over 15 years and have always been impressed with the firm’s intellectual honesty and integrity.

What is your favorite book?

The Power of Positive Thinking.

What is your vision for Devon in the next five years?

We are poised to be one of the most successful companies in this industry.  We will undoubtedly grow much more rapidly than in the past, and now is the time to sharpen our collective skill sets.

What do you see as your greatest strength at your position?

The ability to help others achieve more than they ever thought possible.

When you are in the car by yourself, what is playing on the radio?

Talk radio or an oldies station.

What are you most passionate about?

Personal integrity and making musical instruments

What is your favorite memory at Devon?

Reading the operating procedures and realizing Noodle wasn’t actually a person.

Dogs or cats, and why?

Albino Armadillos.

Source: http://www.devonselfstorage.com/blog/2014-02-13-devon-regional-vp-bob-francis-and-the-conservation-of-the-albino-armadillos-of-central-florida

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Tips and Tricks To Organize Your Attic

Having an attic can be a great thing if you are using it effectively. People use their attics as a personal self-storage space, throwing items up there with no organization at all. Attics can be problematic though. They may not preserve items as well as a climate-controlled unit and may suffer from humidity because of the lack of ventilation. You have to be very careful with certain items, especially record collections and important papers. You can get a lot of ideas for storing from Pinterest and other sites that will awe you with their creativity.

Although the job may seem overwhelming, using containers and the advice of experts can make a big difference. Having a proper visual could also assist. Here are a few useful tips to organize your attic and make more space in the area:

Sort Your Items - It’s important to sort your items and group them into categories. Having a bin for each type of item will start getting things up off the floor and will give you a bigger picture on what’s in there.

Trash your Trash - At some point, there are some things that you will no longer want or need. Do not find ways to keep this stuff. Trash it. You should have a bin specifically labeled trash to dispose of this stuff.

Donate - You should have a bin for items that are too small or you cannot use anymore but are in good enough condition to pass  along.

Survey and Assess - By this time, you can see a lot of the items you have and plan to keep. Utilizing clear, air-tight containers could be a great solution for you to preserve your items. Clear or colored, these can help you get things organized.

Purchase the storage supplies you need - Again, plastic bins and containers can work wonders in getting your things in order and look nice while doing it. Color-coordinating your items will help you find things easier after formulating a master list.

Label your containers - Putting labels on your containers will help you keep things organized and in the same place. It’s good to group like-items and bins together to find things easily.

Utilize shelving - Using shelving to keep your bins organized is a great idea. Organizing shelves along the walls will keep things in order and up off the floor.

Make a master listing - Creating a master list of bin color and what is in it will help you find things quickly when you need to. Posting the list in an area by the door will allow anyone who comes into the attic the opportunity of finding what they need while not interfering with your hard work. Put a date on the list and on the items and place an asterisk to the items that may need monitoring for preservation.

Using these tips will help you organize your attic and keep it that way. Remember – a little organization goes a very long way.

Source: http://usselfstoragelocator.com/blog_posts/488-tips-and-tricks-to-organize-your-attic

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Come on Down to the Facility


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What would you do if you walked into a facility that was completely disgusting? Most people would turn around and walk back out. Other people might consider still going through with renting a storage space. Would it be different if the manager told you they had a nice and super clean facility on to find out they were lying? How would that affect your self storage experience? Would that make you not trust other things they said or did? If you say no to this question, you are definitely in the minority.
Many managers ask the customer they are speaking with over the phone that they invite them to come down and see the facility. They do this for a couple of different reasons. They do this to get the customer to compare different facilities and also to get the customer to come down to their facility. Many property managers think that if they can get the customer to come in to their facility, the customer will rent from them. They believe that they have the best of what is offered in the self storage world. The property managers also want you to see how their competition does not take care of their property. This is to their advantage.
What makes a customer decide to rent a storage space? This has been the age long question that many owners have contemplated. There is not a unique system of things that can help one facility rent more spaces than the next one. One of the things that can help a property manager with getting the customer to decide to rent with them is deciding to be completely truthful with the customer. If you tell the caller something about your facility or what you can do for them, follow through with those thoughts. If you are asked something by a customer and you are unsure whether or not you can do it, tell the customer that. Do not make a promise that you can not keep.
The disconnection between the manager and the customer sometimes is the expectations of storage. If the customer comes down to the facility and they see something completely different than is described then they will not be pleased. So when you tell the customer about your facility, be as truthful as possible. It is completely ridiculous to think that you can lie to a person and it not come back to bite you. It is very simple to sell to the customer what you have and hope for the best. The customer only expects you as a property manager to give accurate information.
The customer will go down to the facility that they believe is the best for them. They will visit as many facilities as they feel they need or not visit any facilities at all. It is there choice. Always be ready for a customer when they come into your facility. It is always great when the customer ahs already spoken to you and now they see they can trust you as you have told the truth about your facility. When you ask the customer to come on down to your facility, you are inviting them into your world of self storage. You always want to put your best foot forward. There is nothing like hearing a customer come in telling you that the competition’s storage units are disgusting while yours are spotless.

What would you do if you walked into a facility that was completely disgusting? Most people would turn around and walk back out. Other people might consider still going through with renting a storage space. Would it be different if the manager told you they had a nice and super clean facility on to find out they were lying? How would that affect your self storage experience? Would that make you not trust other things they said or did? If you say no to this question, you are definitely in the minority.

Many managers ask the customer they are speaking with over the phone that they invite them to come down and see the facility. They do this for a couple of different reasons. They do this to get the customer to compare different facilities and also to get the customer to come down to their facility. Many property managers think that if they can get the customer to come in to their facility, the customer will rent from them. They believe that they have the best of what is offered in the self storage world. The property managers also want you to see how their competition does not take care of their property. This is to their advantage.

What makes a customer decide to rent a storage space? This has been the age long question that many owners have contemplated. There is not a unique system of things that can help one facility rent more spaces than the next one. One of the things that can help a property manager with getting the customer to decide to rent with them is deciding to be completely truthful with the customer. If you tell the caller something about your facility or what you can do for them, follow through with those thoughts. If you are asked something by a customer and you are unsure whether or not you can do it, tell the customer that. Do not make a promise that you can not keep.

The disconnection between the manager and the customer sometimes is the expectations of storage. If the customer comes down to the facility and they see something completely different than is described then they will not be pleased. So when you tell the customer about your facility, be as truthful as possible. It is completely ridiculous to think that you can lie to a person and it not come back to bite you. It is very simple to sell to the customer what you have and hope for the best. The customer only expects you as a property manager to give accurate information.

The customer will go down to the facility that they believe is the best for them. They will visit as many facilities as they feel they need or not visit any facilities at all. It is there choice. Always be ready for a customer when they come into your facility. It is always great when the customer ahs already spoken to you and now they see they can trust you as you have told the truth about your facility. When you ask the customer to come on down to your facility, you are inviting them into your world of self storage. You always want to put your best foot forward. There is nothing like hearing a customer come in telling you that the competition’s storage units are disgusting while yours are spotless.

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Source: http://www.propertymanagementblog.com/come-on-down-to-the-facility/

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Why Dental Supply companies use Storage

Most people have no idea that there are small dental supply companies that make your dental appointment so smooth flowing with all of the instruments that your dentist may need. In fact we have one that rents a few units from our Storage Station’s Wayne   New Jersey property. People  really do not think about where their dentists are getting the bibs ,floss or even the tooth paste that they use at your visits come from. I know for a fact that I do not think of that when I’m in that chair with someone working in my mouth.

The first thing that comes to my mind is oh boy I hope this doesn’t hurt and then secondly I think about how much I have to pay for nice white teeth. It’s the little companies that are local that make a world of difference in so many ways. Sometimes we do not even know of these types of companies because we always look for store fronts to remind us of them but the truth is that most of the dental supply companies do not have store fronts. They rely on word of mouth like a referral program to get more business to use them. All it takes is a few satisfied customers to tell a fellow business owner and you could be on your way to more accounts.

These Types of dental supply companies are mostly small like a (mom & pop) store and cannot do all the heavy advertizing that a corporate company can do. It takes a good amount of money and time to put together a catalog listing of all that your company may have to offer. Your dentist may use a local dental supply company because they may have cheaper prices.  Not that you will get a cheaper price on your visits but that’s how the cookie crumbles.

Sometimes a local dental supply company can rush rite over to fix an issue in any equipment that the dentist may have so the office can have all rooms up and running all at the same time to avoid back up and long waits for peoples appointments. That is a major plus for a dentist because keeping on schedule is the key to keeping people coming back to them.

Most of these companies do same day delivery for orders that are urgent and not so urgent ones as well. That’s what I call good customer service that we do not see often these days.  One other point that is a chart topper is that you get to talk to someone not an automated system that’s a big deal to a lot people. It is much more comforting to hear a friendly voice then to get a computer on the other end of the line. That brings me in to why dental supply companies use self storage. It makes the job much easier to handle if they can put all the supplies in a unit on shelves it is a time saver.

There are so many different things that one dentist needs to have handy for everyday use and the supply company has to have them all at their finger tips. This could range from small things to very big things like the shots that you get when you have a tooth pulled right down to the smallest thing like the sip cup you use to rinse out your mouth or even the ex-ray machine they use in the room to view what going on with your teeth. Not to mention that there are so many different name brands for the same things that you would need to separate each product in to its own sections on the shelving units for the most efficient way to find things. It takes a lot of time to order the supplies for each dentist that’s why each time the dental supply company gets an order they then turn around and order double from their supplier to make sure that they can get it to the office in a timely manner. Yes it is like a chain the small dental supply company gets it from the manufactures and then they ship it to them and then it get shipped the doctors that ordered it from them. It is a process to do this, the dental supplier has to first order everything in bulk to start his business then hope that the dentist does not change is preference in the name brand that makes the product that is used in the practice every day. If that takes place then the product has to go on the back shelf. This could be a bit before an office calls with an order that has that one product on it or it expires whichever comes first. That makes a loss of income on the dental suppliers because they shell out the money to order the stuff first and then after the office gets it an invoice is sent out for payment. With that being said some offices take more time than others to send in payment.

The storage unit is where everything is shipped to that the company has ordered for their customers. Then they unpack the box just to repack an order to be sent back out by UPS, FedEx or for personal delivery to the correct offices. One other reason this company may have a storage unit would be to keep all the dental equipment in like chairs that need to be fixed or auto claves that needs to be installed for the dentist. Most of the time they would need to wait for the dentist’s office to be closed or to not have a use for that room you will be working in and that could take weeks or even longer. As we all know how hard it is to get an appointment in the same week as you call the dentist’s office for one. Now just think about how hard it would be to have to keep a room out working condition for a few hours so that something can be fix or installed. That is not all that feasible for the doctor either because that a lot of time and money that he/she is not getting to capitalize on. We all know all too well that time is money in this world and every little bit counts. Your local dental supply company does a lot more than just shuffle boxes from one place to another. Just like most things there is more to it then we know about and that’s what makes life interesting.

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Why Dental Supply companies use Storage brought to you by : Storage Station Self Storage and Storage Blog

Source: http://www.storagestations.com/blog/why-dental-supply-companies-use-storage/

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