Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The complete guide to self-storage software

Not so long ago, only the bravest independent operators risked their sanity by installing self-storage management software to run their facilities.

Today? You’d be crazy not to.

While there are still plenty of ways to mess up your move from the 20th century to the 21st century, overly complex software is not one of them.

“Today, it has to be simple,” said Matt Van Horn, vice president of Cutting Edge Self Storage Management. “You have to be able to train your managers so they feel comfortable using it and, in many cases, train your owners as well. There are many people who are tech-savvy, but then there are people who are scared of it and aren’t very good at it.”

Software Functionality
Most self-storage software packages incorporate several of these seven functions:

  1. Property management: Typically, a color-coded rental counter facility map opens to reveal occupancy status, tenant details, rents and discounts, payment status, late fees and lockouts on any unit. The software enables an operator to generate real-time performance and status reports.
  2. Move-in/move-out: This automated reservation and sales feature lets an online customer rent a unit, schedule an appointment to visit a unit or arrange to vacate a unit.
  3. Billing and accounting: This automates tenant billing and integrates financials into your accounting program.
  4. E-commerce: This enables tenants to manage their accounts and pay their rent online.
  5. Automated access control: This enables an operator to remotely control locks and alarms.
  6. Remote facility oversight: This provides detailed operational analysis of one or several facilities in real time, issuing alerts about excessive concessions, discounts, or waived rents or fees.
  7. Customer relationship management (CRM): This organizes and synchronizes your sales, marketing, customer service and technical support functions.

Self-storage software typically comes with free technical support, updates and initial training. Some products also offer ongoing training on a subscription basis.

SiteLink

SiteLink incorporates various types of functionality into its software.

Software Suppliers
Major software programs designed for the storage industry include:

  • Store Enterprise by Centershift
  • RapidStor by Centreforce
  • Storage Commander by Empower
  • District Manager by QStrom
  • SWAMP (Storage & Warehouse Asset Management Program) by Quayles
  • QuikStor
  • WinSen by Sentinel
  • SiteLink
  • Space Control
  • Syrasoft
  • WebSelfStorage

Web-Enabled vs. Web-Based?
Tom Garden, president of Syrasoft Management Software, said one major data storage decision that often perplexes newbies is whether to go with a “web-enabled” solution that lives on your own computer and server, or a “web-based” solution that lives in the “cloud.” The former has advantages during Internet outages; the latter may be handier for managing a growing company with several facilities.

“There is a percentage of end users who absolutely want to own their data and don’t want the outside world connected,” Garden said. “The other side wants to own their own data, too, but their poor Internet service may interfere with things like customers paying their bill online.”

Van Horn said society’s trend toward mobility favors a web-based solution.

“Being cloud-based is going to be huge,” he said. “In the future, you’re going to be able to access this directly through your smartphone and tablet. That’s something you can do now through intermediate steps; it’s just a more direct model of it.”

syrasoft

Syrasoft is one of several major suppliers of self-storage software.

The Importance of CRM
Zach Katkin, president of Atilus, an Internet advertising agency, said he would cast his vote for a web-based system as well, largely to boost a facility’s CRM.

“While these systems do a good job at the operational stuff, they don’t typically do a good job from a marketing perspective,” Katkin said. “We’ve seen this trend across all industries, from insurance to real estate to self-storage. They’re not designed with CRM in mind.”

If you plan to add separate CRM software anyway, Katkin said, putting the cart before the horse can pay off, especially with pre-leasing before a facility opens.

“You could do the CRM first, then select your backend system and integrate the two,” he said.

Reducing Human Error
Van Horn said software eliminates one of the biggest money drains on any self-storage facility: human error.

“The more manual stuff you do, the more human error you’re going to have. You’re going to forget a decimal place or invert a number that a computer just doesn’t do. It’s just human nature,” Van Horn said. “Invest in something that can save you both time and hassle—let the machine do it.”

Source: http://blog.selfstorage.com/self-storage-technology/guide-to-self-storage-software-4150

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Lions Tigers and Bears…Oh My!!!

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high, and far away from this brutal winter, people are enjoying fruity cocktails with little paper umbrellas.  While the temperature here in West Milford resembles Anchorage Alaska more so than Northern New Jersey, many of us have taken to curling up with a book under a blank, refusing to step outside.  As winter storm after winter storm continue to dump large amounts of fresh snow on us, what seems like almost daily, those of us who go to work day in and day out have become fast as lighting in the 10 yard dash, the distance from our front door to the car.  While we’re here dealing with all of this, there’s a lovely retired couple sitting on a beach in Florida, laughing at us.

Many of you spent your entire lives working 40 plus hours a week, punching the clock, sitting in traffic, and being responsible adults, all knowing that one day you’d reach the finish line, or the other side of the rainbow if you will.  As you reach retirement age, a.k.a. “the finish line”, many of you are given the opportunity to do all of the things you’ve wanted to do but never had the time, money, or energy to.  You’ve raised your children, worked hard, lived right, paid your taxes, and have been granted your wish without having to rub the genie’s lamp.

As you sat there in your offices and cubicles, many of you spent your free moments day dreaming of the day that you can hop on a plane and travel all over the world, with nothing holding you back besides your own will.  Now that the dream has become a reality, many of you are faced with a few final things to handle before you can jet set like movie stars and tour Europe like a rock band.

Depending upon what road you’ve decided to take, many of you have homes, hopefully fully paid off, which you now have to decide what to do with.  We here at Storage Station are here to aid you in that process and have many options and items to do so.

Now that you’re ready to get out and see the world, run with the bulls in Spain or tour the beautiful old world sights in Italy, the last thing you need to be thinking about while out there enjoying your retirement is what’s happening with your stuff back home.  Many of you will be faced with a choice- and while there are many options and things to consider before making your choice, ultimately you will need to decided what you’re going to do with your worldly possessions.  Whether you decide to sell your home and everything in it or rent out the house to generate income to fun those wild nights in Paris, at the end of the day, you’ll need to find a place to house whatever it is you decide not to do away with.   Storage Station has many different sizes and options to meet  your individual self storage needs.

Some of our tenants are retirees who spend their summers here in West Milford, but migrate down south like Canadian Geese as soon as the weather starts to get cold.  Of these tenants, their individual storage needs are quiet different, and we are here to accommodate them all.  For those of you who have decided to rent out your homes, you may be left with the daunting task of storing all of the items presently in your home.  We have storage units that can accommodate the items from 4 bedroom home, a 10’ x 40’ storage unit, to 1 bedroom apartment, a 10 x 10 storage unit, as well as any size in between.  Depending upon what items you choose to keep or part with, we here at Storage Station can make sure that you have all the room you need to keep your items together.

Besides just a vast array of sizes, we also offer a variety of options regarding unit type, hours of access, and ease of access.  After working all those years and accumulating a plethora of items, you may be may be more comfortable storing in one of our climate controlled units.  A climate controlled unit is a heated/cooled environment.  The temperature never gets below a set degree in the winter, meaning the heat kicks on, and never gets above a set degree, meaning that the air conditioner kicks on accordingly.

Besides offering climate controlled units, we also have units that are conveniently located both in the interior portions of our buildings as well as units that are drive up accessible, each with its own up sides.  Some prefer to be able to pull right up to the unit, open the door, deposit or collect their items, and be on their way.  No extra door ways to go through, no corners to turn, and no stairs to deal with.  On the other hand, we tenants who prefer to have a coded door located on the exterior of the building which someone has to go through even before they get to their self storage unit.  We have many size options with either of the types of accessibility.

Now regardless of the type, size, or accessibility, none of these mean much if you can’t access the units when it’s’ convenient for you.   Not everyone functions best during normal “banker’s hours”.  Some of you may be night owls, so a facility that only grants you access to your unit between a set time frame, may not be what you’re looking for.  In West Milford, Storage Station has two locations, with a variety of hours of access to best suit your needs.  We have portions of our facility that you can come and goes as you please, 24 hours of the day or night, whenever you prefer.

You are going to be spending your golden years enjoying all of the things you’ve wanted to for your entire life, don’t let something as easily taken care of as the storage of your items, deter from the joy of seeing the Eiffel Tower, or visiting your grand kids in California.

Stop by your local Storage Station to see how we can help you enjoy your all of the things you’ve been dreaming off.

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Source: http://www.storagestations.com/blog/lions-tigers-and-bearsoh-my/

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Storage Can Develop Inventive Ideas

There are so many things you can do with self-storage facilities. These units have been the inspiration for a number of businesses, movies and books. Taking things a step further, Jacqueline Sharp has taken her ideas and transformed them into a thriving business – all because of a storage unit. After a serious heartbreaking situation, Ms. Sharp took matters into her own hands. She always took old furniture and new pieces that she would find to make new selections.

Renting a storage unit, she put her ideas to work and started attending estate sales to house and develop her product. Through her motivation, her company FORT (Furnish or Trade) was born. “The more I went to estate sales, the more I fell in love with furniture, the more I would collect. Once I filled up the storage unit, I realized I had to do something with all my pieces, so I started to sell,” says Sharp.

She decorated her first home with furniture she made, getting her first table saw from Craigslist. “I didn’t know how to use it, so I went on YouTube and figured out how to use one, and that’s sort of where it began. After I made my first table, then I started making mirrors and side tables, and it kind of spiraled from there.”

Knowledge of FORT quickly spread, and Jacqueline’s storage unit became a showroom of sorts. After about four months, she had to move into her own facility. The brand has grown, getting recognition from an online promotion and a print ad from American Express featuring small business owners. Sharp was also asked to participate in the Tory Burch Foundation’s first West Coast class.

The company has grown through the sales of items and also works with a company to acquire furniture left over from Hollywood sets. Building furniture has always been a lifelong dream of Jacqueline, and she used to make forts in her grandparent’s house. Jaqueline says that every piece featured at FORT tells a story.

FORT has taken the Los Angeles furniture market by storm. Sharp says, “I love old things – old people, old furniture, old fabrics, old everything. I just feel like there is a history or a soul to these things that make them so much more valuable.”

Jacqueline has the support of her family to help her endeavor. Her brother Jeffrey speaks highly of his sister, calling her a talented craftswoman who can find value in what others have discarded. “This is what she’s been passionate about since she was young. You can almost make a room with just a piece from FORT. It really becomes a definitive piece of any room – a talking point in its second life.”

FORT holds a lot of promise for the future. Jacqueline’s company has been featured in Forbes Magazine, attracting attention from designers and retailers all over the world. It’s amazing what you can do with recycled materials and a lifelong passion. And it all started from a storage unit!

Source: http://usselfstoragelocator.com/blog_posts/493-storage-can-develop-inventive-ideas

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Thrift Shops & Consignment Stores Owners We’re Here To Help You

We’ve all had those items sitting around our houses, you know the ones, that we’ve either out grown or never used for various reasons.

That pair of pants your kid out grew because of that mid-summer growth spurt, or that top we bought cause we just knew we were going loose that extra 10 pounds before the summer.  Each season we move our clothes from the closet to the basement, knowing full well, that when next season rolls around, we’ll just put them back in our closets, awaiting their next rotation to the basement.

While some of us never let anything go, others of us decide that we no longer want to keep bring the items up and down the flight of stairs, and decide to get rid of them.  Most of us who do decide to get rid of those items, are faced with a choice, do we donate them to our local nonprofit organization, or do we try and make some money off of them.  Depending upon the answer to that question, we have a few different options as to how to proceed.  Some of us decided to go the donation route and find the nearest drop box or location, and simply leave the items there.  For those of us who decide to opt for the cash, we have to track down the closest consignment shop and attempt to have them sell our items, for a price of course.

While most people know the difference between a consignment shop and a thrift store, let’s take a moment to take a look at the difference between the two.  A consignment shop is a business which sells second hand merchandise, whether it be clothing, jewelry, decorations, or any other item that they feel they can make money off of, which is still in good enough condition that someone else may have use for it. The consignment shop takes a cut of the money, in a normal situation, the consignment store owner takes 60 % of the proceeds and 40 % goes to the person that owns the merchandise.

A thrift store on the other hand, is most normally a not for profit company, in which the items that it sells, which are fairly similar items to a consignment shops’ merchandise, have been donated to the company, free and clear.  These items have been given to the nonprofit, and any profits from the sale of the items go to the owner of the store in its entirety.  The monies raised from the sales, most often go to assist the general public through various projects, grants, or allotments they provide for the local community. There are many different companies which operate thrift stores, and we have many places to choose from.  That’s purely a choice of preference, so no need to discuss them all here.

Now that we’ve decided to let go of things, and decided which option is best for us, we take our things to either of these locations and call it a day.  As you can imagine, these facilities can become over run with inventory, and depending upon the season, they may have items that will sit for months before ever being put back out on the shelf.  A thrift store will hold on to items as long as they take to sell, whether it be 2 weeks, or 2 years.  A consignment shop operates a little differently, and attempts to sell your items for a pre-determined amount of time, and then either you will be responsible to pick them back up, or they will donate them.  Some items though, the consignment shop will hold onto for as long as it takes, if they know it’s an item that can be profitable if the right buyer comes along.

One similarity between the two different types of stores is location.  Both need to be in a high traffic and high visibility setting.  Many of these stores are found in some sort of a plaza setting, meaning it’s a store front with minimal storage space in the back room, nowhere near what a department store would have.  Most plazas charge rent based on the square footage of the store, meaning that the shop owner would want to have as much of a sales floor as possible, to allow for a greater space for inventory to be viewable by the public.  With that being the case, they have to use what little back room space they have for that season’s clothes or decorations that they can put out on the sales floor, once other items sell.  Also, the items in the backroom, would more than likely be items usable during the current season, and would be rotated every few weeks to give the store a fresh look while keeping in season.  If the store only would want to keep items for the current season on hand, what can they do with the other quality merchandise they have?  That’s where we come in.

While the cost per square foot of a store front in a plaza can range in price, regardless of the cost, it will be at least 3 to 4 times the cost of renting that exact same amount of square footage, here with us.  Any business these days, whether it be a small business owner looking to make a profit or a nonprofit group looking for ways to make money for the community, they’re all concerned with the bottom line, meaning that they’re mostly concerned with the overall profitability of their venture.  The greater overall profit they make means the more money in their pockets, or in the neighborhoods various community programs.  There are few easier ways to increase the profit of a business, then to cut down on expenses.  If by renting a self storage unit they can increase their profits, while still being able to keep their merchandise safe and secure, I know many of them would jump at the chance, and do.

A self storage unit is a great way to keep their inventory, and not be forced to purge goods at the change of a season because they have no room for new items in their stores.  Many of our tenants who operate stores set their storage units up just as if it were the backroom of their store.  They put temporary racks to hold the clothing, as well as shelving to keep everything neat and organized to be removed for sale at a moment’s notice

Besides the obvious reason of storage, many of our thrift and consignment shop owners use our facilities as a place to shop and get new merchandise.  It is true most storage facilities have an auction every month that is open to the public. These store owners may come in and bid on units so that they have more quality item to put in their stores to sell. In most case, if someone is willing to spend the money to store the items, they must be of some monetary value.  Many of our shop owners, turn around and rent that very same unit they just bought at the auction.  This allows them to go through the items over time without having to take everything back to the store.  This is a win – win situation for them.  They gain new inventory for their stores, while saving on the labor costs of having to move everything to and from the store.

Now that you’ve seen the benefits of storing your thrift store and consignment shop merchandise with a self storage facility, i.e. the cost, ease, security, and other benefits , why wouldn’t you keep your items here with us at The Storage Station.

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Source: http://www.storagestations.com/blog/thrift-shops-consignment-stores-owners-were-here-to-help-you/

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Goodbye, My House, Part I

This re-post from 2010 kicks off a series of new posts by our editor, Nancy Kibbee, who has left her home of 15 years and moved into an apartment. This series will explore the natural and unnatural interior furnishings and finishes, access to planet-friendly activities such as recycling, and the level of people- and planet-friendly interest property managers and developers have, or have not, achieved as of 2014 — more than a decade after the U.S. green building push began. The title of the following re-post is:

Lessons My Flooring Taught Me

003My father always said that a wise person learns from the mistakes of others. But what happens when you don’t know anyone who made the mistake you’re about to make, and you don’t know you’re about to make a mistake?

When I hired a flooring company to install solid strip hardwood flooring in 1998, I was not yet working in the flooring industry. How was I supposed to know to ask about the chemical emissions that would fill the house when they finished the floor with a toxic, oil-based polyurethane?

Okay, some people would argue that I should have investigated when the installer mentioned he had liver damage, and assigned the cause to his profession. He did not expound about finishes or less-toxic, water-based options. So, I assumed he was talking about a different liquid all together.

Lesson No. 1: Low-VOC might be a catch-all, inaccurate buzzword, but it’s still the best indicator we have in choosing polyurethane finishes. Pay attention!

Lesson No. 2: No one was talking about FSC-certified or sustainably harvested  hardwood when we bought this floor in 1998. Today, it is somewhat inexcusable not to inquire whether your wood was sustainably harvested.

Despite the odor from the noxious polyurethane that took about three months to go away, this site-finished, hardwood floor proved to be indestructible. Three-year-old children — pushing Tonka trucks, missing the paper when it was time to draw with crayons and, yes, sometimes wearing their roller blades into the kitchen when I called them inside — were unable to damage the floor.030

But we were challenged to learn again when winter came in 1999. The floor began to shrink. Tiny spaces between each board appeared. Dirt began to collect between them. By this time, my research about non-toxic floor finishes had led me into starting a “green” flooring distribution business. I had read enough to know what happens to wood in winter.  I called in our furnace company. Yes, the humidifier needed to be replaced.

Lesson No. 3: Always maintain recommended humidity levels.

With the new humidifier running, the flooring boards, amazingly, expanded back into place. Life briefly returned to normal. We added a Labrador to our family, which meant more dirt tracked in from the yard and more vacuuming because of the shedding. My husband was busy at work, our son had started  school, and I was trying to build a business.  We also had begun to accommodate frequent six-hour drives out of state to help my mother, who had been diagnosed with cancer. My house was not in order. It was time to hire a cleaning person. The first thing I told her was to never leave water on the floor. But old habits die hard.

Lesson No. 4: Clean hardwood floors with a flat, microfiber mop sprayed with a hardwood floor cleaner or white vinegar and water solution. Do not use a bucket and mop or sponge and leave water sitting on the floor.

By then, my son, now six, was too big to skate into the kitchen. Had he done so, he would have noticed the problem first as the floor would have made him fall. The floor was cupping. It had expanded because of the moisture left on it, so the edges of each board were curling upward. I turned off the humidifier and dried out the house to no avail.

A great thing about square-edged, site-finished hardwood is that it can be sanded, flattened out and refinished. This time, I called a company that knew what it was doing, and ironically, for which I now work.

Lesson No. 5: Schumacher & Co. Custom Hardwood Floors was working with one low-VOC finish at that time. This waterborne finish was very low odor, and the repair was beautiful. But, because the lessons were not finished yet, we would be using it again.

This very matte finish that does not show scratches was in for a test. My mother had died, my dad needed help, and the frequent drives out of state to his home continued. He wanted to sell his house. It needed painting.  We did it. He did not like taking long drives alone, so we drove him to appointments in Iowa and elsewhere. Miraculously, my business also was skyrocketing, I often had the office phone on forward to cell, I was constantly stressed out. And while everything in my Dad’s life was under control, I struggled to manage, and  my home — and my  floor — were often neglected.001

My dad finally moved in with us, and when his home sold, the movers arrived. The belongings he had  left, despite his attempts to sort, give them away or sell them, now had to be stored somewhere. So in the movers came, it seemed like a hundred times, through the door, across the wood floor and into the basement. The assortment of belongings and furniture would be pulled out and moved and sorted again later when my dad moved into to a retirement community.

Despite the traffic and neglect, our floor remained strong and resilient. My husband commented many times that the first floor was so attractive and durable that we needed to install wood treads on the stairs and get rid of the carpet on the stairs and second floor.

But my gut said not to spend this money. The suggestion of changing the stairs would always trigger the memory of my son, when he was small, having fun sliding down them on his rear end, or crouching on the landing in the dark on Christmas Eve, thinking we did not see him, as he tried to catch a glimpse of Santa.  The carpeted stairs were staying. End of debate.

Lesson No. 6: And that was a good decision. In 2005  my Dad stumbled on the stairs and fell. Fortunately, he landed on the landing’s soft, padded carpet. That carpet had lived its useful life by 2008. We put in another – this one  chemical-free and biodegradable, but it will pad a fall just the same. I am fairly certain that the installation company took the old carpet to be recycled. But I did not take a moment from my hectic schedule to make sure of that. Shame on me!

The lessons I could learn from my flooring reached the peak, I hope, in 2009, when I arrived home from work to hear a very slight hissing sound in the kitchen. Nothing appeared out of order and there was no time to investigate because I had to pick up my son from tennis practice. By the time we got home, there was a loud hissing noise in the kitchen, and a flood under the refrigerator, pantry and oven, that was flowing toward the dining room and through the floor into the basement.

Amazingly, our floor would be successfully repaired again. Of course, we had to pull out the refrigerator that needed a new water line, all of the cabinets and nine rows of flooring. And we replaced the water-soaked drywall and sub-flooring.

Lesson No. 7: An antimicrobial treatment on the sub-floor, which was not available in 1998, would have made a lot of sense, especially in areas where there is plumbing that is going to leak at some point. This technology kills mildew and mold, and provides a lasting, protective barrier as long as it is not abraded. It off-gasses no chemicals after it dries, and your family doesn’t touch it because it is under the floor.

It occurs to me now that this floor, which likely will outlast me, holds all of my good and bad memories from the past decade.  Some of the bad ones could have been avoided had more flooring companies with expertise in healthy indoor air quality existed when this story began.

Some have advanced today, and I remind myself of this and all of my good memories daily.

Lesson No. 8:  As for the mistakes, I can only strive not to repeat them. As for not having the wisdom to have learned from others before making the mistakes my own, I can only compensate by putting them out there for someone else to learn from.

Since this time, Schumacher & Co. and sister company, Carpetland Carpet One, both in Greater Cincinnati, have joined the Natural Interiors® program and have tested and begun using a complete line of low- and zero VOC finishes, including natural oil. Schumacher also does hardwood installation and finishing for sister companies Buddy’s Flooring America and ProSource Wholesale Floorcoverings of Cincinnati. Call us at 513-200-9471 or email me at nkibbee@kwflooring.com if you have questions or want further information.

As someone who has worked in people- and planet-friendly products, which I always made sure my house contained, since 2000, I will have a lot to share with you over the coming weeks as I now live in a building I do not control. Please come back, read and comment.

Nancy Kibbee is Editor at www.naturalinteriors.com.

Source: http://www.naturalinteriors.com/2014/03/goodbye-my-house-part-i/

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Take Care of the Customer


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Property managers are more than happy to help the everyday storage customer any way they needed it. Not every customer can be helped, but a good property manager will give a valiant effort and do what they can in order to take care of the customer. That is the name of the game, taking care of the customer. If you are in the position of property manager and customers walk out of the store unhappy, you are at fault. There are currently property managers in the self storage industry that will consistently turn away a ready to rent customer. They have to weeded out and terminated. Why though would a manager treat a customer that way?

As a property manager you have to do your best in order to get customers to rent with you. The more people that rent with you, the better you look and people will start to realize how great of a facility you have. The more you help a person the more the word will spread. Some managers will say that it is not a hard task to rent to people. The people walk into their facility and say that they need storage and the manager finds what they need then rents them a space. Some managers are very good about renting spaces to people who walk in their door.

Many people say that customer service is lost and no one has great customer service any more. That can not be further from the truth. In the self storage industry some property managers say that having great customer service over their competition wins them customers. If you look at other companies some will not take the time to do different things in terms of how they treat the customer. Some places might not even acknowledge the customer just walked in the door. How can you expect to get more people to rent with you if you can’t even say hi as they walk into your establishment?

Customers pick up on how they are treated in a self storage facility. They just want to be treated the way they feel they deserve. Now there are some companies that decide to take it too far and might go over the top when it comes to their service. They also have the possibility of scaring people off. No customer wants ridiculous service when they just simply want a storage space. We need to make sure that we just are doing as the customer wants and sometimes go above and beyond to ensure they know they are getting taken care of. Property managers make sure that they are fulfilling any promise to the customer. That will get you the most recognition when you follow through with what you told them. Customers will find out about your facility from all kinds of different ways. Now that they found you and they meet you, it’s time to razzle dazzle them. Of course do not be fake and just show them what makes your company stand out over theirs.

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Source: http://www.propertymanagementblog.com/take-care-of-the-customer/

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How to Leverage Youtube's new comment system for your self storage business

Since purchasing YouTube in 2006, Google has been searching for ways to integrate the video sharing service into its other products. Its latest attempt comes in the form of the new comment feature on YouTube which forces people to use a profile in order to leave a comment. If you use YouTube to make videos to market your self storage facility, then this new update will certainly have an impact on your channel.

Google has been telling YouTube users about the new comment feature for months but this hasn’t stopped a bit of a backlash at the new system. Before the recent update, users were free to leave anonymous comments on YouTube videos. However, Google is pushing for the use of real names, or at least names associated with a profile.

Many content creators on YouTube have complained that since the introduction of the new commenting system, there has been a decline in the number of comments and engagement on their channels. This could potentially adversely affect the YouTube channel for your self storage business. The whole point of using video to engage self storage customers is to not only provide an idea of what your facility looks like and its amenities, but also to capture their feedback. If the new comment system hinders customers from leaving feedback, then this will be a problem.

The widespread opposition to the YouTube and merger is rooted in the fact that anonymity will be a little harder. While there are workarounds – such as creating a separate account under another identity – the crux of the issue is that it provides a great hurdle to anonymous commenting. However, there is an opportunity for you to use this to help in self storage marketing efforts. If you know the identities of the people who comment, then it is easier to follow-up on both positive and negative comments to provide a more personalized experience.

There is also an opportunity to further engage audiences by using the Google+ platform. If your self storage business has an existing page, link it to YouTube and use it while commenting. By doing so, every time you leave a comment on a YouTube video, there is the opportunity for someone to click on your profile and get led back to your page, which should include a link to your self storage website.

Despite how the new comment system has been received, the rationale behind its introduction was to spark conversation. Keeping this in mind, try to revise your content and make it more engaging. For instance, instead of a video that simply showcases your self storage property, you could ask viewers to provide feedback on the things areas they like on your property. By doing so, you are engaging the audience instead of just pushing out content one-way.

The best way to start making the new comment system work for you is to get familiarized on using to market your self storage business. Once you have a completed"> profile, then you will be better able to use all its features to make your self storage facility stand out online from the rest of the competition.

Source: http://usselfstoragelocator.com/blog_posts/410-how-to-leverage-youtube-s-new-comment-system-for-your-self-storage-business

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“There Is Always a Way”

Click here to view the embedded video.

Interface Flooring says it will achieve “Mission Zero” by 2020

In the beginning, even some experts said nylon carpet could not be recycled. Today, nylon recycling is booming. So are industry efforts toward carbon and water reduction. This video, from Interface Flooring, highlights some of the achievements, in addition to the company’s progress toward “Mission Zero.”

Hopefully, achievements like this can help industry leaders devise ways to recycle polyester (PET) carpet, which now accounts for 30 percent of discarded carpet that is headed for landfills. Learn more about this from the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE).

Source: http://www.naturalinteriors.com/2014/04/there-is-always-a-way/

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What’s included in Homeowner’s Insurance?

When moving into a new home, it is good to understand what’s included in your homeowner’s insurance. As a new homeowner or an existing homeowner that’s relocating, you are faced with the decision of having a standard policy or add riders for extra protection. Knowing the basics on what is automatically covered and what isn’t covered is key. If you have a condominium or a renter’s policy, you should know the differences as well.

These are the basic provisions in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy:

  • Property insurance
  • Personal liability

Standard homeowner’s insurance policies are usually referred to as HO-3, based on the form in which the policy is written. HO-2 is a cheaper homeowner’s policy, and an HO-1 is the minimum you can possibly have. HO-6 is for condominiums, and HO-4 is a renter’s insurance policy.

The HO-3 (standard) covers structural damage and personal property damage caused by a variety of things such as theft, snow, minor water damage, falling objects, smoke, fires and windstorm occurrences. In the event something happens and you have to place your possessions into a self-storage facility, chances are that the coverage extends to those items.

The personal liability clause covers the liability in the event someone gets hurt on your property, or someone in your family has an accident on your property. Having this insurance is very important and can protect you in the event of a lawsuit.

You should research your policy to see what is not covered. Generally, flood insurance is not included unless you live in a flood zone, at which time the mortgage company will usually require it as part of your policy. Earthquakes are also not covered, so if you live in an area that is known to have earthquakes, you may want to add this to your general policy.

Understand that if you have to exercise your policy, your items will be covered for their value and not what you paid for them. If you have recently bought items, having receipts available can get you more money in your settlement. If you have expensive items such as jewelry, paintings or other precious valuables, you want to get an addendum to your policy that will give you additional coverage. Your standard homeowner’s insurance carries a certain amount of coverage and won’t have enough of a threshold to cover the replacement value.

Living expenses in the event you have to move out while your home is being repaired may or may not be covered. In most instances, the coverage is not enough to cover an entire family’s expenses for an extended period of time. This will also be an added rider to your policy to make sure these things are covered. If you live in a flood zone or earthquake prone area, you want to be sure to get these additions in place.

Reading your policy thoroughly to know what type of coverage you have will allow you to make informed decisions moving forward in protecting your home and family.

Source: http://usselfstoragelocator.com/blog_posts/394-whats-included-in-homeowners-insurance

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My Own Little Shop: Bachman’s Antiques and Used Furniture

When I was little, I always wanted to own a store.  We would play “Store” in the garage and have the neighborhood kids come over and “buy” all of our “wares.”  They would use monopoly money for their purchases and we would give them rocks for change.  We had paper bags and aprons and a big feather duster that we used to keep our shelves all spiffy. Then the next-door kid, Donny, would come over and, in a rude voice, ask for something that we didn’t have.  He would insist that we must go get it and when we told him to “Get Outta here," our store in the garage would disintegrate into a mass of little kids rolling around on the ground in some kind of wrestling match.  “Donny ruined our store,” we would wail and our mother would come out and say “Enough now, go and play school.” We would all then realign the store stuff into neat aisles with the “cash register" turning into the “teacher desk,” and Donny would have to sit in the back of the room in time out.

 

This was my Idea of owning a little shop.

 

Over the years, I have shopped all over the world. I have shopped in huge famous shops,

 

Tiny tucked away shops; bookshops.

 

Food shops, baby shops, clothing shops, music shops.

 

But my favorites have always been the junk shops.

 

These venues always seemed to be on the fringe of design and décor.

 

They were usually cluttered and dusty.  Their lighting was dim where even a title of a book was hard to decipher. And they had that damp musty smell of ancient ancestors calling out your name! “Come buy me!” the dishes and albums and books and paintings would call.

 

Well, I found one of these “Dream” shops right here in the town I live in!!!

 

bachmans

Bachman's

It is hard to find these particular shops full of treasures and clutter here in Florida, Most are filled with Designer clothes and Outlet prices.  They are located in tan strip malls made of cinderblock and stucco. Not much for the imagination, but they draw throngs of shoppers off the highways who are coming to our State for the warmth, beaches and entertainment.

 

Bachman's Antiques-Used Furniture now has its third generation of family working the counter of their shop.  All 7000 square feet of it is cluttered and dusty,

But, well organized and set up in such a way that you, the shopper, linger in a section, afraid that you might miss some hidden item. There is jewelry and dishes.

bachmans china bachman mugs bachmans color dishes bachman glassware bachmans white glassware

Books, crystal, chandeliers, armoires, couches, and dining sets.

 

bachmans chandelieres bachman books bachman books bachmans furniture bachman furniture bachman chairs bachman armoire

There is everything to dress an entire house but also enough to appease the collector and antique hunter.

 

The Bachman family came from south Florida nearly 30 years ago.  They had owned a used furniture store near Fort Lauderdale. They sold that store and decided to move north and begin anew. At the time that they landed here, our community was made up mostly of dirt roads to the beach and a house every so often.  Bunnell was an old farming community 8 miles inland. But it was settled and small and safe.  Bill Bachman had lined up a job, but the used furniture business was in his blood and he never took the job offer.  Instead, he and his mother started going to yard sales and auctions and passing the word that the family was opening a used furniture store. Within a few months, the Bachman Family had filled the newly built space with items they had bought from flea markets and garage sales.  Soon, enough, others started stopping by asking Bill or his mother for a bid on things left in a home where a relative had passed.  Suddenly they were in the estate sale business.

 

Over the next 30 years, the community grew.  The roads were paved and houses and schools were built and Bill’s business was growing. He added the U haul truck service and he took on boats and campers to buy and sell.  Restaurant equipment took up a section and so did building materials.  Bill kept with the original strategy of offering a fair price both to the buyer and the seller and his reputation grew.  Today, Bill’s brother Bruce works with him and their mother is still a presence at the shop.  Trucks come in almost daily hauling new items and all members of the family do research and sales on line and are always on top of their business looking for pricing points, history and trends.  They do not carry clothes or mattresses or children’s items. Furniture, knick-knacks and collectibles are their forte and they are good at it!

 

Bruce said that everyone that comes in the store is interesting and has a story and usually so do the items they would like to sell.  No two days are alike and each one poses a new challenge both good and bad.  But, it is about being in business for yourself; It is about the creative edge of business development: It is about making your own rules and your own future and your own bottom line.

 

bill and kim bachman

 

 

When I think about the Garage Store of my youth, it brings fond memories. To have this little space, full of knick-knacks you have purchased and arranged into displays that customers oooh and ahhh at each little setup; to be able to sell these items and make a living talking to customers, buying new cute trinkets to fill the space; to take the big feather duster and clean and straighten your shop to a pristine shine, Well...it seems like the Perfect job!!!!  I have begun to look over my Garage and wonder about its possibilities!!  I am also curious as to whether Donny is available to work on Saturdays!

 

Amy's Heart

-Amy

Source: https://www.storageunitauctionlist.com/blog/my-own-little-shop-bachmans-antiques-and-used-furniture/

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Apartment Therapy - Designs That Maximize Storage

When you live in an apartment, having storage is a precious commodity. There are a number of ways to have a beautiful space while utilizing options that will keep your possessions out of sight and orderly. One of the ways that you can maximize space in an apartment is by getting a self-storage unit, but that may not be an option for you. That’s when you should consider your apartment as a climate-controlled storage unit where you will be able to keep your things organized and neat.

Utilizing storage containers is a viable option, as well as incorporating design that will enhance your space. Attractive design basics are important to remember when you are short on space but want a place that is aesthetically beautiful. There are many professional organizers or design professionals that can help you take your ideas to the next level. With so many storage options in furniture, you can have a room filled with things that won’t be seen at all. Utilizing venues like HGTV or videos that can help you maximize storage spaces will also work wonders when you are considering making changes. Here are a few storage suggestions for furniture that work really well:

  • Window seats
  • Storage Ottomans
  • Storage Headboards
  • Multipurpose boxes in different shapes and sizes

Utilizing the free resources that are available can save you time and money. Unless you own your apartment, you don’t want to make such significant changes or investments that won’t give you a good return. Make a list of the things you want to achieve in your design and then find ways to incorporate them while using creative ideas for storage. Unconventional places for storage can be found in any apartment – you just have to be willing to put in the work and use your imagination to achieve your goal.

Here are a few additional design tips:

  • Instead of arranging things on the floor, go up. Using floating furniture and shelves can work wonders and create an illusion of more room.
  • Use art or mirrors to detract from small spaces. Putting a mirror directly across from a window will reflect light and make your space seem a lot bigger.
  • Place shelving units near a window and use floor-to-ceiling curtains. You’ll hide your additional storage but will also create a useful focal point. Floor-to-ceiling curtains enhance the dramatic effect and draws the eye upward.
  • Keep it light – light colors enhance and give you a chance to use throw pillows or one wall for a pop of color that will brighten up the room. Small spaces work well with light colors that can be used as a canvas that adds variety.

Apartment living can be a challenge, but there are ways to make it work for you. IKEA is notorious for useful tips and furniture that can transform your apartment into a home while you’re there. Use your sense of style to make the space your own and watch your design come to life!

Source: http://usselfstoragelocator.com/blog_posts/513-apartment-therapy-designs-that-maximize-storage

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Бял апартамент във Варшава от Chalupko Design

Този светъл, позитивен и просторен апартамент се намира във Варшава, Полша. Continue reading

Source: http://bginteriorblogs.com/?p=41212

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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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How to Safely Move During the Winter

You may have found out that you were being transferred to another state or country, and it’s the middle of the winter. While moving can be quite a task, moving during the winter months can be especially challenging if you’re moving to a climate that has inclement weather conditions. Moving companies are aware of these challenges, and moving during the winter months can be significantly cheaper than if you move during the spring or summer when the weather is much better. It’s a good idea to know and understand the situations that can occur so you will be fully prepared.

Prior to your moving day, you should take the time to prep your area:

  • Make sure you have electricity and heat for both your old and new place.
  • Make sure all snow and debris is cleared from walkways. If there is ice, make sure to salt or sand the areas of traffic.
  • Make sure you have shovels to clear new areas that may need clearing.
  • Be aware of the weather report for the day.

If moving yourself, make sure your truck has the following:

  • Snow tires
  • Chains
  • Extra liability insurance
  • Flares

Even if you can call the truck company and tow you in the event you run into harsh weather conditions or hit a ditch, it’s good to have these things on hand, especially the flares. If your emergency is at night, flares will help the company locate you faster and will alert other drivers on the road to steer clear.

Make sure you have:

  • Map
  • Blankets
  • Flashlights
  • Food
  • Water
  • Take-away box

If you are using a moving company, make sure they have adequate insurance to cover your belongings. Additionally, find out their policies for inclement weather, and whether or not you will be liable for any delays. Reputable moving companies take the time to formulate a plan with their customers in regards to what happens in the event of bad weather.

You may have a self-storage facility that you are transferring items to. Call ahead and make sure the weather permits moves to occur on that day, and ask the facility if they have sand or salt on their walkways.

It’s good to have a back-up plan in the event a storm comes through and you cannot move your things. Check with the moving company to see their policies on inclement weather. If you’re conducting the move yourself, find out the policies for handling the truck and the penalties imposed if you do not return it in the time allotted due to weather conditions.

Properly planning your move during the winter can assist in dealing with inclement weather conditions. Although difficult, moving during the winter is not impossible. Doing your homework and knowing the best routes to take that will avoid traffic and get you and your belongings to your new place of residence can save you a lot of time and money. Check rates and compare prices for moving companies and do-it-yourself companies to see how you will fare price wise. Good luck on your move.

Source: http://usselfstoragelocator.com/blog_posts/404-how-to-safely-move-during-the-winter

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How to Safely Move During the Winter

You may have found out that you were being transferred to another state or country, and it’s the middle of the winter. While moving can be quite a task, moving during the winter months can be especially challenging if you’re moving to a climate that has inclement weather conditions. Moving companies are aware of these challenges, and moving during the winter months can be significantly cheaper than if you move during the spring or summer when the weather is much better. It’s a good idea to know and understand the situations that can occur so you will be fully prepared.

Prior to your moving day, you should take the time to prep your area:

  • Make sure you have electricity and heat for both your old and new place.
  • Make sure all snow and debris is cleared from walkways. If there is ice, make sure to salt or sand the areas of traffic.
  • Make sure you have shovels to clear new areas that may need clearing.
  • Be aware of the weather report for the day.

If moving yourself, make sure your truck has the following:

  • Snow tires
  • Chains
  • Extra liability insurance
  • Flares

Even if you can call the truck company and tow you in the event you run into harsh weather conditions or hit a ditch, it’s good to have these things on hand, especially the flares. If your emergency is at night, flares will help the company locate you faster and will alert other drivers on the road to steer clear.

Make sure you have:

  • Map
  • Blankets
  • Flashlights
  • Food
  • Water
  • Take-away box

If you are using a moving company, make sure they have adequate insurance to cover your belongings. Additionally, find out their policies for inclement weather, and whether or not you will be liable for any delays. Reputable moving companies take the time to formulate a plan with their customers in regards to what happens in the event of bad weather.

You may have a self-storage facility that you are transferring items to. Call ahead and make sure the weather permits moves to occur on that day, and ask the facility if they have sand or salt on their walkways.

It’s good to have a back-up plan in the event a storm comes through and you cannot move your things. Check with the moving company to see their policies on inclement weather. If you’re conducting the move yourself, find out the policies for handling the truck and the penalties imposed if you do not return it in the time allotted due to weather conditions.

Properly planning your move during the winter can assist in dealing with inclement weather conditions. Although difficult, moving during the winter is not impossible. Doing your homework and knowing the best routes to take that will avoid traffic and get you and your belongings to your new place of residence can save you a lot of time and money. Check rates and compare prices for moving companies and do-it-yourself companies to see how you will fare price wise. Good luck on your move.

Source: http://usselfstoragelocator.com/blog_posts/404-how-to-safely-move-during-the-winter

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Winter’s Over – Properly Store Your Things

When the winter season is over, there is usually a great sigh of relief, especially if it was a harsh winter. Although this time of year is done, you need to make sure you properly store your items so that they will be in good condition when the winter season rolls back around. Good preparation in storing your items will make a huge difference when it’s time to pull your things out. By taking a little prep-time, you will thank yourself later.

Here are a few simple tips:

Keep everything together: This may mean storing your items in one room or in boxes or containers in a self-storage facility.

Clean before your store your items: Make sure you clean all your boots, sweaters and other items to make sure there are no stains. Mend any tears or items that need buttons as well. Cleaning your leather jackets and other outerwear is also a good idea since your items will be stored for a few months. You may want to take those items to a professional dry cleaner before storing them.

Choose the right storage method: Using plastic is a bad idea, as it traps moisture. Try using plastic storage containers or luggage to keep your items in good condition. Although you may want to use cardboard boxes, make sure your items will only be stored in them for a few months. Storage in boxes should only be temporary, especially when packing leather goods. Keep like items together. Delicates should be packed together, overcoats and boots should be packed together, sweaters with sweaters, pants with pants, etc. This will make it easier to find your items when you need them. Make sure your containers are air-tight and do not overstuff. You may want to place a fabric softener sheet in your containers to maintain a fresh smell. You may want to use a wardrobe box to hang up your jackets and overcoats to keep the shape.

Use the right storage options: This will make a big difference in how your clothing is preserved. If using a self-storage unit, climate-controlled options work best, as they will keep your clothing at room temperature and keep out moisture. College students use student storage which is also usually climate-controlled to keep their items secure. If you are storing your items in a garage or basement, be careful of the humidity that may affect your clothing. Location makes a big difference.

Taking the time to properly store your winter clothing preserves your items for a long time. Winter clothing can be very expensive, depending on how cold of a climate you live in, and keeping your items in good condition can save you quite a bit of money over time. It is much cheaper to replace a sweater or pair of pants than it is to replace a warm overcoat.

These are a few useful tips that will help you, and others that will get you through those winter months. Good luck!

Source: http://usselfstoragelocator.com/blog_posts/518-winters-over-properly-store-your-things

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Self Storage Counselors


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People go to college for many years to become counselors. These people really want to be able to help those that are in need. They want to be able to help turn the hard, emotional life of a person around for the better. They stay deep in the books and they do a lot of research to be able to speak into the life of a person that is going through some dramatic and hard times. Counselors know that people will come to them with their concerns and they feel they must find a way to help them out. Many get involved in counseling where other people get involved in counseling for the money potential. It would seem though that people find other methods in order to get their problems off of their chest without paying a counselor.
I spoke with someone who was in an unfortunate situation due to some recent hard times. She was very tight on money and needed to move from her current living situation immediately. She did not know how she was going to pay for everything. I told her I would try to get her the best possible deal.  I found her an inexpensive unit that included the first month for rent free of charge. She only had to come up with about twenty five dollars to get moved in to a large unit. That just made it that much easier for her to pay for a few other things that were greatly needed. She was so happy she was crying.
Sometimes when a customer calls in they have a situation that they do not know how to solve. With that said, some property managers actually become counselors because they are there to listen, help and make suggestions for the customer. When the customer realizes that the property manager knows what they are talking about, they will be more than happy to take their advice and their suggestions. Usually you will find that the customer will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Property managers have helped so many people in the self storage industry not just with self storage, but also with their situation. It would seem as if most self storage property managers are self storage counselors.

People go to college for many years to become counselors. These people really want to be able to help those that are in need. They want to be able to help turn the hard, emotional life of a person around for the better. They stay deep in the books and they do a lot of research to be able to speak into the life of a person that is going through some dramatic and hard times. Counselors know that people will come to them with their concerns and they feel they must find a way to help them out. Many get involved in counseling where other people get involved in counseling for the money potential. It would seem though that people find other methods in order to get their problems off of their chest without paying a counselor.

I spoke with someone who was in an unfortunate situation due to some recent hard times. She was very tight on money and needed to move from her current living situation immediately. She did not know how she was going to pay for everything. I told her I would try to get her the best possible deal.  I found her an inexpensive unit that included the first month for rent free of charge. She only had to come up with about twenty five dollars to get moved in to a large unit. That just made it that much easier for her to pay for a few other things that were greatly needed. She was so happy she was crying.

Sometimes when a customer calls in they have a situation that they do not know how to solve. With that said, some property managers actually become counselors because they are there to listen, help and make suggestions for the customer. When the customer realizes that the property manager knows what they are talking about, they will be more than happy to take their advice and their suggestions. Usually you will find that the customer will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Property managers have helped so many people in the self storage industry not just with self storage, but also with their situation. It would seem as if most self storage property managers are self storage counselors.

People go to college for many years to become counselors. These people really want to be able to help those that are in need. They want to be able to help turn the hard, emotional life of a person around for the better. They stay deep in the books and they do a lot of research to be able to speak into the life of a person that is going through some dramatic and hard times. Counselors know that people will come to them with their concerns and they feel they must find a way to help them out. Many get involved in counseling where other people get involved in counseling for the money potential. It would seem though that people find other methods in order to get their problems off of their chest without paying a counselor.

I spoke with someone who was in an unfortunate situation due to some recent hard times. She was very tight on money and needed to move from her current living situation immediately. She did not know how she was going to pay for everything. I told her I would try to get her the best possible deal.  I found her an inexpensive unit that included the first month for rent free of charge. She only had to come up with about twenty five dollars to get moved in to a large unit. That just made it that much easier for her to pay for a few other things that were greatly needed. She was so happy she was crying.

Sometimes when a customer calls in they have a situation that they do not know how to solve. With that said, some property managers actually become counselors because they are there to listen, help and make suggestions for the customer. When the customer realizes that the property manager knows what they are talking about, they will be more than happy to take their advice and their suggestions. Usually you will find that the customer will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Property managers have helped so many people in the self storage industry not just with self storage, but also with their situation. It would seem as if most self storage property managers are self storage counselors.

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Source: http://www.propertymanagementblog.com/self-storage-counselors/

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