Less Stress, More Money in Self Storage, Part 1

October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Recently, I announced that I would provide a ten-part low-tech plan to reduce stress as a self storage operator, resulting in increased satisfaction and, hopefully, more money.

Here goes with Part 1: Protect Your Status as a Non-bailee.

As recently as 40 years ago, consumers wishing to store goods offsite did so at a warehouse. The customer turned their goods over to the latter’s custody. They were stored under the care, custody and control of the warehouse. If the goods were lost or damaged, the liability lay with the warehouse. i.e. a bailment.

The self storage industry was founded from a basic desire to provide an alternative where the liability for the goods remained with the tenant, so to speak, not the warehouse operator. Thus, self storage was born. Rather than turn care, custody and control of the goods to the warehouse, the tenant remained in control. He or she placed a lock on the storage unit and retained the key.

A good way to understand the difference is to consider valet parking, where you leave your car and keys with the attendant versus self storage. If the attendant damages your car, they pay; if your tenant has damage to their property, hopefully, you do not pay.

Therefore, Rule 1: Protect your status as a non-bailee. How?

First, be sure that this idea is clearly set out in your rental agreement. State that no bailment is created and that the care, custody and control of the stored goods always remains solely with the tenant.

Second, do not engage in behavior that would re-establish a bailment after the fact. For example, limit your ability to enter the unit without permission to real emergencies. If you want to enter to perform routine maintenance, get permission first. Do not accept deliveries for tenants and volunteer to place them in the unit. Develop a separate delivery authorization agreement that re-states your non-bailee status and set up a holding area for deliveries where tenants can collect them and place them after-the-fact in their units themselves.

Third, be sure that in the case of delinquent tenants, you do not risk your non-bailee status until the lien process is complete and you have authority under state law to enter the unit and dispose of the property via auction.

Question: do over-locks jeorpardize your non-bailee status? My opinion is that they do not because only a stalemate is created. Your access is no better than the tenant’s at this stage. Your tenant my be denied access, but you do not gain anything new. Their lock still protects their property.

Your status as a non-bailee is a crucial part of your self storage business. Protect it; don’t overlook it.

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Oops

October 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

I guess I am still learning, because my hyperlink did not work.

Go to pbsmartessentials.com and search for the article in Most Popular.

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Ways to promote your self storage website

October 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Recently, I have been creating a new website (no, it is not ready for prime time yet), blog, etc.

My focus has now turned to maximizing its exposure, because a website is no good if it cannot be found.

This link should help bring it all together.

10 Ways To Promote A Small Business Website


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Think self storage ads are boring? Think again!

October 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

This recent ad comes from a self storage company in Eastern Europe. Pretty cool, huh.

Simple Ways to Protect Your Business, Reduce Stress and Make More Money

October 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

In the self storage industry, there are a myriad of ways to protect your property and your business — some high tech, e.g. Individual door alarms, — some not so much.

I have come up with a list of ten low tech ideas that self storage operators can implement to make their daily life less stressful and earn more money.

Stay tuned for future blog posts where I will discuss each point in detail.

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Is America the Innovator? Or Elsewhere

October 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

According to the September, 2011 issue of WIRED magazine, UK edition, the top six cities in Europe for tech development and innovation are London, Paris, Stockholm, Tel Aviv, Moscow and Berlin. Other notable hotspots are Amsterdam, Barcelona, Helsinki and Tallinn.

Even more notable were comments contained in the Editor’s Note that “Some commentators dismiss Europe’s tech scene as packed with clones and copycats of successful American businesses… I don’t accept that … most of the companies that excited us at WIRED are original, disruptive and potentially global in scale.”

How about self storage? The US has a big head start. About 20 years, give or take. They lead Europe facilities by a factor of 10 — or more!

Are these European companies, or Asian ones for that matter, mere clones of American firms? I think not. Differences in business climate and consumer culture should yield different results.

I used to think that non-US companies could learn much from US firms. Probably, but how about the other way.

What do you think?

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Welcome to my Blog

October 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hello. Welcome to my blog.

My self storage company, U-Store Management is a pioneer in the self storage industry. It was in it’s infancy in 1976, the year I graduated from law school in New Orleans. Over the past 35 years I have participated in it’s growth to 9 facilities today.

At the same time, I have become experienced in legal matters related to self storage.

Today, self storage in the U.S. has become a mature industry with over 50,000 distinct facilities. Now, Europe and the rest of the developed world is where the potential for growth now lies. I want to share my knowledge to help propel that expansion.

At the same time, Americans have an opportunity to learn from their non-U.S. brethren. I want to participate in that process, too.

It should be fun!

Where Am I?

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