Less Stress, More Money in Self Storage, Part 3

November 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Generally, most would agree that education is a good thing. I believe this to be very true when it comes to self storage.

While to many self storage may appear to be a simple business, it is actually very complex. To make it work without overwhelming stress can be very difficult.

Continuing education, both for operators and their staff, creates knowledge. In turn, this knowledge creates certainty in your operations. Certainty, in turn, reduces stress. (Just ask anyone on Wall Street and they will tell you that markets thrive on certainty).

Therefore, I recommend that operators engage in a systematic program of educating themselves and their employees. Operations, marketing, general business practices, sales, technology, finance, the characteristics of your market — these are all fruitful areas for continuing education. Technology is a very important area because it changes so quickly nowadays — and it has such an impact upon so many facets of your business.

One area, I believe, deserves particular focus. Unfortunately, it is an area that is often overlooked. This involves the state laws that govern the way that self storage acts in the marketplace.

As I will discuss in a later post, self storage, through its lien laws, has been given a gift. Unlike a traditional landlord who has to go to court to evict a tenant, self storage operators have been blessed with non-judicial enforcement of their self storage liens. You can lock out a tenant for non-payment of rent and sell their goods at auction without having to go to court. Less time, less money, less stress. But operators need to be intimately familiar with the way this process works.

To do this, I recommend that every operator obtain a current copy of their state’s lien law, including any special regulations, such as those pertaining to motor vehicles and boats. Study these laws. Learn how the process works. Commit them to memory. If you cannot figure it out, consult with your local attorney until you understand it.

Then, pass along this information to your staff. They are the ones who will be using it on a daily basis. If you are comfortable that they know what they can do, and not do, that will save headaches later. Less headaches means less stress and more money.

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