The Responsibilities of a Self-Storage Management Company
June 12, 2023
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What Can Self-Storage Management Companies Do For You?
Managing any property requires a great deal of time and attention on the part of its owner. For this reason, many landlords choose to outsource their management to property management companies, which take on the day-to-day responsibilities required to keep a rental operating smoothly. But when it comes to self-storage facilities, these properties have unique needs that a typical property manager may not be as familiar with.
Hiring a self-storage management company for your facility is one way to ensure your units are managed by knowledgeable professionals in the industry. But what do these companies actually do? What are their daily responsibilities compared to your own?
In this article, we’ll break down the major responsibilities of a self-storage management company, as well as some alternatives you might consider.
What Are Self-Storage Management Companies and Their Benefits?
A self-storage management company is a company that works with you, the owner of a self storage business, on each of the various tasks involved in managing your units: marketing, policies, lease agreements, training, financial reporting, etc. They are a third-party company whose services you can hire to reduce or eliminate your management duties.
One benefit of self storage management companies is that they possess a wealth of knowledge and experience in the self-storage industry. In all U.S. states, property management companies are required to have professional real estate licensing, which means you can rely on their expertise to guide your rental business. If you’ve never invested in storage units before, these companies are a way to learn about how to manage a facility among skillful veterans.
Management companies also give you the resources to scale your small business and reach new heights. Whether you’re looking to increase occupancy, acquire more facilities, add units, make large-scale improvements, or simply ease your daily workload, a self-storage management company can give you the tools to do so.
When to Hire a Self-Storage Management Company
Not every self-storage investor wants to work with a management company. As management fees can cost more than 6% of your gross monthly revenue, many smaller landlords would rather not burden their limited budgets with management fees. Others would simply take on the daily responsibilities of managing their storage units themselves. However, hiring a management company may be an especially good idea if one of the following scenarios is true for you:
- You own multiple facilities or many units
- You have a W2 job and don’t have time to self-manage your units
- You’re a new or inexperienced investor but have access to some capital
- Your self-storage business isn’t profitable, and you don’t know why
- You don’t want to be involved in the day-to-day management of your units
- You want to scale your rental business
If one of these scenarios describes your situation, you and your storage business will likely benefit from hiring a self-storage management company.
Responsibilities of a Self-Storage Management Company
Your management company can handle a range of diverse responsibilities for you. Here are some of the responsibilities you might entrust to self storage property management professionals.
Specialized Marketing and Advertising
You chose your self-storage facility’s location, features, and amenities to serve your target customers. A self-storage management company will capitalize on those features to develop a specialized marketing plan for your rentals. The company will combine any market research you provide them with their own to determine the best way to advertise your units to the local community.
Employee and Contractor Hiring
Depending on how your rental business is set up, you may need to hire employees or independent contractors to handle leasing, maintenance, renovations, improvements, security, or other jobs. Your management company can hire individuals for these tasks and supervise their job performances and contracts.
Policy and Procedure Standardization
One of the strengths of management companies is that they’ve likely been in the business longer than you and have spent years determining the most reliable policies and procedures for self-storage. A management company can standardize your business’s operations such that tasks are streamlined as much as possible.
On-Site Security and Supervision
Self-storage management companies can also hire on-site security personnel to keep your storage units protected from theft and deter suspicious activity. Security is a concern for many renters looking for safe places to store their belongings, and on-site personnel can provide a feeling of presence and security.
Software and hardware integration is another responsibility you may delegate to a management company. For instance, if you use mobile or keyless entry, your management company can help integrate the hardware required to secure units with the software behind the scenes.
Collecting rent is one of your biggest responsibilities as a landlord and the one that ensures smooth and consistent revenue growth over the years. While online rent collection and storage unit software have enabled much of the process to be automated, a self-storage management company can oversee the process and ensure your funds arrive on time, every time.
Financial Reporting and Tax Documentation
Part of running a business is understanding how to calculate and present important financial metrics in a concise and readable way, including profit/loss reports and the various tax forms you’ll be required to file. If you find taxes confusing, you aren’t alone. Your management company can help you tackle and track finances in a streamlined fashion.
Routine Maintenance and Remodeling
Storage unit maintenance may be much less of a hassle than maintaining a residential complex, but storage units still require regular upkeep. A management company can handle anything from preventative maintenance to routine cleaning and even large-scale remodeling of your existing storage units.
Regular Communication and Reports
Lastly, one of a self-storage management company’s primary responsibilities is to communicate with and report back to you. Even if you aren’t directly involved in the management of your units, you should still stay in the know about how your units are faring and aware of any problems or concerns. After all, it’s your facility and your money being invested. A good management company will keep you well informed so that you can continue to make the best decisions for your rentals.
Alternatives to Self-Storage Management Companies
Although there are numerous benefits to hiring a management company, it is not always practical or desirable for some landlords. If you’re looking to manage your units on your own, there are a few alternatives to choose from. You might choose to leverage technology in your self-storage units by installing electronic/keyless entry and remote security tools. Electronic entry makes it possible to automate on-site security for your storage units, which you can monitor remotely. Additionally, you may find it easier to find and hire your own team of employees to manage the various aspects of your rental business. For instance, you may hire leasing agents, accounting professionals, or security personnel.
An even better idea is to use property management software to help you organize, monitor, and run your business. Software like Innago is simple, can be used to manage your storage facility just as easily as a residential rental, and best of all—it’s free. Software is an optimal choice for many busy facility owners who want to cut costs and automate management at the same time.
Regardless of which route you choose, the key is to know when to seek professional guidance or additional tools and resources when a task demands expertise beyond your own.
If you’re an aspiring self-storage investor, you can’t go wrong by hiring a quality self-storage management company to help solidify your strategy and day-to-day operations. Although you are still responsible for designing, choosing, and strategizing your self-storage facility, a management company can provide you with the right amount of expertise and edge to succeed.