Finding a Management Company

Over the last 10 years the self storage industry has grown to new heights. No longer are self storage facilities just two buildings on an unpaved road. Today's self storage facilities are built better; they have new technological advancements available, and cater to a customer's every need. With reasonable interest rates and quality returns, the self storage industry has become an intriguing real estate investment. The lure of these returns has spawned a new generation of self storage owners. With the emergence of this remodeled industry the question becomes "what is the best way to manage this new self storage asset?" Often people forget that the self storage industry is a business unto itself. Success in other business ventures, such as apartment complexes, restaurants, or construction, does not guarantee you success in the self storage industry. Allowing your facility to succeed in the current environment takes skilled and knowledgeable professionals. What is the best time to bring in a Management Company to handle your asset and help the facility reach its true potential? Often times owners look to an established management company when they are new to the self storage industry, would like to take a break from the self storage industry, when the storage facility is outside of the owner's other business interests, or the facility's business environment has changed in which an outside perspective would help.

One reason an individual would seek advice from an established management company is if they are new to the self storage industry. Again, the self storage industry is a business unto itself and as in any business venture experienced consultation is helpful and often necessary. An established management company can help a new owner review current operations including budgets, software, managers, marketing techniques, competition, unit mix, and other important areas vital to the success of a new or existing facility. An established management company can also help set policy and procedures along with providing the necessary forms for the self storage facility's day to day operations. In addition, and one of the most important factors, a management company can help a new self storage owner keep a facility stable while keeping high standards of customer service during an existing self storage facility acquisition or a grand opening. Along with helping with operations, an established management company will give you the peace of mind knowing that your self storage investment is being guided in the right direction by people who have years of experience in the self storage industry.

Another reason a self storage owner would consider contracting an established management company is if the self storage owner would like to step away from the day to day operations of the storage investment. Often many self storage owners have other personal and business interests or are not in a position to extensively monitor their self storage investment's day to day operations. Many owners live long distances away from their self storage investment's and, along with the travel time spent to visit their investment and the consistent monitoring of the self storage facility, too much time is taken away from other preferred activities. An established management company will allow the owner to be as involved or uninvolved as the owner wishes. An established management company will keep the owner informed on any major changes to the status of the facility while keeping the non essential items away from the owner, freeing the owner to pursue other endeavors. Contracting an established management company can take the day to day worries away from a self storage owner while allowing the self storage investment to continue to reach operational targets under the guidance of the management company.

Most self storage owners did not start out in the self storage industry. Self Storage owners come from many different walks of life. They may come from the banking industry, real estate industry, construction industry, health care industry, or a combination of many industries. Typically self storage owners have business investments in industries other than self storage. Often a self storage facility was acquired or built as an additional investment vehicle, not as the owner's day to day business. As stated before, the self storage industry is an industry unto itself. It is different from every other industry. Regardless whether you have managed apartment complexes, warehouses, or parking garages, the self storage industry is different. The self storage industry is regulated by the laws of the state that the facility resides. Along with the number of different state laws a self storage facility must follow a self storage facility has its own budgetary items, marketing plans, and industry jargon. An established management company will help facilitate an owner into the world of the self storage industry. Most people would not let a cashier at a local super market to perform surgery on them, or ask their CPA for a haircut, yet many owners and potential owners will attempt to run or purchase a self storage facility without any professional advice. An established management company will help the self storage owner develop the facility into the investment vehicle they desire.

Over time a self storage facility's management style sometimes becomes stale. Operational strategies that worked previously are not producing the returns a self storage owner expects or needs in order to continue to operate the self storage investment. In this situation a different perspective on facility operations could have a positive effect on the facility's income. At this point contacting an established management company could have a profound impact on the competitiveness and overall success of a self storage investment. Established management companies typically stay well informed with the changes of a dynamic self storage market. Established management companies read trade magazines, attend seminars, speak with other self storage professionals, and constantly check and track which operational items are consistently providing rentals to the sites they are contracted to manage. Established management companies also continually reevaluate marketing budgets and continually monitor the marketing they have actively placed in the local self storage market in order to keep from funding items that no longer have a positive effect on the self storage facility and are a drag on the self storage facility's bottom line. If a self storage owner feels that an operational change may need to take place or would like to be updated on the status of the current self storage market an established management company could be the right move. Every established management company is staffed with people who would be glad to help a facility owner reach their investment goals in the timeliest manner possible.

Overall the decision to work with an established management company will be different for each self storage owner. When looking for a self storage management company, attempt to find a company that fits your style of business. These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself when looking for a management company to handle your investment. Is the management company experienced? Does the management company have references from other self storage owners or industry professionals? Does the management company handle items in a timely manager? Does the management company communicate well? Do you feel comfortable with the staff of the management company? The answers to these questions should help guide you to a team of professionals that can help guide your self storage investment. Whether a self storage owner is new to the industry, experienced in the industry, needs a break, or just needs an operational tune up, an established management company can help you reach your facility's true potential.

Matthew Van Horn is Vice President of Cutting Edge Self Storage Management. Cutting Edge Self Storage Management is a full service management company specializing in Management, Feasibility Studies, Consulting, and Joint Ventures within the self-storage industry. For more information, contact Stephan Ross or Tammy Ross at 801.273.1267 or visit our website at

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