What the Heck is a Four Day Full Throttle Operational Overhaul
By Mike Wagner with The Storage Rebellion
I'm really big on getting things done. And getting them done in the most efficient way possible. When it comes to buying storage all over the country, this has been very beneficial to me. I do not like to spend too much time traveling for business but as you might imagine, buying property all over the country does requires some travel. So what I do is to try and minimize how long I am away from my family by being psychotically efficient during my travels:) I'll explain a bit about how I do that in the article that follows. This is the exact strategy that I used in Florida to reverse 4 years of neglect in just 4 days. I hope you can extract a couple tips and tricks that will serve you well in your storage adventures!
Using the crazy to do list the we discussed last week Click Here, the ultimate goal of my Four Day Full Throttle Operation Overhaul is to render your facility as rentable as possible as quickly as possible (in this example, four days--> change the name of your overhaul accordingly:). By nature I am a roll up your sleeves and get it done kind of guy but turning around a facility that needs the kind of work required to double or triple value, requires that you delegate grunt work and “manage” the labor you have at your disposal rather than trying to do it all yourself. No one man can clean out 40-80 storage units by themselves in just 4 days! Craigslist is an incredibly valuable tool as you turn your old facility into a new one.
Using your “Lock audit list” (make many copies), start identifying which units are rented. Even if delinquent, don't touch these. You have to go through the proper process to deal with units that the previous owner had as rented on their rent roll. Some “empty” units will end up having stuff in them. You have to decide how to best deal with the contents. Some units will just need to be swept out. Other units with “Less than $100” of stuff can be disposed of—double check your state laws as the dollar amount varies by state! Decide if you should toss that stuff in the dumpster (costs you money) or if you can auction the stuff off (makes you money). Now bear in mind that the earliest you can have an auction will also be state dependent but will usually be at least six weeks away so there is a “cost” to holding the stuff for that time in that you can't rent that unit. If you have many other units of that size open, this might be a non-issue. You might also consider, consolidating the contents of several units into one and auction it all of as one. This way you free up several units for rent while not filling your dumpster with stuff that someone might actually pay you for at auction. You might also sell or barter or give away stuff during your visit. Believe it or not, I was able to give away 14 mattresses at our Florida Facility. I simply put an add on craigslist for FREE and people came and took several at a time until they were gone. This was after I was quoted a $650 disposal fee from a junk removal company. I did the same with 9 old CRT televisions. The cost to recycle these at a recycling center was $20 per unit. I found them all a home in under 24 hours and saved that $180. Remember your roll is to decide how to process each unit and then pay someone (from Craigslist) to execute your instructions. As your laborers do this for you, you will be doing the tasks that only you as the new owner can do. You will be getting utilities switched over, forwarding the mail to your PO box if appropriate, meeting with service providers and contractors to get bids and interview them. You will also want to be continually updating your master lock audit list as your crew turns unrentable units into “rentable” or auctionable” units. And you will update your newly running management software to reflect the status of those units. Remember the goal is to have most if not all units “rented”, “rentable” or on the auction block by the time you leave. After finalizing your lists, you will want to draft and send various letters to the appropriate customers. You will send a change of ownership letter to all customers introducing yourself and giving them instructions on how to get enrolled in your new online customer service portal. You will also send late letters and auction letters as appropriate. You want to move as fast as possible but also keep in mind that you are working to restore your facilities reputation and you want to be aware of how “aggressive” collection tactics will be seen by your customers. I like to give all customers a chance to reach out to me between each letter so that I can avoid sending the next letter to anyone who is being responsible and working to get caught up. I am also pretty flexible with honoring people at their word when they say they paid the old owner but didn't get credit. Of course this has to be done within reason but I rather lose $50 in rent than leave a bad taste in a customers mouth by accusing them of lying. They are not only a customer but if you can impress them, they will become a referral source for you too! Whenever customers come to the facility while you are there, stop whatever you are doing and go win them over. Make sure they know you have no immediate plans to raise rates and your only goal is to fix all the things that were wrong with the previous management. Tell them you are committed to serving them in any way that you can. Also tell them that you will pay them a referral fee for anyone who rents a unit from you and uses their name as a referral source. Along these same lines, tell everyone you meet that you just bought the Storage Facility down the road and are looking to spread the word. Talk about it in the diner while getting your morning eggs, tell the lady behind the desk at the post office, tell the mailman who comes to drop your mail, etc. Where appropriate, offer these folks...as well as any service providers a referral fee as well.
I hope this article has been helpful for you and invite you to dive a bit deeper by exploring some of the FREE content we put out into the world. To do so, simply visit www.thestoragerebellion.com or our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/StorageRebellion/ . I wish you all the best on your Journey into the world of Self Storage.