A Managers Tales of Self Storage Horror Stories

I guess that in every business genre there can and are horror stories. Yesterday for an example, a gentleman called me for advice. He had a storage unit at another unnamed facility. He had paid in advance for several years, ( and believe me this can be a large chunk of change) when his prepaid balance had expired he assumed he would receive a new invoice thus reminding him that he needed to pay. He admits his fault in this situation, (but frankly if I had not paid a bill in two years, I doubt I would remember either) but he never received a new invoice. Five months later, he returned to his storage unit only to be told he was in abandonment and besides the five month he owed, he was being charged $125.00 per month that he was late! The gentleman called asking my opinion as a storage facility manager. Number one at Affordable Storage Solutions, everyone receives an invoice each and every month either by e-mail or snail mail. Now if you’ve changed your address and not forwarded you new address in writing (State Law) we may have a problem but wait! Number two: Our rents are due on the 1st of each month and payable until the 10th, around the 8th, I am calling every customer who has not paid just as a courtesy reminder! Then I call again on the 11th and if they still haven’t paid I call each week until I have a date that they will pay or they just come in and pay. I can’t fathom allowing a customer to go FIVE months with no contact! Now if the customer had moved ( he has been at the same address for 20 years), changed their telephone number (his had stayed the same for those 20 years) or flat out had truly abandoned his unit, I guess I could see. BUT allowing a unit to go 5 MONTHS in arrears???? That I don’t understand!

My second horror story also happened yesterday. This very nice young man stopped by our office to see if we perhaps had seen anyone going into the storage yard he pays for up the road a piece from us. As it was Memorial weekend and we had been closed, I had to tell him I had not seen anything. Nice young man explains he had just purchased his son his first dirt bike for his birthday and left it at the storage yard to suprise him for his birthday the next day. Went back the next morning and the fence had been cut and aforementioned dirt bike stolen! Here is the horror – said storage facility has security cameras alright, DUMMY ONES!!!!! This customer thought his possessions were safe and secure, he was wrong!

 Moral of the stories – BUYER/PAYER BE WARE & EDUCATE YOURSELF!  Take a tour of the facility you choose! Ask about the payment and invoicing policies! Ask to see how the security and surveillance systems work! Ask about the entrances and exits! How often is the staff doing facility and lock checks? And last but not least let your gut help you to choose not just your pocketbook! These are your possessions and if they didn’t matter to you, why would you pay to store them?

I’ll talk to you soon!

Michelle Dye

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