How to Find Work/Life Balance as a Resident Self Storage Manager

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So, you’re interested in working in self storage as a resident manager. Perhaps you’ve been a facility manager for some time, or you’ve just learned something about the self storage industry and think this would be the job for you.

A resident manager position can be a great job with excellent perks. You get a nice home with a yard. In fact, most on-site homes for resident managers have two or three bedrooms with two bathrooms. Your rent and most if not all utilities will be covered, and in most cases you’ll have medical, dental, and vision insurance through work, as well as a 401K plan. Since you won’t have to commute, you’ll save a lot of time and money on gas. In the morning you just get up, get ready, and walk to the office.

Work/Life Balance

Here’s the most important thing to keep in mind when considering if you want to become a resident manager: If you’re looking for a job that you can leave behind at the end of the day and on weekends, being a resident manager is not for you.

You can live and enjoy your life. It’s just that work will always be there.

John Wharton of American Classic Self Storage, who worked as a resident manager for eleven years, says this about resident manager life. “One thing I want to stress. It is a lifestyle. Not a job. You truly are running a business. You’re running a business like any other manager.”

Think of it this way. You are there representing the owner. Like any facility manager, your day job is to bring in new renters, fill the units, and make sure everything runs smoothly. After hours, you must be prepared to handle emergencies. That could mean calling for emergency maintenance after closing, or calling the police in the case of a break-in. It might mean showing business partners the facility during what would normally be your hours “off.”

Your Job Duties

Most of your responsibilities as a resident manager apply to the work day. Your presence there at night is mostly to discourage criminal activity on site.

Your duties will include helping customers with a variety of issues, including deciding what size unit to rent, taking complaints, and selling merchandise. You will often give facility tours to new or potential customers. For example, you’ll take new customers out in the golf cart, depending on the size of the facility, to see their new units after they have signed the contract. In answering customer questions, you’ll tell them about the security system, what they can and can’t store, and about any special features your facility may have.

Your employees will share many of your job duties. So, part of your job is modeling good customer service and salesmanship. That includes helping customers in person and on the phone. It also includes proper cleaning, watching surveillance, and more.

You will be on call when there is an emergency, at any hour, and when the company needs you. When alarms go off, your job will be to check the surveillance cameras and footage and to call the police.

Delegating and the 80/20 Rule

As a manager, your job is to make sure that important tasks get done, ensuring that the facility runs well, that tenants are satisfied, that the business is making a profit, and the like. It doesn’t mean you have to do everything.

Hire employees that you trust. That might include a second day time manager, so that you needn’t be working all hours the facility is open. It certainly includes employees to work in the office, maintenance personnel, and so on. Hire people you trust to do their jobs with minimal oversight. It’s better to have employees who know their jobs well and know when to take initiative than it is to micromanage.

There are different interpretations of the term “The 80/20 Rule.” Here, I’m referring to the idea that 80% of the results you get, be they sales in the office store, or tenants renting your units, come from 20% of the work. Learn what methods are the most effective, and do more of those, and less of those that aren’t so effective.

You are going to be spending most of your time at the facility, whether in the office, doing lock checks, or in your home. Work efficiently, and you’ll have less stress and more time to enjoy your life. Remember, don’t think of a resident manager position as a job. Think of it as a lifestyle. If you can be happy blending your work and your life, you’ll probably do it well.