Underwood, manager of United Self Mini Storage in Tapron Springs, Florida, U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate since 2008 and this edition’s spotlight. Underwood has been in the self-storage industry since 2005 and is the Manager for Terry Hunt, owner of United Self Mini Storages. Terry Hunt has been working in the self-storage business for over 35 years. He still owns his first storage property in Palm Harbor, Florida. “He is an exceptional individual to work with and treats us like family,” April said. Terry Hunt has two self-storage locations using the WebSelfStorage Business Platform who are also U-Haul dealers. They have been affiliates since 2006 and 2008 respectively.
April likes working in the self-storage industry because of all of the wonderful people she interacts with. “I enjoy making new friends and have made many in my eight years” April said. “My least favorite part of the industry is hearing all the struggles people are going through just to make ends meet these days. I always make it my goal to try to at least make their moving experience as painless as possible.”
United Self Mini Storage is involved in their community. “We currently donate a unit to a local non-profit organization in Tarpon Springs called Wheel Chairs for Kids,” April said. “They do exactly what their name says. They help families with disabled or sick children get wheelchairs, home modifications, and anything else they can help with. They are a great part of the community and held dear to our hearts.”
Their customer base is made up of two large apartment complexes, three industrial parks, and four large neighborhoods in the area. They tend to stay around an average of 93% occupancy during the summer months as their busiest, and the holidays always keeping them “on our toes”.
Operating in Florida
Operating a self-storage facility is bound to contain some challenges, but Florida especially can present some difficulties. “I have not worked in the business in other states so this is just in my opinion (but) I think the biggest difference in storage in Florida compared to other states is, of course, the weather,” April said. “Humidity is a real problem when storing in Florida. Our climate controlled units at United Self Mini Storage are dehumidified. Humidity can cause a customer’s items to get moisture in them which can cause mold and mildew. This, in my opinion, is one of the things you really need to protect yourself against.”
And that’s not mentioning hurricane season! “We do the same thing that all Florida facilities do,” April said. “Watch the weather and be prepared. We do have hurricane panels at our location and always make sure they are in good repair and ready to go. Our facility is 13 feet above sea level and can withstand 140 MPH winds. We have been very blessed that we have not been affected so far by hurricanes here where we are located. ”
Some of the better memories April has had working in self-storage are garage sales.
“We hold garage sales for our tenants to sell their gently used items a couple times a year” April said. “We always have fun doing it. It’s kind of like a carnival day. Each time we have a different local business set up a food stand. (We) have lunch together and spend the day socializing and selling things.”
Fortunately, April has not had any nightmare customer experiences (at least not any she’s willing to admit). “I can honestly say that nothing stands out in my mind as being a nightmare experience,” April said. “We all have difficult customers at times, but is our job to turn the situation around and make it a positive one.”
United Self Mini Storage’s great customer service is clear even in the way that April talks about their facility. When asked if there was anything I left out that they’d like other locations in our network to know about you? She replied: “We do our best to offer exceptional customer service, great rates, and clean equipment to our customers. We treat each and every customer with respect and think of them as family. I wish everyone in the industry would do the same. I also want to thank everyone with U-Haul for all the support they give us. It really makes my job pleasant and easy.”
Location: United Self Mini Storage
Located in: Tarpon Springs, Florida
Owner: Terry Hunt
Manager: April Underwood
Affiliate since 2008