self-storage insider

A Blog by the U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate Network

Be a Smooth Operator: Time Saving Tips

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Are you stressed?

Does this ever feel like you? The phone is ringing, customers are lined up, the maintenance personnel needs direction in the yard – you feel like your head is going to explode! Operating a self-storage facility is no easy feat. Following basic organization and time-saving principles will help you stay on track. Getting organized, following to-do lists and simplifying day-to-day tasks are things every self-storage operator can focus on.

Get Organized:

Start by creating a system that is easy to understand, maintain and follow. Designate a place for things, and keep them there. Store paperwork in drawers, folders, or files. Clear out clutter. A front office area that is neat and organized will make you feel organized; plus, a clean workspace will portray a professional atmosphere and make your customers feel confident with your facility.

Starting your organizing approach from scratch? Buy a desk rack and file folders. Clearly label each file folder with a concise title such as “Do”, “Follow Up” and “Completed”. Staying tidy will prevent you from losing valuable paperwork such as payments and contracts. It will increase your productivity and give you more time to get your tasks done.

Our Tip: Create a work responsibility chart – list each employee’s name at the top and each task on the left. For every task an employee is responsible for, place an X in that column next to their name. Now you have a clear direction for everyone that works at your facility. To increase accountability and ensure tasks don’t fall through the cracks, post this chart in a common area that is visible to everyone.

Create a To-Do List:

Use a to-do list to track all pending and completed tasks. To-do lists help you stay organized and streamline your responsibilities so that they become more manageable.

Set aside ten minutes at the end of your work day to write your to-do list so you are prepared for your next day at work. Doing this will give you a clear agenda of what needs to get done and how to begin. From the moment you walk in, you will have a set plan and know what tasks lie ahead. No more procrastination!

Designate a place to save your to-do list so you don’t misplace it. Be sure that it’s a place you will look at the beginning of the day – nearby the coffee pot might work well, or on your chair so you grab it as you sit down.

U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate, Xandra at Sixteenth Avenue Mini Storage in Lewiston, Idaho, offers advice on to-do lists and general time-saving approaches,“(We) multitask while on the lot with mobile WebSelfStorage www.webselfstorage.com/mobile and forward the office phone to our cell phones, we keep the to-do list available for everyone to work from daily, and we clean, lube doors and check for any issues as soon as a room is vacated.”

To Do Reminder Function WSS

Our Tip: Utilize the To-Do Reminder feature within WebSelfStorage. It’s found on your main page under the User section. This feature allows you to create automated reminder notices for yourself as well as other employees within your organization. You will set the date and time of the reminder as well as how often it should occur and the details of the reminder.

Simplify Day-to-Day Tasks:

Create a general procedure for handling your daily tasks because being consistent will create simplicity as well as efficiency. Review your tasks and determine which ones you can remove. Focus on what’s essential and streamline your process.

Xandra eliminated her task of sending out invoices, delinquent letters and other regular communication to her customers by utilizing the mailing service available to U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliates. WebSelfStorage still generates the letters for her, but instead of printing, stuffing and bringing them to the post office herself, they’re mailed from our headquarters in Arizona. “It saves me two hours each day,” Xandra said.

Susan from Seinfeld "The Invitations"

So, not only has Xandra saved herself a ton of time and expense, she’s also saved herself from the potentially life-threatening danger that can occur when licking large amounts of envelopes (see photo reference from the wildly popular 90’s TV series Seinfeld).

But seriously, Xandra has some time-saving recommendations for fellow Affiliates in the Network, “Use centralized mailing with WebSelfStorage, stay on top of issues that arise, clean and check units for issues as they’re vacated. We also require a 15-day notice of move out and keep a list.”

Our Tip: Consider some of the most stressful tasks you handle regularly, and evaluate options to make them less stressful. Can someone else help you? Can you cut out any steps? Streamline your operations to allow for quality results.

Smooth Operator:

Running a self-storage location is time-consuming and involved. The way you approach the day-to-day operations of your facility will determine how efficiently your business runs. Keys to your success are staying in control of your time and having an organized system to follow.

Hopefully, you’ve picked up some new ideas from this article!

Have any time-saving tips that work really well for you? Let us know in the comments!