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Jack Raistrick

Union Realtime

The first objective of the storage operator is rentals and income generation. Hiring people who are good communicators can go a long way toward achieving those objectives. Good communicators tend to be considered “people persons”. Surely you know the type, these are the people we come across in our lives that immediately greet you with a smile, are always friendly and helpful.

Among the next most important responsibilities of the storage operator is collecting the rents and late fees. In most cases our customers make payment as agreed. But there are always a certain percentage who fail to do so which requires special attention from the operator.

As a professional operator we then put on our “collection efforts” hat and start the process.

The more difficult people to collect from are those that are well-experienced with dodging collection efforts. It will require a real threat to their goods to get action, a threat such as an impending lien sale.

What I have found over my three decades in property management is the best sales people are often reluctant to be strong collectors.

The best collectors are the no-nonsense operators who sometimes run the business like a military operation.

Of very high importance we document all of our collection efforts. This is accomplished by making notes in the customer’s account in our management software.

I detest waiving late fees.

I’ve found that in some situations where the customer clearly does not have much money and the contents are of low value it’s best to simply collect as much money as possible and have the customer move out the same day.

When it’s time to cut locks I caution you to act very carefully and follow the laws in your state exactly.

Another issue that arises from time to time is a request to make payments to get caught up.

I recommend you establish a lien sale calendar noting the event and the date it must occur for compliance with the law.

Once the sale has been held you need to vacate the units sold, apply the sale proceeds to the account as a payment, then write off any balance to uncollected rent and fees.

In closing, I recommend you do as much as possible to settle bad debt accounts as opposed to lien sale.

With regard to personal effects such as photographs, documents, and other personal items, it’s best to ask the buyer of the unit to return those items to you.

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