On-Site vs. Off-Site Manager

Jon Fesmire | Jan 23, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

Have you ever considered having an on-site manager at your facility—someone who lives there and can keep an eye on the place, discourage crime, and be available in case of emergencies?

There are benefits to both on-site and off-site management for self storage operators. Here are some pros and cons to help you decide.

Pros:

Loyalty

There’s nothing quite like treating your employees well to make them happy and encourage loyalty. On-site managers get some serious benefits. Those include living rent-free and having all utilities paid for. Not to mention, there’s no commute.

Many manager homes have three bedrooms and two bathrooms, as well as a private yard. Due to the rent and utilities being covered, they’re able to save money for retirement. Yes, they do work a full 40-hour week, and need to be available in case of emergencies, but with no commute, they actually have more free time than most.

Eyes On Site

That brings us to a benefit for the facility itself, which is having someone on-site almost all the time. Having an on-site manager, on top of the usual security measures, can help by discouraging would-be criminals. Thieves want an easy target, and knowing that someone is on-site who might see them or call the police within moments will make them rethink robbing from your facility.

Choice of Managers

Want to attract a lot of great candidates to manage your facility? If you’re offering a resident manager position, you’re bound to get some great talent sending in their applications. That should include people who manage other facilities, or were even resident managers in the past. You also might get property managers from apartments, and while they may need a bit of training, they’ll have experience working with people and solving problems.

In short, when you advertise your resident manager position, you’re bound to get lots of well-qualified applicants. You’ll have your pick among the best.

Attractive to Tenants

If tenants know that a facility has a manager on-site, that can help them decide to go with your facility, rather than one down the road. They know that a resident manager means better security.

Cons:

Lazy Managers

As mentioned, you should have your pick of the best, but we still feel compelled to remind you to choose carefully.

One potential issue is managers who are relaxing at home when they’re scheduled to be in the office. Resident managers need to take work seriously, and be working in the office or around the premises during their scheduled work hours. When on lunch, they can relax in the house, of course.

Setting Boundaries

On the other hand, when a manager’s normal work hours are over, he or she should get some personal time. So, it’s critical for managers to set boundaries with customers. Living at the facility may discourage theft, but it encourages customers to come to the on-site manager’s house at all hours with complaints or questions. They need to let the tenants know to go to the office for help. If the manager is at home, that means they’re unavailable to customers directly.

This doesn’t mean that managers will have problems setting boundaries, only that it’s a potential difficulty.

Extra Cost

Even with all the advantages of having a resident manager, you need to decide if it’s worth the extra cost. Like many facilities, you could use the space for more storage units, which will bring in extra revenue. A resident manager also tends to make more per hour than one who stays for his or her 40 hours, then leaves.

You might even be able to have a part-time manager, who is at work about 20 hours per week, and a couple of lower level managers working all other times.

Zoning

If you don’t have a home on the site and you’re thinking about building one so that you can hire a resident manager, you’ll need to look into zoning rules for your area. Many areas won’t allow a house or apartment built on property zoned for business.

Building Costs

Adding a manager house means building it, and that can cost more than buying a house. So, if you’re thinking of adding this to your facility, think about what it will mean over the long term. It’s an investment, and you have to decide if it will be worth it.

So,  will having a residential manager work for your facility? That’s up to you to figure out. We hope this guide helps in your decision.