Never Forget

13 years ago today, America changed forever. This horrific event should have jolted the nation into waking up from living inindex denial. It did for a brief moment. It brought everyone together and showed many people how to be a patriot again, but then we shoved our collective heads back in the sand, even further embraced the evil of political correctness and have, as a nation, rejected God. I mourn for my country and I am heartbroken when I think of the world my precious grandchildren will inherit. We, as a nation, are afraid of offending.

Well I’m offended by a lot of things. I’m offended that God is openly rejected in our society. I’m offended by having a muslim president who is openly trying to destroy America. I’m offended at the way he has treated Israel. I’m offended by his racism. I’m offended by his ghetto acting wife telling our kids what to eat. I’m offended by the cabinet members of this administration which contains far too many muslims to accurately represent America and people like eric holder who should be shot for his crimes and dereliction of duty. I’m offended by the race-baiters like al sharpton, opra winfry and jesse jackson. I’m offended at the way our veterans are treated. I’m offended by our judicial system. The death penalty doesn’t work because we don’t use it effectively. I’m offended that so many people are living off my tax dollars because they are too damned lazy to work. GET OFF YOUR ASS! I’m offended that I have to press 1 for English and that 13 years later our borders are still wide open. I’m offended at the absolute crap our children are taught in school, but ask them about Omaha Beach and they are likely to think it was a spring break destination. I’m offended by ignorance, period. Ignorance of the Word of God in America. Ignorance of history. Ignorance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Ignorance of political ideology by the majority of Americans. But because so many of the things that offend me don’t fit the liberal agenda, the things that offend me don’t get much press.

But there are plenty of other things that offend me that actually do get a lot of press and it doesn’t seem to have any real impact because these things still happen constantly. Things like animal cruelty, child abuse and bad manners. Why do we as a society tolerate these things? We will chastise the person who throws litter on the ground but not say a word to the obnoxious jerk who curses in front of women and children or to the lazy mother who allows her child to terrorize the poor girl working at the check out register.

What the hell is wrong with us? 9/11 was a tragedy, but for an all too brief moment in time it brought us all together and for a moment, it looked like America was going to turn a corner and return to our former glory as the client nation to God. How could we let that opportunity slip away and what can we ever do to get it back?

There is only one way and it is in the Word of God. The mind of Christ has provided every answer to every problem we will ever encounter. I know many people are turned off by what I just wrote because they have spent too many Sundays listening to some fire and brimstone-filled Pastor rail against the evils of sin but couldn’t exegete a single verse of scripture if he had to. Sin isn’t the issue! Jesus Christ took care of that when he bore our sins for 3 hours on the cross. And when he said “tetalesti” (it is finished in the cal imperative stem meaning it is finished with the result that it will last for eternity) there is nothing we can ever do to lose our so great salvation. The issue is living as Christ lived and we can’t do that without first knowing the mind of Christ and the mind of Christ is the Holy Word!

I don’t even know where I’m going with this – it’s just the anniversary of 9/11 and I mourn for the country I see today. Please pray for America. Love your family and take time to tell them you love them. I pray every day that I may have a positive influence on those around me – and that’s all we can do. We can’t control the world, but we can control how we interact with the world. Make a difference today and every day.

Never forget.

Posted in American History, Beliefs, Bible Doctrine, Constitution, government, History, Influence, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Effect of Emotions on Social Demise

A few days ago I was studying the Book of Acts where Paul is addressing the elders of Ephesus whom he had called to Miletus. Paul was about to make a critical mistake in his life by returning to Jerusalem where he would allow a religious act of taking a vow that would ultimately separate him from God’s plan. As a result of his sin Paul would spend 4 years imprisoned. God of course would turn Paul’s cursing into blessing as the Holy Spirit would guide Paul in the writing of the prison epistles during his captivity.

But back to the subject, as he exegeted these verses, Col. Thieme began a dissertation  about Paul Emotionsallowing his emotions to control his decision making. What the Colonel had to say about emotions really stuck with me and has been on my mind ever since until I finally felt compelled to write about it.

First I want to focus on the damage that living under the control of our emotions does to our personal lives. Think about some of the bad decisions you may have made in your life. The overwhelming majority of those bad decisions, if not all of them, can be traced back to emotions.We buy things we don’t need, or perhaps even can’t afford, based solely on emotions. We eat when we’re not hungry. Psychologists have even coined the phrase – emotional eating disorder. If we perceive someone has wronged us in some way,  rather than being forgiving we allow our emotions to damage or even destroy that relationship.

Perhaps the most devastating emotional decision for many is marriage as evidenced by the high divorce rate. Love is an extremely powerful emotion and while it is certainly necessary that you love the person you marry, it is also necessary that you not marry someone based solely on emotions. Let’s face it – people often fall in love with someone over an emotional based response to loneliness, sexual attraction and social status. While these are all legitimate reasons to be attracted to someone, by themselves they are hardly a reason to make a lifelong commitment. These emotions often fade as quickly as they arose and if you base a marriage entirely on these emotions you’re in trouble. Reason must be placed ahead of emotions.

Is this the person you really want to spend the rest of your life with? Am I marrying this person for the right reasons? Is this the person God intends me to be with forever? These are questions that must be considered and even though it is difficult, emotions must be removed from the picture when answering these questions.

We have descended into a society controlled by emotions and as bad as it is for us personally, it may even be worse for us nationally. Millions of Americans voted to elect an incompetent President because they were emotionally consumed with the idea of electing America’s first black President.  We give financial support to tyrannical governments that despise us. Before his assassinations, Senator Robert Kennedy proposed sending blood to the North Viet Namese. WE WERE AT WAR! But it gets worse – today we have implemented absurd “rules of engagement” on our troops, gelding their ability to actually win a war!

As a nation, we’ve become so fearful of offending our enemies that we’ve become a global laughing stock – all because our leaders now govern based entirely on emotions. Political correctness is nothing but a national system of emotions. Government handouts are nothing but a national system of emotions. The concept of global warming is an unproven theory that plays entirely on emotions.

We now have a social construct that demands forfeiture of personal freedoms to assuage the emotions of those who make the most noise. Take for example the long running battle for gun control. This is nothing more than a play on the emotions of the uninformed. Obamacare is nothing more than a play on the emotions of the uninformed. The call for immigration reform is nothing more than a play on the emotions of the uninformed.

Maybe you’re beginning to see a pattern. Emotions often control decisions when we are uninformed. For example, a parent may make a decision to buy their child a new pet based entirely on their emotions and those of the child. Because they lacked information and made an emotional decision, they soon learn that a brittany spaniel is not a good choice for apartment living or that a dachshund is going to construct an intricate system of tunnels in their flower beds or that a bull mastiff isn’t always going to be an adorable 10 pound puppy.

Paul made an emotional decision to remove himself from the geographical will of God. God’s plan was for Paul to take his ministry west into Spain. Instead he made an emotional decision to return to Jerusalem. Paul then removed himself from the operational will of God when he made the emotional decision to take a vow. These emotional decisions cost Paul 4 years of imprisonment before he was able to return to the geographical and operational will of God.

I point this out only to say, even Paul, perhaps the greatest believer of the Church Age, allowed emotions to interfere in his life. It happens to everyone at some time. What we have to guard against is – even though emotions may at times run our lives, we can’t allow emotions to ruin our lives. Be conscious of making informed decisions in life, not emotional ones.

Posted in Accountability, Bible Doctrine, Choices, Defining Moments, Emotions, Marriage, self improvement, Theology | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Master the Basics

I’m in the process of writing a new training manual for my company. Here is the INTRODUCTION.

Welcome to the RPM Storage Management team. You were selected because you display the skillsets and attitude we believe will make you successful in the self storage industry. We are committed to doing our part in giving you the proper training and tools needed to achieve great success in self storage management and we are confident you are just as committed to putting in the necessary effort to grasp, retain and utilize what you take away from this training.

This two week initial training is designed to prepare you with the basic knowledge necessary to begin operating a self storage facility efficiently. As mentioned, you were selected because you display the skillsets and attitude needed to be successful, but we don’t expect miracles. Becoming a “super star” manager is a process that takes time and devotion, both yours and ours. By no means will a two week training program make you an “expert”, that takes time and consistent effort, but it will prepare you to take the next step.

To make the most of this training period we highly recommend you take detailed notes. The primary methods of training during the next two weeks will be observation in week one and application in week two.

On opening day of spring training practice, legendary football coach Vince Lombardi begann-COACHES the training by teaching the very basics. He would hold up a football for all to see and proclaim to the team members, “This is a football.” He would then go on to explain the very basics of the game. Along this same line, perhaps the greatest coach in sports history, the late Coach John Wooden who coached his UCLA basketball team to ten national championships in a twelve year period, began his training camps by giving detailed instructions on the proper way for players to tie their shoes.

These simplistic approaches to training may hold little appeal to some, but you can hardly argue with Coach Lombardi’s or Coach Wooden’s results. Each of these legendary coaches set out to be the very best in their respective sports. Self storage is no different. If you are going to be the very best, you must begin with the basic operations. If you cannot do the basics better than anyone else, you will never achieve greatness.

Take for example the simple act of cleaning a self storage unit to make it rent ready for the next customer. You can go into any market and shop a few self storage facilities and you will find very few, if any, self storage units that RPM would consider “rent ready”. The truth is, most self storage managers approach the task of cleaning an empty unit with only one item – a broom. While a broom will be needed for the task, it is hardly going to accomplish the goal of being the “best” at this very basic operation.

Think of it this way: if you want to get your vehicle washed but don’t want to do it yourself, you have 2 choices; you can drive around until you find some civic or youth organization holding a carwash fundraiser or you can go to the place that specializes in providing detailed service. The difference in the expected levels of service between the two is enormous. You’ll pay much more at the premium carwash than you will at the fundraiser, but you will get in return, and will settle for nothing less, than a “new car” look complete with air freshener, armoralled tires and detailed interior that even got the dust out of the cracks and crevices.

To be the very best in the self storage industry, that’s the way you have to approach even such a basic task as preparing a rent-ready unit. To be the very best, your job is not to clean the unit, but rather to “detail” it. The floor must be spotless. There must not be a cobweb anywhere in sight. There must be no dust on the walls. The door, lights and latch must operate correctly and easily. There must be no musty smell.

Perhaps the customer standing beside you has already been to two or three competitors and looked at their units. If so, chances are they have viewed some units that were “sort of clean” and perhaps a few others that “needed work” and possibly a few that made them think “Oh, there’s no way I’m putting my things in here.” When you open the door for them you want them to take one look at that empty unit and see an immediate difference from what they have already looked at. You want to give them a clear understanding that they could look at every storage unit in town and would never see one as clean as what you are showing them.

That’s how you become the very best. You must master the basics first. If you’re doing the basic things better than anyone else, you will be the best. Let me take you back a moment to Coach Lombardi. The Green Bay Packers of the late 1950’s and 1960’s had the smallest playbook in professional football. They didn’t run trick plays. They didn’t focus on trying to fool anyone. In fact, most times just by the formation of the offense, the opposing defense knew exactly what play was coming, but because they focused on doing the basics like blocking and every player doing his part, the defense was powerless to stop them. They had games where they literally annihilated the opponent while running no more than 5 or 6 different plays throughout the course of the game.

Coach Lombardi’s practice sessions were grueling. The team would run the same play over and over and over until every man was perfect in executing his part. The formula was unstoppable then as it is today and it works in self storage just as it works in football. Becoming the very best begins and ends with doing the basics better than anyone else. With that in mind, let’s begin your training to make you a super star self storage manager.

Posted in Business processs, Customer Service, Management, Self Storage, Training | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: MAJOR BIBLE THEMES

MAJOR BIBLE THEMES: 52 Vital Doctrines of the Scriptures Simplified and Explained bymjbiblethemeslg Lewis Sperry Chafer is a must read for any student of theology. With Chafer being the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, this was required reading at DTS. Recently I picked up the revised copy which includes work by John Walvoord who replaced Dr. Chafer at DTS upon his retirement.

In Chafer’s original 1926 introduction, he explains, “This book is in no way a treatise on systematic theology. In its preparation, a limited number of the most vital and practical doctrinal themes have been chosen, and an attempt has been made to adapt these brief discussions to the needs of the untrained Christian.” To that end, Chafer has been extraordinarily successful with this wonderful book.

Although not specifically structured as such, the chapters are in somewhat of a sequential order and may be divided into five main topics: The Bible, God – with specific chapters on each member of the Trinity, the fall and salvation of man, the Church Age and the period of post-rapture.

Each chapter follows a similar pattern and for the sake of this review I will detail Chapter 15, GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT: HIS ADVENT. In the chapter introduction, Chafer explains that the coming of the Spirit into the world on the day of Pentecost must be seen in relationship to His work in previous dispensations. He then expands his doctrinal teachings with subchapters:

  • A. The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.
  • B. The Holy Spirit During the Life of Christ of Earth.
  • C. The Coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

The chapter concludes, as do all chapters, with a list of questions (in this case 16 questions) to help ensure the reader has sufficiently grasped the concepts being taught. Corresponding scripture and verse is also cross referenced for each point of doctrine.

I have not yet cross referenced this reprint to my original book from Dr. Chafer, but apart from the addition of numerous scriptural passages and a few chapters combined from the original as well as a few new chapters, it seems clear that Walvoord’s primary contributions come in the later, post-rapture chapter. Walvoord has authored several books in this area including Every Prophecy of the Bible, The Millennial Kingdom, and Revelation commentary.

The book concludes with an Index of Subjects and Scripture Index. This is a book you will reference again and again, as I have for the past forty years.

Posted in Bible Doctrine, Book Reviews, Faith, Theology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Memorial Day

Memorial Day.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Tax Man Cometh

In Texas, on May 1st, county appraisal districts will be sending out 2014 property tax key_art_the_taxman_comethappraisals. In recent years, Texas small business owners have been hit hard and this year business owners, especially along the IH-35 corridor, will be hit even harder. Aggressive growth along the IH-35 corridor brings with it aggressive property tax appraisals, but self storage owners don’t have to take it laying down.

You can file a protest, but a misstep could end up costing you thousands of dollars and you may want to consider hiring an agent experienced in property tax protests. Tangible personal property that is used to produce income must be reported each year on a rendition – form 50-144. Filing a rendition puts you in a better position to exercise your right of appeal. If you choose to protest your tax assessment, it must be filed by May 31 or no later than 30 days after the appraisal district mailed a notice of appraised value to you. If you miss the filing deadline you forfeit your right to protest the assessed value of your property.

There are typically four types of property value protests:

  1. Excessive value – you believe your property is valued too high.
  2. Unequal appraisal – you believe your property has been assessed a higher value than properties of similar use and value.
  3. Failure to grant exceptions – you have the right to exceptions for such things as motor vehicles used for your business.
  4. Failure to provide notice – the appraisal district failed to provide notice of tax increase.

It is up to you to have what you need to prove your case to the ARB. You cannot go to a hearing and just say the appraisal district is wrong – you have to present evidence that proves the appraised value is incorrect.

When preparing a case, there are three different approaches you can take. Knowing and choosing the right approach is critical.

  1. The sales comparison approach.
  2. The cost approach.
  3. The income approach.

A case must be built that is persuasive, not emotional. Don’t pay more than you should. Seek consultation if you think your property has been valued too high.

Monty Rainey has 20+ years in self storage management and is the owner of RPM Storage Management, LLC of New Braunfels, TX. www.rpmstoragemanagement.com

Posted in Business, Self Storage, Taxes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

CUSTOMER RENT INCREASES

There are many theories about customer rate increases.  Self storage owners and business graph with arrow and coins showing profits and gainsoperators are often second guessing themselves about when to give rent increases and how much of an increase is the right amount. Many times to correct answer is market specific, but I have found there are a few tried and true rules that work well in most situations.

I am always my most aggressive when it comes to customer rent increases in February and March, really for two reasons:

1.       In a typical market that sees typical market rate fluctuations, it is not uncommon for your lowest rates of the year to be found in these months. This makes it easier to adjust customer rates to match current rates without running as much risk of hitting the customer “too hard”. For example;

A.      In the peak months, current rate a space may be $99 and customer rate at $74. Getting them up to current rate is a 32% increase – much too big a pill for most customers to swallow so you have to either give them a smaller increase or run the risk of a lost customer.

B.      In the slower months like January and February, chances are you have reduced your current rate. In this example, say your current rate is $84 – now you’re only looking at a $10 rent increase to get this customer up to your current rate. You’re still getting a 13.5% increase, the customer is now at current rate and you run a much lower risk of losing the customer.

2.       The other reason why I am more aggressive in February and March is because the peak season is right around the corner. In the event the customer does move out, you know that unit won’t sit vacant for very long as opposed to a move out in October that may sit vacant all winter.

Another thing I want to mention is, unless a space type is at 100% occupancy, I rarely raise a customer to 100% of current rate. For example, if current rate is $89, customer is paying $79 I will only raise them to $87 or $84. This gives your manager the ability to let the customer know, even with the rent increase, they are still paying below the current rate.

As I mentioned, there are many theories regarding customer rate increases, and I’ve heard other theories that I like, but this method has always worked very well for me. Now is one of the best times to give rate increases.

Monty Rainey has 20+ years in self storage management and is the owner of RPM Storage Management, LLC of New Braunfels, TX.

Posted in Rent Increases, Revenue Management, Self Storage, Strategy | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments