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 began 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.