StorageMart Recognized with 2014 BBB Torch Award for Dedication to Customer Service and Best Practices

storagemartThe Better Business Bureau of St. Louis recognized StorageMart for its dedication to ethical business practices and service to their customers, employees, and community by naming it a 2014 Torch Award recipient.  The award was recently presented during a luncheon at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis.

SM Mike Receives Torch Award“We couldn’t be more proud,” StorageMart CEO Mike Burnam said.  “We’ve always made total customer satisfaction our guarantee.  Being recognized by the Better Business Bureau for our customer service proves those aren’t just words being used as a marketing tool, but a true reflection of how we do business.”

Torch Awards are presented by individual Better Business Bureau chapters on a yearly basis.  Nominees must show creativity in their ability to manage customer expectations, provide excellent customer service and resolve disputes. They must demonstrate the ways they inspire their workforce to adopt and communicate their ethics and further their mission.

SM BBB Torch Award 2StorageMart formed in 1999, but the Burnam family has been in the self storage business for going on forty years.  Mike Burnam believes the familial nature of StorageMart has helped the company stand out in the industry when it comes to customer service.

“As a family-run business, we understand how important it is for people to come to work and actually enjoy what they’re doing,” Burnam said.  “So we do everything we can to make that happen and enhance that feeling to create a trickle-down effect to our customers.  We train our managers to have the same respect for customers as we do for them as employees.  That atmosphere has helped our managers and staff foster relationships with our customers that help us not only quickly resolve any problems that might come along but be able to troubleshoot in order to prevent a lot of potential problems from ever taking place.”

The time, effort and resources StorageMart puts into its training programs and working environments might seem excessive to an outsider, but Burnam believes the results speak for themselves.

“If you want to get something, sometimes you have to give more,” Burnam said, “but for us more than pays off in the long run.  It’s all the people who work for our company who are truly responsible for all the positive feedback we’ve received directly from customers, through internet reviews and through the Better Business Bureau.  There’s no way we’d be where we are today without the help and support of the entire StorageMart family.”

About StorageMart

Headquartered in Columbia, Missouri since its formation with a single store in 1999, StorageMart now owns and operates 149 full-service self storage facilities throughout the United States and Canada.  In addition to renting out self storage units, StorageMart properties offer for purchase a wide variety of high quality packing and moving supplies, making each StorageMart a one-stop shopping spot for all moving, packing and storage needs.  StorageMart is a 2014 Torch Award recipient, from the St. Louis Better Business Bureau.  Company President Cris Burnam was named a 2014 EY Entrepreneur of the Year.  For more information, visit www.storage-mart.com.

StorageMart Gives is the charitable arm of the company.  Its mission is to identify strong, non-profit organizations to work with as partners in every market StorageMart calls home.  Partner organizations include the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Open Books (Chicago), the Food Bank of Northeast and Central Missouri and the Des Moines Music Coalition as well as organizations dedicated to animal welfare, children’s advocacy groups and women’s shelters.  StorageMart is also a charter member of Charity Storage, an industry wide giving back program providing financial assistance to non-profit organizations across the United States, including Kure-It Cancer Research.

About the Better Business Bureau

Founded more than a century ago, the Better Business Bureau strives to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust by setting core standards, identifying, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models, creating a community of trustworthy businesses and charities and identifying substandard marketplace behavior.

For years Better Business Bureau chapters have used the Torch Awards to recognize businesses and charities showing creativity in their ability to manage customer expectations, provide excellent customer service and resolve disputes.

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ARGUS SELF STORAGE SALES NETWORK BROKER AFFILIATE SELLS COLORADO SELF STORAGE PORTFOLIO

argusJoan Lucas of Joan Lucas Real Estate Services sold a 2-Property Portfolio in Colorado Springs, CO.  The properties, Stor-N-Lock located at 1625 LaShelle Way and Interstate Secure Storage located at 330 Karen Lane, offered a combined 115,665 SF and 939 units.  The properties sold for $5,680,000 on September 25, 2014.  The purchaser is a long time veteran of the self-storage business and hopes to improve the operations through professional management and a number of capital improvements including new asphalt, doors and remodeling the offices. Joan Lucas is the Argus Broker Affiliate representing Colorado and she can be reached at 720-855-6587 for more information.

Based in Denver, Colorado, the Argus Self Storage Sales Network (ASSSN) was formed in 1994 to assist owners and investors of self storage.  Through the years, Argus has assembled a network of real estate brokers experienced in self storage and income property investments.  Now the largest self storage brokerage network in the United States, the ASSSN has 36 Broker Affiliates covering nearly 40 markets.  These brokers are able to meet the needs of self storage investors and owners whether it is acting as a buyer’s agent or listing and marketing a property.  For more information call 1-800-55-STORE or visit www.argus-selfstorage.com.

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DBCI Promotes Bray Allen

dbci-ad250Roll-up door manufacturer DBCI, based in Douglasville, Ga., has announced that Bray Allen will head the company’s estimating and inside sales departments. In the new role Allen will focus on efficiency and customer service advancements.

Bray began his career with DBCI in 2004 as an inside sales representative. Over the last ten years he has held positions in customer service, sales, and research & development. As R&D Manager, Allen lBray_PR_Oct14ed the development of DBCI’s innovative Curl-Lok technology, which was launched last spring. His strong technical expertise, knowledge and leadership skills will serve him well in his new role. Allen also serves as DBCI’s representative to DASMA, where he serves as Chairman of the Sheet Door Committee and Vice Chairman of the DASMA Rolling Door Division.

DBCI is a leading designer and manufacturer of commercial-grade steel roll-up doors and self storage solutions. Headquartered in Douglasville, Georgia, DBCI operates production facilities in Douglasville; Houston, Texas and Chandler, Arizona.

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Promoting Community Engagement Through Property Yard Sale

AbsoluteAbsolute Storage Management (ASM) takes pride in promoting community involvement through various events at their several property locations. All 80+ locations from the ASM portfolio participate in community events, partake in various drives, and host local events. Star Storage in Cumming, GA is no exception to this manner.

Star Storage is very excited to announce their own upcoming community event. Saturday, October 18, 2014, Star Storage on Canton Highway will be hosting their first ever community yard sale for their respective communities.

Star Storage’s event will take place Saturday morning from 8am-2pm for the Cumming, Ball Ground, Ducktown, Freehome, Dawsonville, and Alpharetta communities. Tenants are encouraged to come by and set up a booth in order to sell all of their yard sale items. Participants are asked to provide their own tables or means of display. There are no participation costs associated with this yard sale and all proceeds are to be kept by the sellers. Community members are encouraged to come to the property and shop the participating units and booths. Star Storage is located at 2460 Canton Hwy, Cumming, GA. If you are interested please call the property manager at 770-886-8668 for more details.

Property Managers Lisa Anglin and Brittany Brookshire are excited to host this inaugural event. They are planning to have food, friends, and fun at this event. Come out and join the community at Star Storage on October 18, 2014.

Absolute Storage Management

Absolute Storage Management (ASM) is a self storage management company founded in 2002, and is a leading provider of third-party management services in the Southeastern USA region. ASM holds its headquarters in Memphis, TN with regional offices in Atlanta, GA; Charlotte, NC; and Jackson, MS. The company operates over 80 properties in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

For further information and news about Absolute Storage Management, please go to the ASM website at www.absolutemgmt.com.

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Self-Storage REIT Sector Continues To Outperform

According to an article published by Benzinga.com, savvy investors seeking the Holy Grail of growth and income hitched their wagons to the rising star of self-storage for the past two years.

This demand has resulted in excellent returns, but somewhat frothy valuations based upon price to FFO (funds from operations) multiples, a key REIT metric.

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During trading on October 14, Extra Space Storage, Inc (NYSE: EXR), Sovran Self Storage Inc (NYSE: SSS) and CubeSmart (NYSE: CUBE) all hit 52-week highs, while industry stalwart Public Storage (NYSE: PSA) continues to perform steadily for blue chip investors.

Related Link: U.S. Industrial REITs: An Island Of Strength Within A Sea Of Red Ink

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Timely Analyst Coverage

On October 14, Jefferies initiated coverage of most of these companies.

Jefferies started CubeSmart at a Buy with a price target of $23, or ~20.6 percent above the previous close of $19.03 per share. During interday trading on October 14, CubeSmart shares rose to a 52-week high of $19.73, and closed up 3.15 percent for the day.

After the bell, CubeSmart announced a 6.5-million share secondary offering, which resulted in the stock giving back the day’s gains in after-hours trading.

Jefferies initiated Sovran Self Storage with a similarly bullish Buy rating and $89 price target, a 12.4 percent upside from the previous day close of $79.16 per share.

Jefferies initiated Public Storage with a Hold rating and a $181 price target, a 7.5-percent increase from the previous day close of $168.31 per share.

Jefferies Group had upgraded Extra Space Storage to a Buy on September 17, with a price target of $57, an 11.3-percent increase from the previous day close of $51.20 per share.

Self-Storage Supply And Demand

Since the Great Recession there have been relatively few new self-storage facilities constructed in the U.S. During a recent ISI Conference panel, Extra Space CEO Spencer Kirk characterized it as “a muted supply.” He elaborated that during the 2003 to 2007 time period there were ~2,600 storage facilities built each year.

The self-storage industry is quite fragmented, with many mom and pop operators. Extra Space no longer develops new projects but was formerly the largest developer, accounting for only 15 new projects out of 2,600.

Today it is estimated that there are more than 50,000 self-storage locations in the U.S., with only 300 to 700 being built.

Why So Few?

It typically can take from three to four years to lease a brand new facility to the point of stabilized occupancy of 80 percent or greater. Small local developers who historically had accounted for the vast majority of the newly constructed projects now face some significant headwinds, including:

  • Bank loans are difficult to come by, partially due to the long period of negative returns prior to stabilization of a property. There is no such thing as “pre-leasing” in the self-storage business.
  • Lending standards have tightened, which has resulted in less favorable terms for private developers who are able to get an acquisition and development loan.
  • The price of land has increased as the economy has improved.
  • Yellow Page advertising and drive-by traffic are no longer the primary means of marketing self-storage. The large public operators have sophisticated call-centers, spend millions on paid Google search, and can reach customers effectively on their mobile devices. The game has changed, with smaller operators effectively being forced to pay a 6 percent third party management fee to a national brand and give up the insurance proceeds to the operator as well.

Why Self-Storage REITs Make Sense

Self-storage demand drivers are not nearly as correlated to the health of the economy compared to many other REIT sectors such as office, retail, and lodging. However, in a similar fashion to hotels, self-storage can change pricing on a daily basis to respond to changes in occupancy and local market conditions.

Assuming a facility is well located, demand has historically been a function of life changing events: marriage/divorce, death/birth, upsize or downsize in residence, both going to and returning from college, etc. Historically, approximately 80 percent of customers are consumers, while 20 percent of revenue is from businesses.

On average, 6 to 7 percent of customers turn over per month. Not being locked into long-term leases helps self-storage REITs maintain leasing spreads between monthly rental income and the cost of capital — helping to offset the tendency for REIT shares to fall when 10-year Treasury Note rates are expected to rise.

Tale of the Tape

Based upon information provided by MLV Research for the week ended October 10, the REIT Industry is trading in the range of 17.1x 2014E and 15.9x 2015E funds from operations.

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By way of comparison, the self-storage REIT sector trades at higher multiples, with $29 billion market cap Public Storage and $6.2 billion Extra Space Storage trading at premium valuations compared with $2.8 billion CubeSmart and $2.6 billion Sovran. Public Storage has a fortress balance sheet and an A investment grade rating; Extra Space Storage leads the sector in third party management and JV’s, which provides Extra Space a source of seasoned properties to fuel future growth.

Read more: http://www.benzinga.com/analyst-ratings/analyst-color/14/10/4922367/self-storage-reit-sector-continues-to-outperform-hits-52#ixzz3GhyOOe8b

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MANAGING THE TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE NEEDED TO RUN  A RECORD CENTER,  O’NEIL SOFTWARE ANNOUNCES NEW CLOUD SERVICE – HOSTED RS-SQL®.

oneil-logoRemote hosting is something that is growing in popularity today and why wouldn’t it?  It can provide great service at a great price.  There’s no hardware to buy, an in-house IT team is not required and companies can free themselves of the responsibility for maintaining their on-premise software installation. For these very reasons and more, it can be a wise choice and one that many of O’Neil Software customers have chosen to make, or are actively considering.  This way, they can continue to access O’Neil’s state-of-the-art technology, reduce IT expenditures and focus more on growing their records management business.

 O’Neil Software, Inc., a provider of technology solutions for commercial and corporate records management for over 30 years, recently announced their Hosted RS-SQL service.  When considering all the costs associated with running O’Neil’s RS-SQL (for example, hardware and software maintenance, system upgrades and backups), in an internal record center server environment, a great deal of economic value can be realized by taking advantage of O’Neil’s  new service.  This offering negates the need for record centers to make large investments to manage local IT resources, for the purpose of running and maintaining an RS-SQL installation.  By using the O’Neil cloud service, record centers have a competitive advantage.  They can focus more time directly on their records management customers and new opportunities, knowing that O’Neil has their back on the application software and technology services side.

David Holt, O’Neil’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) notes:  “Through economies of scale and the leveraging of O’Neil’s core competencies, our company can offer record centers advanced technologies and services at a significantly reduced cost. For example, databases hosted by O’Neil will be encrypted.  We will do this at a cost far below what a record center would have to pay, if it tried to implement it independently and on-premises.  And it’s quite likely that database encryption will become a pre-requisite for meeting the requirements of existing and emerging regulations for protecting sensitive data in the health and financial arenas.”

About O’Neil Software

The Clear Advantage.   Committed to leading the industry for over 30 years, O’Neil Software has remained The FIRST Choice of Record Centers Worldwide.   Our technology is installed in over 85 countries, ranging from start-ups to multi-nationals. O’Neil’s solutions manage/track multiple types of data including traditional storage boxes, file folders, documents and tapes; from deposit to destruction, work order to invoice. Our flagship product, RS-SQL, is the most competitively priced software solution on the market, ensuring record center productivity and profitability.

O’Neil’s complete RS-SQL Automated Records Management Software Package includes:

Motorola® Award-Winning RSMobile® Software

  • Records Management Software
  • Secure Destruction Management
  • Media Management and Rotation
  • Invoicing
  • Digital Imaging
  • Client RSWeb®.NET Software

O’Neil is also known as the industry pioneer for barcode tracking, portable printers, wireless handhelds and web technology.  The company provides worldwide coverage, with offices in California, Florida, United Kingdom and Australia.  For more information, visit our website at www.oneilsoft.com.

Source: O’Neil Software

Media Contact – O’Neil Software
Chris Spisto, 949-458-1234
marketing@oneilsoft.com

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MORNINGSTAR PROPERTIES ACQUIRES SIX NEW STORAGE PROPERTIES IN TEXAS

MorningstarLogoCharlotte, N.C.-based Morningstar Properties has expanded its Texas holdings by acquiring six new locations. The new properties, located in the Austin and San Antonio markets, add 430,000 square feet of facility space and nearly 3,000 storage units to the company’s portfolio.

AUSTIN AREA LOCATIONS:

  • 1001 West Goforth, Buda, TX 78610
  • 10220 US HWY 290 West, Austin, TX 78736
  • 4221 Ranch Road 260 North, Austin, TX 78734

SAN ANTONIO AREA LOCATIONS

  • 38835 IH 10 West, Boerne, TX 78006
  • 4715 US HWY 281 North, Spring Branch, TX 78070
  • 3627 E. Evans Road, San Antonio, TX 78259

The new facilities will join Morningstar’s two existing properties in Houston, expanding the company’s assets in the state to over 550,000 square feet and nearly 4,000 storage units. Morningstar currently owns and operates 35 storage properties, mostly concentrated in the Southern United States.

morningstar

“These acquisitions quadrupled the number of properties Morningstar owns and operates in Texas and are a good indication of how bullish we are about the opportunities and growth trends in the state,” said Dave Benson, President of Morningstar Properties. “Given their proximity to multi-family residential, growing commercial corridors and college campuses, we expect these new properties to do very well for us.”

Morningstar funded the Texas acquisitions and all other property purchases and development since 2013 using its self-sponsored, private equity vehicle, Blue Doors Storage Fund I.

For more information, please visit mstarproperties.com.

About Morningstar Properties: Morningstar Properties is a vertically integrated real estate developer, owner and operator of specialty real estate products focused primarily on self-storage and marinas in the Southeast United States. Since 1981, Morningstar has developed, acquired and operated over 150 self-storage projects across the country totaling in excess of 10 million square feet. Currently the company manages a network of 35 storage properties under the brand name of Morningstar Mini-Storage in nine states, mostly concentrated in the South. In addition to storage centers, Morningstar owns and operates 12 marinas across the Southeast and Great Lakes. The corporate headquarters are located in Charlotte, NC. The company’s growth is funded through Blue Doors Capital Partners, Morningstar’s private equity firm focused on investing in the acquisition and development of self-storage centers.

 

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The New Issue of Self-Storage Now is Available!

4Q14 SSN CoverThe 4th Quarter 2014 Issue of

Self-Storage Now

is available!

CLICK HERE TO READ

Want to subscribe to this publication so you receive your issue direct in the future?

Click HERE NOW!

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The October Issue of Mini-Storage Messenger is Now Available!

MSM-SSN1014 DigCoverThe October Issue of Messenger is now available!

Visit www.ministoragemessenger.com to preview this month’s articles!

Not a subscriber?

Click HERE to order your digital or print subscription today!

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Look Who’s Talking:  Jerry Jones – The Self Storage CPA

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www.ministoragemessenger.com 

By Erica Shatzer

It’s probably safe to say that there isn’t a single self-storage owner in the world who isn’t interested in making more money from their investment. Likewise, it’s doubtful that any self-storage operator wants to lose money at a property he or she manages. While there are plenty of ways to increase income at your facility, such as offering ancillary services and selling retail goods, there are methods to turn a larger profit with minimal effort.

Line It Up

Before you can increase your income, you need to figure out where you make a profit and where you spend money. “Take the time to really understand your operating income statement. It’s really plain and simple,” says Jerry Jones, owner of The Self Storage CPA and a certified personal accountant who has been serving the self-storage industry for more than 25 years as a tax and business advisor. “As long as you understand line items you can control everything related to your financials.”

Jones suggests hiring someone to evaluate your income and separate everything into individual line items. For example, boxes, locks, late fees, truck rentals, tenant insurance premiums, and unit rentals would each be listed as a separate line item. The same example would apply to your self-storage facility’s expenses. Additionally, when it comes to your marketing expenses Jones says to split it up by each individual marketing campaign or media outlet to figure out which gives you the most bang for your buck. If you keep good records, you can compare your leads to your marketing line items to determine which marketing campaigns are—or are not—worth the money.

“When your all of your income is consolidated you don’t know exactly where your income is coming from,” he says. “Line items enable you to know where you are spending too much money, where you can cut costs, and where to raise fees. Having your gross income and costs broken down into line items can help you increase your profits and reduce expenses.”

Tax Tips

Although the tax season is a time that many people typically dread, Jones says that doing your taxes is a good time to plan for the future. “Doing the actual tax return is the easy part,” says Jones. “While you are preparing your tax returns you should really be planning for next year. Doing your taxes can help you figure out how to cut expenses to make more money in the future.”
Moreover, by hiring a certified public accountant or tax professional to prepare your taxes you can take full advantage of available tax deductions that you may not have known existed. “Some people don’t know this,” says Jones, “but you can deduct items like seminar costs and educational workshop fees.” In addition, don’t forget about the federal, state, and local tax breaks for environmentally-friendly initiatives such as solar panels. These “green” tax deductions and the Section 179 provision, which allows taxpayers to deduct the cost of certain types of property and equipment as an expense, can enable self-storage facilities to significantly cut costs. And the good news is that the Section 179 provision, which was set to drop to a cap of $25,000 in 2013, has been extended. The $500,000 limit will not drop to $25,000 until 2014.

Do The Math

One of the most logical ways to make sure your self-storage facility isn’t losing money is to keep close tabs on the retail items sold on site. This is easily achieved by conducting a monthly inventory of every item the facility sells. Then compare your item counts to the amounts originally purchased and the amounts sold to ensure that items haven’t been lost or stolen. However, Jones says that it isn’t necessary to count boxes by each individual size. “You can count boxes as one item to save time. The totals for every box size you sell aren’t as important as the overall quantity of boxes.” On the other hand, counting the boxes by size can help you figure out which sizes are your best sellers when it comes time to place a supply order.

In addition to conducting routine inventory, it is essential to perform regular audits of your facility’s financials. Storage audits can increase your site’s operational efficiency and detect employee theft. Although Jones recommends hiring someone to conduct your self-storage facility’s audits, it is possible to do it yourself. There are several storage-specific tools available that can effectively guide you through the auditing process, such as the late Tom Litton’s book Auditing Self-Storage: Preventing Employee Theft & Embezzlement and an online video presented by Ann Parham and MiniCo about the subject. There are even audit checklists and forms that you can download to help keep you on the right track.

Speaking of employee embezzlement, Jones offers some good advice about how to spot possible theft. “Be sure to go out and count the empty doors,” Jones says. “Check your units and compare the numbers in your accounting software to what’s listed in the site management software. Look for inconsistencies and review the gate access report to ensure that your managers aren’t ‘renting’ units under the table.” He also suggests varying the days and times that you conduct your monthly checks to keep your managers honest. “You have to look at every single way they can steal to make sure they don’t. And be wary of managers who don’t want to take time off; they may have something to hide. Keep an eye on the details.”

A few other red flags include storage managers who live beyond their means, managers who are experiencing financial hardship, managers who have gambling addictions, managers who claim to be the facility’s owner, managers who maintain particularly close relationships with vendors, and managers who exhibit excessive control issues. Here is some additional food for thought: Although conducting background checks and credit checks can thwart some criminals from becoming employees at your self-storage properties, according to the 2012 Marquet Report on Embezzlement, less than five percent of major embezzlers have a prior criminal history. Moreover, the report states that 62.7 percent of embezzlement incidents were committed by women and 63.4 percent of major embezzlers are employees with bookkeeping or finance positions.

Erica Shatzer is a freelance editor and writer based in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania.

JerryJones CLASSY

 

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