Interview with Resident Manager Sandy Reiling

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American Self Storage

Let's start off with a little background about yourself and American Self Storage.

I have worked in the self-storage industry for approximately 10 years both in Arizona and Texas. I became a part of the American Self Storage family in January of 2013 when Dennis Peterson purchased the property.

How did you start working here?

I began working at the Phoenix facility in October 2012 as a resident manager when the facility was known as All Storage. The property was then purchased by Dennis in January of 2013.

What is the difference between a resident manager and a manager?

A resident manager lives on-site in an apartment, which is typically attached to the office. A manager is someone who is only on property during business hours.

As a resident manager, what are you daily duties?

My daily duties consist of the day-to-day operations of the facility such as renting units, making collection calls, scheduling auctions, selling and ordering merchandise, following up on sales leads, marketing and minor advertising of specials.

What are some common questions customers ask?

"What type of specials do you have?" "How secure is your facility?" "Do I really the protection plan?" "Why do you require a specific type of lock?"

Most customers often ask questions because they have never used self-storage before and want to know how it works. As a self-storage manager it is my responsibility to ask the prospective tenant questions in order to ensure they get the correct size unit at the best price. I ask general questions about the items they will be storing, how many bedrooms? Will they be storing appliances? Will there be boxes, if so how many? How often do they need to access the unit? How long will they be storing their items? These questions help me clarify what the prospective tenant needs.

Have there been any funny or interesting stories that have happened throughout the years?

Probably the funniest story happened while working at another facility in Phoenix. The facility was a mid-size facility with only inside storage. The aisles within the facility were named after streets in the surrounding neighborhood. A new tenant asked directions to her unit. Using the names of the aisles I responded (I am not using the real street names) "Go down Jefferson, take a right on Lender, and the unit will be on the right, just check for the number". The tenant thanked me and walked out the door and drove away. I thought that was strange since she needed to put things in her unit. About thirty minutes later she came back, frustrated, and said I drove down Jefferson, took a right on Lender, but I cannot find my unit. She had misunderstood and thought I meant the actual street. Trying not to laugh I took her to her unit, she was quite embarrassed. What did I learn from that? Never just tell a tenant directions, walk them to their unit.

What do you enjoy about this job, what do you dislike about it?

I enjoy the interactions I with my tenants. Moving can be quite stressful. It is my goal to make their experience as pleasant as possible. Although auctions are a necessity at times I dislike having to sell someone belongings. This process is quite stressful and emotional for the tenant.

What is one thing you don't see customers take advantage of?

Our referral program we have. Although we tell them about the program at the time of rental, it is advertised in our office, and I remind them of the program when I make what I call "my welcome call" the week following their move-in many forget that we have it. This program gives a tenant, business alliance, or really anyone a check for $25 when someone they refer rents a unit or parking space at our facility. We love to give that $25 away!

How do I like working as a resident manager?

I really like working in the self-storage industry. As I said before moving is often an emotional and stressful event for many people. It is my goal to ease a little of that stress and to make obtaining a unit for their belongings a smooth and easy process.