What Is It Like To Be A Self Storage Manager?
SM: Shantal McGowan - Manager at Stor-Age Gardens
NDP: Nico Du Plessis - Manager at Stor-Age Centurion
IE: Isghaack Ebrahim - Manager at Stor-Age Table View
Stor-Age: How long have you been working at Stor-Age and what was your previous job?
HDP: Just under 2 years now. My previous job was as Assistant Store Manager for Xtra Vision (DVD rental and electronic sales) in Arklow, Ireland.
SM: Four years, previously in car rental for 13 years.
NDP: 1 Year, Senior Front of House Manager at an Italian Restaurant, Irene, Centurion.
IE: Started on the 22nd March 2013, just over 2 year now. I was with retail operations, we did audits and security for the Edcon group at the time.
Stor-Age: Did you get any training to be a self storage manager?
HDP: Yes, I trained in Cape Town for 3 weeks
IE: Stor-Age sends us on various training courses throughout the year; a lot of the store manager training is done in store.
Stor-Age: What time do you start working?
HDP: Depends on my shift, either 7.30 on 9.00am (I am in usually a bit earlier though)
IE: Shifts vary and in a store like Table View we have three different starting times, 07:30/08:00 and 9:00am.
Stor-Age: When is the first cup of coffee?
Stor-Age: What do you do next?
NDP: Turn on all the laptops, PC’s, unlock the front door, kitchen door, open the safety doors in front of the windows. Open my emails, Site Link. Site walk around 07:45. Tell the FA’s what to do for the day (cleaning the site etc.) Answer my emails, do the monthly planner, go for a site around 12:00, cash-up with the FA’s about the mornings work and discussed the afternoon workload on site. Final walk through around 16:00 to finish the day off. During the course of the day, help customers that come to the store, answer the phone etc.
Stor-Age: Is every day the same?
HDP: Not at all, every day varies, you would be surprised at how busy a Self Storage Facility can be and how many people lose their keys.
Stor-Age: On average how many customers do you talk to in the day?
HDP: Around 15 – 20 including follow ups and people phoning in.
IE: That is really tough to answer, it’s so sporadic. We do speak to many clients during the day. Face to face, telephonically and via email. Today, if I guess, I definitely spoke to more than 15 different people.
Stor-Age: What is the best part of the job?
SM: Interacting with different people every day, I love chatting and I love selling, so I love my job, because it entails chatting and selling. Selling space is the best part of my job, and closing deals.
NDP: To see the site growing (Occupancy) and to see the amount of enquiries the store is getting every day, it means our product is working.
Stor-Age: What is the worst part of the job?
HDP: Probably calling debtors, but I have grown used to dealing with them now at this stage as well.
Stor-Age: Have you met any famous or interesting people?
NDP: No-one famous, but Gareth Daniell, South Africa's braai boy, he is going for a record, when he moved in he said his target is to braai for 365 days straight.
IE: Unfortunately I keep missing them; Collin Moss and Peter Grant were clients at stores I worked at. They were there before I arrived. Interesting? I don’t think there will be enough space to answer that!
Stor-Age: What is the worst thing that has happened to you on the job?
NDP: I had a leaking roof and when I went to inspect it the water that was laying in the gutter came pouring down on-top of me. Luckily it was summer.
IE: Ripped my pants showing a client a unit, it was too obvious, I couldn’t hide it! The client was great though, giggled and moved in!
Stor-Age: What is the best thing that has happened to you on the job?
IE: A client took me for a drive on De Waal Drive in a R35 Nissan Skyline.
Stor-Age: If you could change one thing about the job what would it be?
NDP: Get a percolator coffee machine for the shop.
IE: Instead of using our legs, a golf kart to take clients around would be amazing.
Stor-Age: What are the other staff like?
NDP: Awesome, getting along with everybody, my staff at the store plus other store staff.
IE: Other staff at Stor-Age are awesome! Very different to what I’ve experienced before. They are always willing to help and we often have team building events or braais.
Stor-Age: Why should someone else want to be a self storage manager?
HDP: Running your own site is almost like running your own business (and I treat it as such, to a certain extent), which is something I have always wanted to do. I think I get to make decisions and have to think quickly sometimes, which is fantastic, I love the challenge. I think managing my own site has given me a lot of discipline and self-assurance in my own abilities.
NDP: Because the company is growing at a massive speed, the opportunity to be a manager is there and to be in charge of a site that you must run and look after is a big challenge, you must keep the customer happy, manage the staff, maintain your site and hit your targets. If you are able to find your feet, then the next opportunity is there to grow with the company and other positions will be opening for you.
SM: Its' challenging, your day is never the same, and you are busy all the time.
IE: I think if you are looking to develop various skills, then Stor-Age is a good way to go. There are many growth opportunities and if you work hard, opportunities present themselves. The growth in the company is very tough to explain to anyone from the outside because it is so huge.
If you feel like you could contribute to the fastest growing self storage company in Africa then check out our Stor-Age Careers page for positions currently open.