How to Hire a Great Self Storage Property Manager

August 14, 2018

Few industries are like the self storage industry in that the success or failure of a location relies so considerably on one or two employees - the property managers.
5 min

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Few industries are like the self storage industry in that the success or failure of a location relies so considerably on one or two employees - the property managers.

Finding a qualified manager can be exhaustive and usually is a lengthy process if done right.

Self storage facility owners or upper management can go through many managers trying to find the right one if not done right.

High turnover is costly, bad for morale, adds stress for owners and other employees, and most importantly will look bad to your customers.

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According to Storage Asset Management, the smartest self storage owners are always recruiting. It doesn't hurt to always be looking, even in the times that you are fully staffed.

As you meet people who have a knack for sales and customer service but also don't mind getting hands-on for tasks like cleaning units, take a note. Make sure they remember you too, whether you say something memorable to them or give them a business card.

Having a list of contacts and individuals in the community who could be potential managers will be extremely valuable when it comes time to hire.

Keep tabs on the "movers and shakers" in the community. Ask employees and even the competition if they know of useful contacts. A great manager might be at a facility down the street. If you think working for you would be better, you could try to convince them as well.

During your search, you may want to keep it local. There are plenty of internet job sites to filter through, but find ones that allow you to focus on the area you serve; Linkedin,,, local papers, and craigslist are always an excellent place to start.

A local hire should have a better understanding of local norms, customs, and marketing opportunities that someone outside the community would not have.

Be clear and specific in your ad postings about what you are looking for in a manager. Doing so will help set expectations early and weed out applicants who do not have the necessary qualifications.


Gather resumes of potential candidates that you would like to interview. The essential qualities you want in a manager are the following:

  • Self-concept: you want a manager who takes pride in their work, but can also accept criticism from you or your customers
  • Self-motivated: property managers must be good at working independently; a majority of their time at work will be spent alone and unsupervised.
  • Outgoing: in self storage, the property manager will be the face of your company at the location they work. They must be able to cultivate a desirable environment for customers.
  • Sales-oriented and customer-centric: nothing a manager does matters if your facility has no tenants. A great manager can rent units, and keep them rented for as long as possible by making the customer experience the best it can be.

Whether or not you are open to hiring someone new to the industry, there are some essential items to look for on a resume. One of the most common red flags to look for is many jobs with short amounts of time at each. Again, turnover can be costly in many ways.

Next, look for sales experience. Again, keeping your units rented is the most important job that a manager has. They need to sell the value of storing with your facility to potential tenants.

Another critical area of experience is management, be it in storage or not. Find out what or who they managed and what made them successful at it.

Finally, find out about their storage experience and how much they know about the industry. If the candidate is new to storage, maybe they have done some homework, marking them as a self-starter. If they aren't new, then they should have a good baseline knowledge and feel for day-to-day operating requirements.

Once you have a list of candidates, you may want to look at social media to find out more about the potential hire. While some people set their privacy settings to hide info from the public, many don't. You can look at profiles and posts to find out more about this person.

With a list of viable candidates, you are now ready to set up interviews.

Time is valuable, so consider creating a list of weed-out job interview questions to do over the phone first. This way, you will reduce the number of face-to-face interviews and save time.

Before you get to the face-to-face interviews, you might find it beneficial to require a personality test. According to Inside Self Storage, has a personality test designed for self storage managers.


Start the interview with an explanation of the job, the job expectations, and your company values.

Here are some ideas on information to ask about:

  • Their job experiences
  • Why they would be a good manager
  • If they are flexible- would they be willing to stay late if issues arise, or help out a sister property if necessary?
  • About their sales experience - what and how did they sell?
  • Did they make or exceed sales goals?
  • About customer service experience
  • For a specific example of how they handled a demanding customer
  • If they have the necessary technology skills - are they willing to learn?
  • Asking about what motivates them is a great way to discover how to incentivize them.
  • How they would prioritize tasks - look for someone who makes production and sales a priority
  • About some "what if" scenarios to see how the candidate would react
  • If they are willing to do cleaning and light maintenance
  • If they have basic accounting and cash handling skills
  • If they are willing to be trained
  • If they are self-motivated and can keep busy - managers may be alone for long periods of time. There is always something to do, especially at larger facilities.
  • What expectations they have

During the interview you should notice not just what, but how the candidate answers the questions.

The self storage industry requires good, and a good salesperson listens to their customer.

A candidate who answers the above questions by tying in your expectations and values is more likely to be a good salesperson. They can see what you, the customer, wanted and have tried to meet your expectations by selling themselves.


Along with all the usual items required with a hire, Learn Self Storage recommends that you do a background check. It's important to make sure the person operating your facility is trustworthy since he or she will be in charge of your business and your customers' possessions.

During the hiring process, you want to set goals and expectations early.

Also, you should support the new hire as much as possible or as much as they need to be successful. If a new hire is not trainable or will not represent the company's values, you must replace them yesterday.

The difference between an "ok" manager and a rock star manager can have significant implications on your bottom line.

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