Gabfocus Spotlight: What are move-out best practices and pitfalls?

August 31, 2023

self storage help video quote
3 min

How do you handle move-outs?

Do you require notice? What do you do about tenants that disappear without a trace and without removing their locks, leaving you to chase down payments that will never come?

Listen to Kevin Mullis and Denise Bowley discuss move-out notices and how to handle people leaving during the month.

Question: "What are move-out best practices and pitfalls?"

Check out the video clip below to hear their answers:


In this Gabfocus Session: Optimizing Your Day-to-Day, we sat down with Denise Bowley of Self Storage Science and Kevin Mullis of Bob White Self Storage. Their goal? Breaking down the day-to-day management of a self storage facility. They talked about best practices for rentals, move-ins, and more!

Check out the full Session to dive deeper! 

Don't want to watch the clip? Here's what Kevin and Denise had to say:

We don't require any type of notice as long as they're out by the last day of the month, have their lock taken off.

Just make sure they are understanding of that process.

Make sure everything is out of the unit. Make sure that lock is taken off. I mean, how many times have we cut a lock for auction, lifted that door, and nothing is in it?

We weren't notified.

So I would say just really make sure you nail that hard on them too. Whenever you see them. It looks like somebody's moving out. Always just stop and say, "Hey, just make sure if you're vacating everything's out, the locks off."

And of course, you can hit that during the move-in process too, but 90% of the time they're not going to remember that."

—Kevin Mullis

"I think a lot of our managers struggle with the fact that we're month to month, and the customer also struggles with the fact that we're month to month.

Even though we told them when they moved in we would not be prorating their rent, when they move out, they still expect us to do so, and we don't. And it is so hard, time after time, when customers want a refund or they just want to pay for a few days.

That's one of the most difficult things that I see our managers have to deal with pretty frequently.

The customers have been told, they just didn't listen. It's in the lease, which they didn't read.

But for the most part, we just tell them, "Well, you get to have it for another month so you don't have to be in a hurry to move out."

If someone moves out at the end of the month, but then our manager doesn't move them out until the first, they have to write off those charges as bad debt for the whole month unless they backdate the move-out.

And I really don't like that to happen unless the first is on a Sunday.

So we just view the reports to make sure everyone is moving out on time, if anyone did get prorated, if charges were written off, and we don't really track if they leave anything behind or not."

Denise Bowley

"Most of the time I've learned that it's better to just cut your losses, write that off, and then rent that unit back out.

It's not worth going, trying to go after the customer, trying to recover.

You're never going to see the money, you're just not. And why create a bad reputation with that customer when you could just write it off and rent that unit? Just make your revenue back."

—Kevin Mullis

"And that probably shouldn't be happening very often if you're in communication with your tenants the way that you need to be.

If they've not paid, collection starts day one. And if they're not responding by phone, text them or email them. Try your very best so that doesn't happen."

Denise Bowley

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