Always Open Self Storage Owner Shows Up Naysayers
PHOENIX, Arizona – January 7th, 2011 – OpenTech Alliance is pleased to share the success story of a next generation self storage owner, Casey Cavell 25, President of Always Open Storage. Cavell purchased his first two self storage properties and operates them with the help of OpenTech’s INSOMNIAC self service kiosks.
Cavell was previously involved in the apartment industry as an owner and operator and recently jumped into the self storage industry. A close friend of Cavell’s, Scott Meyers, President of selfstorageinvesting.com, taught him how to find, negotiate and purchase self storage facilities. He attributes to the availability of innovative solutions like the INSOMNIAC Kiosk that allow him to automate many tasks of operating a self storage facility as a reason why he is investing in self storage. “When I first learned about these machines, I thought it was too good to be true. Could they really do all the things that the vendor claimed?” added Cavell
He was amazed and excited about the fact that the kiosk could rent units along with scanning the customer’s driver’s license, taking payments, offering tenant insurance, selling locks, and helping customers manage their accounts. Cavell knew he wanted facilities where he could hire a full or part time manager and implement a kiosk to pick up rentals and payments while his manager is busy, after office hours and on weekends. In March of 2009, Cavell acted on his business plan and purchased his first facility in Danville, Illinois with 255 units. The property was poorly managed and nearly every aspect of the business was operated like it was still 1990. “The previous owners were managing rent and available units with note cards,” said Cavell.
“I made one huge mistake early on in my ownership of this facility, it was not acting on my written business plan,” added Cavell. The kiosk was part of his business plan and early on he was fearful that it would not work and decided not to purchase a kiosk when he bought the property. With the population of 40,000 in his trading area, Cavell had people telling him that a kiosk wouldn’t work. “If I could give advice to people that are interested in purchasing a kiosk – it would be to not listen to all the industry naysayers. Because listening to them – cost me money,” said Cavell.
Cavell quickly found his nearly $22,000 in payroll was his largest expense of the business. Cavell knew what he had to do, so he made the call to OpenTech. In a matter of weeks, the kiosk was up and running. Staffed office hours for the facility were reduced from 37 hours a week to 22 saving $10,500 in payroll costs.
About 70 percent of Cavell’s customers use the kiosk with no problems, 20 percent had no idea where to start but easily caught on and now use it time after time. The final 10 percent protest they will never use the kiosk regardless of how easy it is. Cavell insists that he doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and continues to educate customers on the benefits of using the kiosk. He personally shows them how to use it and is pleased with how many of those 10 percent turn out to be kiosk lovers. Cavell found providing customized brochures to show his customers how to use their rental and payment center makes self service users out of many of them.
Since experiencing early success with Danville, Cavell wanted to add to his investments, so he purchased another property with 500 units in February 2010 in Covington, Georgia and has made that location his home office. “After opening the facility, I made another misstep in hiring an assistant manager,” added Cavell. The assistant manager’s position was to work solely on the manager’s day off. The employee turned out to be unreliable and difficult to train. “With the assistant manager’s performance, it didn’t take me long to order another kiosk,” said Cavell. The kiosk rented its first unit on a day when his assistant manager was working, but was out to lunch. “We may have lost that customer to the competitor down the street if the kiosk had not been in place,” said Cavell.
The assistant manager left the company about a month after the kiosk was installed. Cavell then decided to give a much deserved raise to his regional manager and still saved money in payroll costs. My regional manager trains our customers on how to use the kiosk, which ultimately frees up her time to get out of the office and execute marketing strategies. “We tell our managers, your job is not to take payments, it’s to rent units. The less time they are in the grind of taking payments the more units they rent. Our managers appreciate having a kiosk and I am loving the affects that it has on our bottom line,” said Cavell.
Facility Statistics – Pre and Post Kiosk
Payroll Pre Kiosk
Payroll Post Kiosk
Total Monthly Savings
Total Yearly Savings
Value at 9.5% Cap on NOI
“It is my goal to help owners in the industry prevent making the same mistake I did – and that is not taking action,” said Cavell “Implementing a self service option for our customers has allowed me to reach goals that were beyond my expectations and I’m already looking for my next facility. I can actually enjoy a vacation now, knowing that my storage facilities are always being managed”. As the article was written, Cavell was watching the sun go down in the middle of August at his lake home all while thinking how nice of a feeling it is to know that his INSOMNIAC kiosk will be hard at work all evening at both of his facilities.
OpenTech Alliance, Inc. is the leading developer of innovative self-storage solutions. The company products and services include 6 models of INSOMNIAC Kiosks ranging from $5,500 to $18,000, INSOMNIAC Live! call center services and the INSOMNIAC Self Storage Network for online storage reservations. OpenTech products and services improve customer convenience, reduce operating costs and increase revenues for self-storage facilities. For more information or to see an online demo, please visit www.opentechalliance.com or call (602) 749-9370.
OpenTech Alliance, Inc.
NOTE TO EDITORS: OpenTech Alliance, the OpenTech logo and INSOMNIAC are trademarks of OpenTech Alliance, Inc. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners. INSOMNIAC is protected by U.S. patent number 5,946,660.