How often do you meet a self storage owner and self storage property broker? Michael Morrison, owner of Rosewood Self Storage, brings a unique insight to the self storage industry.
As a commercial real estate broker for Midcoast Properties, Morrison is a licensed real estate broker in four states, offering broker services for self storage facilities in Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Before he got into the self storage business, Morrison was one of the top residential and commercial real estate brokers in the country with ERA. That all changed when Morrison began managing his first self storage property on the side.
“I really didn’t know a lot about self storage when I first got involved,” said Morrison. “I knew one of the owners as a family friend, and he was looking for a property manager. I realized within a few months of running the business that this was a good business to get involved in. For me, it was a good fit.”
After managing the self storage property for two years, Morrison pulled the trigger in 2013 to purchase his first facility in Columbia, South Carolina. Now, Morrison utilizes storEDGE to run two facilities in Columbia under the Rosewood Self Storage brand, totaling over 50,000 sq foot at 410 Superior St and 212 South Sumter St. The facilities both offer traditional storage and temperature-controlled units, as well as secure 24-hour access, truck rentals, and RV, car, and boat parking.
“When I took over the 410 Superior St facility, it wasn’t very automated. It had a dated gate system, wasn’t using cloud-based management software, and a very poor online presence. You had to actually go to the facility to get pricing and rent a unit,” said Morrison. “So when I bought the facility, I started searching for better ways to automate the business to make it much more convenient for customers to rent units.”
“First, I upgraded our online presence to a storEDGE marketing website. About six months later, I upgraded to the storEDGE facility management software. Some of the delay was just the process of switching over data, but storEDGE made it very easy to do. The process went very smoothly.“
Since his purchase of Rosewood Self Storage, Morrison has seen strong revenue growth that he attributes to online presence and automation, as well as the properties being locally owned and operated.
“Because I work as a broker during the day, it was important for me to be able to answer calls and rent units from home in the evenings. I’m able to move in a tenant from my cell phone by asking just a few questions, or I can direct them to our website. It’s always up-to-date on what’s available, so we never get overbooked, and when units come available, they can be rented out immediately.”
Morrison is also interested in expanding his real estate portfolio with more self storage properties, but he’s careful to always put his clients’ needs above his own.
“I’d like to continue to add more properties to my portfolio. I’ve always got my eye on things. Because I sell self storage, I am very careful when looking at a property for myself because I have a fiduciary duty to look out for my clients’ best interests. We follow a series of steps to ensure property valuations are thorough. Based on the value range, we market each storage property and coordinate with the owners to determine an asking price that is competitive based on current market conditions.”
Morrison is optimistic about the current state of the self storage industry, with his years of expertise and commercial real estate knowledge helping clients find ideal markets for acquisitions and development. Because he’s a self storage owner himself, he’s able to offer his two cents on technology and mobile use.
“Technology is playing a big factor in the self storage industry. You can really automate most of the process now. Some owners have found a way to automate the whole process. I do not think technology has fully replaced the on-site manager, but it has been able to free up time for the manager to take care of other responsibilities on-site to enhance revenue. For example, instead of a manager spending half a day calling all the late tenants, a professional self storage software like storEDGE can send a text or email reminder to the tenant. The manager can then spend their time more efficiently by preparing and cleaning the units. It really drives occupancy and revenue when the customer can do everything from their computer and their mobile phone, versus a facility that doesn’t have those amenities,” says Morrison. “Moving forward, technology is becoming more of a necessity to run your business.”
Thank you Rosewood Self Storage! At storEDGE, we are proud to work with clients who excel at what they do, care about their customers, and lead the industry in technology. If you liked this article, you may also like: Client Spotlight: Byrd’s Mini Storage, Client Spotlight: Columbia Storage Group, and Client Spotlight: Castlerock Interests, LLC.