There is a revolution going on in the labor market and the implications are rumbling through all areas of employment. How will self-storage fare in the newfound quest of employees to fight for staggering wage increases. In this Self-Storage University podcast we’re going to explore this timely topic as the wage war rages on.
Episode 86: Does UPS And UAW Mean Your Are In Trouble? Transcript
You see it all the time in the media today, situations where workers are rising up. They are revolting against their employers. You see UPS, which pushed for and received a massive pay hike, where the average driver is making $170,000 a year, more than the average dentist. And right now, you're seeing the UAW strike, in which Shawn Fain from the UAW is trying to demand a 40% increase in wages and a drop from a five-day to a four-day work week. And it makes you start to wonder, Does UPS and UAW mean you are in trouble as an employer? This is Frank Rolfe, the Self Storage University Podcast. We're talking about the simple fact that having employees is becoming ever more difficult. Finding people who will work for normal, reasonable amounts and sticking on that job and showing up at work is becoming quite the struggle, a struggle that none of us ever thought would actually occur. So what happened? How did everyone get so unhappy? Not too long ago, everyone seemed pretty pleased with their work and their workplace. And then what happened? Well, in came COVID, and it was a giant snow day for adults.
I know that my daughter, when she was in school, when we had a snow day here in rural Missouri, it was nearly impossible to get her to go to school the first day after the snow day ended. She was spoiled. She wanted to sleep late, have no homework, talk on the phone with her friends. And when you have a snow day, it's very corrupting influence. And never before had the United States ever literally shut itself down voluntarily. Just told everyone, "Stay home. Don't go to work. Don't get up. Don't do anything. Just watch television." And in so doing, it's very, very hard for adults apparently to get re-acclimated to being adults. They just don't wanna do it, they don't wanna get up, they don't wanna go to work, they don't wanna have anyone telling them what to do. And as a result, you're seeing it now in a large scale where people don't wanna do it anymore. A recent study showed that most millennials believe to have a job worthy of getting up, you have to make at least 80,000 a year. Well, that sounds great, except for most of the jobs for the millennials don't pay 80,000 a year. So suddenly out of nowhere, the American workforce has become basically less productive, yet more demanding of more money, and that spells a definite catastrophe for employers.
If you look at Ford's response to the UAW, where they said if they had adopted anything like they're demanding at the UAW, they would have already gone bankrupt after only a couple of years. And so you have workers today that wanna push business basically into insolvency, and they do so when they're not even any good. If you look at the productivity of the American worker compared to what they're getting paid, you'll see there's a huge offset, because they're demanding more and more and more, but yet they're not producing anything more and more to justify it. So what happens when you have a Self Storage facility that needs a manager? Well, the first thing you should do is you should be overjoyed that you only have to have one person to manage a Self Storage facility, because businesses that have lots and lots of workers, like McDonald's or Burger King, those are going to have a difficult time going forward in a modern America. Any business that relies and has multiple numbers of employees will be the toughest thing to own and operate in the entire galaxy. But the good news is Self Storage facilities as a business don't have a lot of people. So that's one good item to think about with a Self Storage facility is, "Hey, I only have to deal with one worker and not 10, or 100, or 1000." Just imagine how miserable that would make your life.
And the next observation is, "Hey, let's try and use as little people as we need to. Let's see if there's not a way to even automate that Self Storage facility so we don't need folks much. Or maybe in some cases, people at all." People have been working for ages now on such issues as kiosks and other technology to preclude the necessity of the on-site manager. And if you can adapt those technologies to your Self Storage facility so that you don't need a full-time person but can share them over maybe other properties as well, that will be a great boon to you, because you don't have to mess with these workers and all of their demands. It gives you an offset to their ever-increasing wages. It also means you need to look for managers who are not completely money-driven.
There's a group of workers out there in America that work because they have the old-fashioned values, where they believe that what makes people healthy in the relationship with their common man is to actually work and to earn money. They also like to play, they like to have fun, but they also have a work ethic. And for many Self Storage facility owners to dig deep and to get those folks with work ethic, you may have to also look at people from the old school. Often, retired individuals and couples make wonderful Self Storage managers for many reasons, including the fact that they typically have that old work ethic. And when you see that work ethic in anyone regardless of age, you should be immediately attracted to it, because it's hard to find. People simply don't wanna work anymore. They don't wanna get up, they don't wanna show up, and that can destroy your business.
Also watch for should people who are not just money-motivated, their life is not revolving simply around dollars of incentive a job, but instead, what they get to do. When you manage your Self Storage facility, one nice item is you're kind of your own boss. There's no one standing there over looking at what you do. It's not like working in a bank as a teller where the bank manager is watching you either on a camera or standing right behind you the whole time, but a Self Storage manager pretty much dictates what they do, with some degree of autonomy, without having to worry about people looking over their shoulder. And to many people that makes that job much, much more pleasant. The bottom line to it is we are in a tough time as a nation right now concerning employees. And Self Storage facility owners are very, very fortunate on the simple fact that they don't have to get that involved with workers. They only need one. It's not like Lay's potato chips where after you get one, you want another. No, no, no. In today's world, you really don't want another. You're more than happy just to settle for one. This is Frank Rolfe, The Self Storage University Podcast. Hope you enjoyed this. Talk to you again soon.