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In the Right Place at the Right Time and Making the Most of It.

It is often stated that sometimes the best things happen just because a person is in the right place at the right time. But what often fails to get mentioned is how a person makes the most of such good fortune.

Foy Dawkins, the California Self Storage Association Member of the Month for July, could tell you all about that. The manager of Budget Self Storage in Turlock realizes he was fortunate to get into self storage, but what he has made of it has been enough to impress the top brass at Self Storage Management of California and Mark Yandow, who recommended him for this story.

Dawkins is a Cleveland, Ohio, native who moved to Modesto in early 2012. The 29-year old attended Wright State University before transferring to the Art Institute of Dallas in Texas. He had done property management before moving to California, but never in the self storage realm. But his people skills, ability to listen closely to what his customers are saying and empathize, have made him a standout manager.

“I learned early on that no matter how much you may think you can judge a book by its cover, you are constantly surprised by the content,” says Dawkins. “Every customer is a new story, and it makes every customer interesting to me knowing that they are another puzzle you can try put together by asking the right questions.”

“We managers have a few minutes to make the customers feel comfortable about leaving their items in our care and we have a few minutes to let our personalities stand out and make them feel at home. And the big secret, put notes in your computer concerning something special about a customer -- like they are in med school or they have two kids or they are looking for a house. Anything that makes them feel like you have made the effort to remember who they are because, in the end, everyone wants to feel special.”

Dawkins’ ability to listen and show real concern for his customers comes with good and bad stories.

“Nothing is worse then seeing a family having to leave their home and nothing is better then seeing someone plans on moving their items out because out a new home is coming true,” adds Dawkins. “One sign I have noticed that tells me I’ve done the best customer service possible is when someone is putting in their notice to move and are so excited to tell me all about finding a new place. At the end of the day people will move in and move out and re-renting the unit out is not a problem. But for someone to be moving out and be so excited to tell you all about the next step in their life after the facility is priceless and probably a referral for a lifetime.”

Of course, it also helps Dawkins that he works at a facility that is regularly upgraded and for a company that believes in him.

“The best thing about this facility is that it is constantly being updated and modernized,” Dawkins says. “The facility has been around for about 30 years and most customers find that fact pretty unbelievable considering how up-to-date it is. We have brand new gate operators, new roofs, great security systems and our storage units look new inside and out. This facility takes pride in staying ahead of the curve whether it is our methods of payments, advertising or facility features and we will continue to do so.”

The Cleveland in Dawkins remains, thanks in large part to his being a huge Cleveland Browns fan (he feels sure the Browns will be in the playoffs this year). He also loves to travel. However, he equally enjoys his work, and credits Self Storage Management of California (SSMC) for that.

“When joining SSMC I told them I would work hard to learn and do the best job possible and they said they would put things and people in place to make it easy for me to make the transition and they did,” Dawkins concludes. “I instantly knew that this was a company that had intentions on being the best in the business and they felt I would be a good addition to team.

“So with a mixture of perfect timing and equal goals to push a facility to its limits of success everything came together perfectly. I have the best owners and it makes 100% difference when you know you have the support of the people that put their trust in you.”

Good timing is one thing – making the most of it is another. Foy Dawkins has been able to have both and his customers are the luckier for it.
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