The self-storage business seems pretty straightforward at first glance but is actually much more complicated than it looks. There are a lot of things to keep in mind; therefore, good planning and dedication are required if you want to succeed. A lot of small choices you make today will have a huge impact on the future. However, if you approach the self-storage business with the right attitude, it can lead to financial security. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to enter this industry.
Build or buy?
This is the first question you need to answer when entering the self-storage business: should you build a new storage facility or buy an existing one? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. It all depends on your location and the opportunities on the market. Therefore, the first thing that you need to do is perform market research. Spend as much time as possible learning about the storage industry, find the market segment that you want to enter, study the competition and find the right partners, and make a list of all the storage tools you will need to run the business. Don’t leave anything to chance. Plan out the next few years and have a clear goal of where you want to get and what it takes to get there. Once you have gathered all the information and analyzed it correctly, you will be able to find the most profitable solution for you and decide whether to buy an existing facility or build your own.
The biggest factor that determines the value of a property is its location, the same is true for the self-storage business. Therefore site location is the most important factor that will impact your success. You need to find a location that is visible, has good access and is connected to the major roads. It should be located in an area that has a good combination of demographics, with steady household income and population growth.
Once you find a location that fits your needs, start detailed research of the competition in the area. Find out if there are any other companies that offer the same service as you and how many of their facilities are occupied. If occupancy is low, then there is probably not enough space for further development. Also, beware of areas that seem too good to be true, they often aren’t. Competitors are usually very good at noticing areas with potential. Check with local authorities to find out if there are any hidden obstacles that might get in your way. One such restriction could be zoning. If you decide you want to build in a particular area, make sure you can get the required permits before you do any kind of investments.
After you have found the right location, you need to think about your layout. If you are building your own storage, then it’s recommended to focus on a single-story as your first project as it’s easier and less costly to build. If you decide to buy existing storage, you will need to perform a detailed analysis of the rentable square footage. Compare the total are to the surface that can be rented out. Having just a big facility won’t be of much use if a lot of the space is wasted on hallways. When it comes to the interior design, quality shelving is the most important factor to consider. Keep in mind the clients that you want to attract and pick the solutions that will be most attractive to them. The exterior is also important. Choose a though fence and minimize the number of entry points. The best option would be to have a single all-purpose gate. Proper security is obligatory, even if you are in an area with low crime rates. Your clients need to feel safe and you can gain a big advantage over the competitors if you position yourself as the most reliable option on the market.
Self-storage isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, but it can provide financial security over a longer period of time if you plan your steps accordingly. There is a ton of research to be done before entering this market. Don’t take any shortcuts and make sure you have all the details planned out.