How to Make Money from Self-Storage

Americans have more stuff that they know how to use. This means that they require extra storage space. This fundamental need is the backbone of the park n space self storage. Just because there’s a demand for self-storage doesn’t mean it’s easy to fill that void. Self-storage is more complicated than it seems. There are many important issues that need to be understood and addressed.

The Right Type Of Facility

There have been many different types of self storage facilities over the last 40 years. But the most profitable are those that are classified as “Generation One”, or “Generation Two”. It is important that all units that can be rented are located on the ground level. They also have roll-up doors that allow cars to access the unit. Why? Study after study found that self-storage tenants want the ability to pull up right at their unit doors, roll it up and put their stuff inside. Units that are on the second floor or higher are less in demand. No one wants to need to climb an elevator to reach their unit or to carry their stuff down a hall. These types of facilities never existed. They were invented by self-storage developers to justify building more units on less expensive land.

As multi-story buildings proved to be a disaster, so has “climate controlled” units. The majority of the items Americans keep aren’t valuable enough for heating and cooling. The majority of “climate controlled” space in facilities today is vacant. California’s invention of “wine-storage” units is at the worst end. Recently, I saw a facility with only 20% occupancy for “wine storage”. This concept is obsoleted by the inexpensive wine refrigerators sold at Costo or other retailers. It is also important to remember that “climate-controlled” areas can be extremely costly to operate.

The Right Type of Location

Self-storage facilities must have great street visibility and street frontage. These are the characteristics shared by all of America’s most successful self storage facilities. Americans are more likely to rent space in facilities they see every day and make a decision about renting. A self-storage facility in an obscure location with low visibility is unlikely to attract anyone to rent it.

Keep in mind that self-storage is very competitive in most markets. This is why it is essential that your facility has the basic skills to compete. While we enjoy stories of underdogs that win, such as the one-handed pitcher in baseball, it is easier to win when your facility doesn’t have any disadvantages from the start.