How to Start a Self Storage Business Using These Resources
December 16, 2020 262 views
Tips Insights and Resources to Start a Self Storage Business
About This Post
In this post is an impressive amount of resources related to starting and running a self-storage business. You’ll find information for many of the concerns you’re wondering about and the points you may not have considered yet.
This unique collection took hours to research and organize. You can access all the resources further down the page any time you need them, but first, lets’ go over a few important issues you’ll want to consider before you jump in and start your business.
Are You Suited for This Opportunity?
One of the most important issues to consider is if this business opportunity is a good fit for you or not. The amount of success you’ll have will be affected by how determined and passionate you are about your business.
Think of it as a career. If you hate your job and hate going to work, the negativity starts to spill into other parts of your life. You suffer, and your job suffers. Would you agree in a situation like that, it’s better to find a job your passionate about and something you want to do? How much more successful will you be at a job you love, compared to one you can’t stand?
Do you have what it takes to run a business? If you do great, you only need to be introduced to the self-storage industry. If you don’t have business skills, then it’s not the end of the world. You can learn the skills needed.
Is There a Demand for Self Storage Units In Your Area?
Have you looked into the demand for self-storage in your area? If there are a lot of self-storage facilities, you may have come across a saturated market. It’s a difficult market to get into. You’ll be competing with everyone else. Before you open your doors to the public, the other businesses will start competing against you. You’ll need to improve on an existing service or bring something new that the others haven’t thought of.
On the other hand, if there are no self-storage businesses in the area, there could be insufficient demand to support a business. There is no use opening when there is no demand because it’s an uphill battle to market something no one wants. For more, see Startup – What Is the Demand for Your Products and Services.
Self Storage Setup Options
Will you offer your customers options? If I were to open a self-storage business. I would consider the following:
Extended Customer Insurance
Having the right insurance coverage for this type of business is crucial. You are storing people’s goods; therefore, you must have some form of insurance to cover them in case of an accident.
I would offer my customers the standard package included in the rental price. I would also offer a premium insurance package to insure expensive items not covered by the standard insurance.
In any case, it’s best to consult with a professional insurance company that deals with self-storage. I have listed a few further down the page in the Insurance section of the resources.
I would offer climate-controlled storage units for people that are storing goods susceptible to temperature and humidity. I would also offer units without climate control at a lower rate.
I would offer 24/7 Security. It may be placing a guard there for every eight hours or outsourcing to a company that could monitor from a remote location.
Another option is to combine the security guard position to include other duties. After all, if there is a problem, the security guard will call the police. So you could have an attendant onsite for each shift. The attendant would deal with any issues, such as maintenance checks, customer service, security, paperwork, etc.
I would offer a system where you can use a key or use an app to access your unit. With an app, you could apply for your unit online, pay online, and get an access code to your phone. This automation is easy for those that want it, and it helps automate the business.
Those who don’t want to use the tech options and like the old school method could come to the office and get their access in the traditional way.
Variable Climate Control
I would give energy use options. For example, some people don’t want the heat at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They only want it 35 degrees just above freezing. The same for air conditioning; they may want just enough to reduce any humidity.
I would offer some units with video monitoring for the inside and outside of the unit. If a customer wants to check on their goods, they could log in to their unit’s camera. I would install cameras that can rotate, giving you a better view and allow a customer to find something in the storage unit. Naturally, you would need your items organized and labeled for this to be effective.
I would offer units with shelving and units without. Some customers want their units to have wall-to-wall shelving, while others don’t want any at all. It’s nice to have the option.
I would make sure I had a unit alert built into my security. Anytime the unit is opened, an alert would be sent to the customer. A customer who rented a climate control unit will also receive an alert if there is a significant temperature change.
What Type of Company Structure Will You Setup?
You can set up your self-storage business as a sole proprietorship, which is the easiest and least expensive setup. It would also be the one with the least protection in case of bankruptcy or a lawsuit.
A corporate structure protects you against liabilities and has different tax brackets. There are pros and cons to each structure. I would suggest speaking with your accountant and lawyer to determine the best route for your business and your situation.
To determine you’re startup cost, you need a plan. Without a plan, you won’t be able to get any reliable estimates.
Will you be leasing a building, buying one, building a new one? How many units will you have? The area you’re in and the price of real estate will affect your startup costs. As you can see, many questions need to be answered.
Create your plan so you can start to gather estimates. The resources below will give an idea of where you can start, but your local area is a good place to get your estimates. For more on startup costs, see, Estimating Startup Costs: Are You Missing Anything?
Have you considered any add-ons for your business? Here a few I can think of:
If I have someone on the premises at all times. I would offer moving supplies, such as bubble wrap, boxes, tape, labels, etc.
Customers may not have considered bringing items to help them organize their unit. Having these available at your location is convenient for your customers and something that brings in extra income.
Other Forms of Storage
Depending on the size of my property, I would consider other forms of storage. For example, if I had a few acres. I would put up a secure fence or wall and offer vehicle, RV, and boat storage.
I would also consider adding another service, such as a warehouse. A crew would pick up, store, and deliver the items. All the customer would need to do is schedule the time.
Naturally, all the above ideas would be based on feedback to determine the demand.
There is no reason you can’t expand this type of business. You may want to do something like the examples above. Or you may want to stick to the self-storage units, automate them as much as possible and expand by adding more locations where it’s feasible.
Getting the Word Out and Getting Customers
You can acquire customers using traditional advertising methods such as; your local TV station, radio ads, newspaper advertising, magazine ads, etc. When using these forms of advertising, make sure your campaign starts off with a small test to find the best ad. Once you have a proven ad, then you would role it out for more exposure.
You could look for moving companies in the area and let them know about your service. A lot of times, moving companies have customers that need a short-term storage solution. In return, you can offer the firm a referral fee for every client.
Real Estate Firms
Another type of business to reach out to is real estate firms. Sometimes when people buy and sell houses, they need more time than the closing date. You can provide short-term solutions for their customers that need it. You could offer a referral fee for every client they send your way or something similar.
Now it’s time for the resources mentioned earlier in this post. The resources are provided by various authors giving you a broad overview.
You’ll find hundreds of resources below. You won’t be able to get through them all in one visit. The good news is you can come back anytime you need them. They will be here.
Good luck with your business!
A Collection of Resources Related to Starting a Self Storage Business
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