8 Brilliant Tips on How to Start a Self Storage Business That Thrives

how to start a self storage business

38 billion dollars is generated in the self storage industry every year. That number might be surprising on its surface but when you consider the state of America, things become clearer.

The US housing market is more expensive than ever which has priced most people out of purchasing a home. This has led to the highest rates of rentership that we've seen in decades. With more people living for longer periods of time in apartments and small rental houses, storage has become a struggle and consequently, self storage has flourished.

Given the trajectory that self storage is on, you may be contemplating starting a self storage business of your own. If you are, have a look at our 8 brilliant tips on how to get your operation off the ground.


1. Pick the Right Market

You can't just open a self storage business in your favorite city and automatically expect it to do well. There are a variety of factors that support the successful launch of a new self storage operation and if those factors aren't in place, you stand to lose a lot more than you stand to gain.

For starters, your market should be one that's growing rapidly or one that's already overcrowded from a population perspective. You're looking for a place where apartments are starting to pop up everywhere because housing is at a premium and consequently, most people don't have the means to get into a home.

Next, you want to find a community that self storage doesn't already over serve. If a place already has 3 self storage companies catering to it, jumping into that competitive market means getting into a price war that you probably won't win.

If you've found a populated, underserved community with relatively expensive housing, you may have found the perfect self storage destination.


2. Figure Out the Details

How much are you going to price your rental units for? How many units should you have? Should you offer indoor units? What about climate-controlled spaces?

In order to build a successful self storage operation, you have to understand your market well enough to be able to answer all of those question and any other ones that are pertinent to your operation. If you don't do your homework and iron out the details of your business before making your self storage investment, you're going to lose money.


3. Secure Your Property

The largest two investments that you'll need to make for your self storage business are purchasing (or perhaps leasing) your property and outfitting that property so it can function as a self storage facility.

You could buy a previously-owned self storage facility, make some minor improvements and save a boatload versus constructing your business from the ground up. If that isn't a possibility, you'll have to either purchase a non-storage building that you can retrofit with storage units or a blank piece of land that you can build a new storage facility on.

Be sure to weigh the costs of all of your options since miscalculating at this stage could deplete your cash stores in a hurry.


4. Get Your Legal and Tax Obligations in Order

There's nothing worse than buying a property for a self storage business and later finding out that the land isn't zoned for that type of commercial operation. To reduce horrendous surprises like that, talk to a lawyer and an accountant to ensure that you're staying compliant with all local legal and tax obligations as you build out your company.


5. Secure Your Online Presence

People rent self storage units online. To keep in lockstep with that trend, you'll have to build a website that allows people to learn about your facility, compare prices and rent their unit.

This kind of functionality likely goes beyond what you can do for yourself using simple website builders like WordPress. Talk to a development firm to see how they might be able to help you achieve your online goals and how much their help will cost.


6. Launch a Direct Marketing Campaign

People rent storage units in their area. That means that all of your customers likely live within 10-miles or so of your business.

Knowing this, you could put a door hanger or a postcard in every apartment and small house's mailbox that's within a reasonable radius of your business. That marketing collateral should let people know the reasons why getting a self storage unit is a great idea and how your company can serve their needs.


7. Have a Stellar Startup Deal

Self storage businesses are famous for the great promotions that they run for new customers. In order to get your units filled up, we suggest that you follow in the footsteps of successful storage owners before you and hatch a couple of promotional offers of your own.

Offers like "first 3-months free on a 12-month lease" are good places to start.


8. Make a Run and Consider Expansion

With everything up and running, do your best to keep your units full and your business operating profitably for a few years. If your company is booming, consider finding a new area to expand your storage brand into.


A Self Storage Business Is a Venture That's Built for the Future

As the United States population continues rising and affordable housing becomes less attainable, a self storage business stands to generate a ton of momentum which could prove to be very lucrative for you.

Consider our tips and if you're feeling inspired, start taking the first steps towards building a company that's primed to thrive for years to come!

Looking for more entrepreneurial inspiration? Then check out more of the content on our blog for additional business and startup advice!

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