QUESTION on How to Start a Self Storage Business
I want to start my own self storage business. I have the money, but I do not know how to start. Can you give me some advice on how to start a self storage business?
– Jason, Illinois
ANSWER by Isabel Isidro
The first thing to do is to learn all you can about the self storage business. Do a research on the business, including the costs and investments it entails, operational considerations and the factors that make a self storage business successful. Parallel with getting industry information, you also need to start looking at the size of the market for self storage in your planned location, number and services offered by competitors, permits and licenses, as well as other county/city requirements for this type of business including commercial zoning regulations.
You may want to start your research with the Self Storage Association at http://www.selfstorage.org . They have produced several must-read publications on the self storage industry that any would-be entrant in this field should read. These studies include Financial & Operational Characteristics of Self Storage Facilities; Self Storage Demand Study; The Best of The Self Storage Legal Network: Answers to the 75 Most Frequently Asked Legal Questions; among others. The prices of the publication may be a bit steep but it is always better to know more about the market before you enter it, especially for a business that will require significant initial outlay.
Another important resource is Inside Self Storage’s http://www.insideselfstorage.com publication called Inside Self Storage Factbook that is published on an annual basis. The Factbook contains information on wide ranking issues affecting the self storage business from construction, insurance, security and access, management, marketing, among others.
I have also included links below to a sample business plan that you can study and even adapt, as well as resources on the self storage industry
- Self Storage Association http://www.selfstorage.org
- Self Storage Sample Business Plan: http://www.bplans.com/self-storage_business_plan/executive_summary_fc.php
- Ministorage.com Messenger (self storage industry publication) http://www.ministoragemessenger.com and their list of associations http://www.ministoragemessenger.com/cart/associations.asp
- Self Storage Blog http://www.selfstorageblog.com/
- Self Storage Guide http://www.selfstorageguide.com/
Recommended Books on How to Start a Self Storage Business:
- How To Invest In Self-Storage
- Making Money A-Z with Self Storage Unit Auctions 2011: The Silver Edition
- How to Make Boxes of Cash With Self-Storage Auctions
- The Key To Success: How To Manage Self-Storage
Article originally published October 2005. Updated on January 21, 2012