With the self-storage industry becoming more popular, entrepreneurs are seeking the investment in buying and running their own self-storage businesses. Some are taking over and improving existing facilities while others are doing their research and building their dreams themselves but, as with any business, you need to know what you are in for so doing your research is critical. With 40+ years experience in the self storage industry (and a family of amazing self storage facilities), we want to share the pros and cons of running your very own self storage business in today's blog post.
(And, as a related note, we are always looking to partner with entrepreneurs. Whether you have an existing self storage facility to sell or have a new piece of land you are getting ready to develop, Smart Self Storage could make your ideal business partner! In fact, we are actively expanding our business and are building several new facilities right now, such as Cypress Self Storage, Oakley's newest self storage facility and also Stanford Ranch Self Storage, Rocklin's newest self storage facility. As your local neighborhood self storage facility, we believe we make an incredible business partner and look forward to meeting other self storage entrepreneurs and operators reading this post!)
Let’s start on the positive side and look at some of the benefits that you can expect:
Becomes Your Home
Many facilities have an on-site residence for maintenance and keeping a watchful eye, which means your business can also become your home and give you a place to live. Aside from the reduced running costs, it also gives you peace of mind and easy access to provide a better service for your customers, setting you apart from the competition. (Don't intend to live there yourself? An on-site residence sure is an amazing perk for the manager that you hire!)
The Work Matters
Consumers use storage facilities because they want their things to be taken care of and whether this involves high priced, luxury items or those with sentimental rather than monetary value they still need to be kept secure and protected. You will often find that all personal belongings come with a story behind them so storing them can be keeping memories alive for others making this work important to people.
Consumerism is at its all-time highest (and it doesn't look like it is slowing down any time soon) and with people buying more things, they need somewhere to put them. When you select a self-storage business, particularly those in neighborhoods with high salary averages you will find that housing size in urban areas does not equate to storage space and that is what we are there for. It's great for any business owner to hear that their services are in high demand (and valuable to customers) and thanks to the purchase habits of people today, business is in demand.
When you serve the community, you become part of the community and storage businesses interact with people on a daily basis. Your business becomes a pillar in the community, storing people's things and you get to know everyone so if you are interested in a business that can make you more social, this is the one for you.
It may seem like a monotonous 9-5 but it couldn't be more different. Depending on the needs of the customers your day can change at the drop of a hat and those in the storage industry have seen some weird and wonderful things. Whether you are doing maintenance one day, accounts or customer interaction the next, it's never a dull moment.
Many self-storage business owners see some of the perks of the job is that you get the perks of being a landlord but on a much grander scale. For example, your self-storage site could have 44 units or it could have hundreds, each earning you rent.
Things aren't always rosy so it is important to understand the cons of owning a self-storage business too. Some of which are:
Unlike other ventures, once you have committed it can be a huge undertaking by keeping up maintenance and security as well as the business side of things so you need to understand that once you have committed it can take time to change things. As with many things in life, you shouldn't buy a business like this on a whim because, as we've mentioned, it's important to people and you are charged with providing the community a valuable service. (That said, as with anything in life, great thing require hard work and commitment!)
It's Helpful To Be Handy
It is important to make a good impression on customers and let them know they are in good hands and doing this requires upkeep and maintenance. Although you can hire a handyman to fix things for you this can often get expensive, particularly if things need doing out of hours. With this in mind, it is a good idea to brush up on some of the essentials, changing light-bulbs, decorating and basic carpentry (shelves etc.) so that you aren't in a bind and can be more self-sufficient. Purchasing a basic tool kit would also be a good idea because dealing with issues quickly can provide a better service to customers and ease their minds in a crisis.
Any entrepreneur will tell you that their business is their life and you will find the storage industry can be very time consuming which can both give you purpose and be all consuming. It is important to find a balance but you also get out what you put in.
It IS a Business
Running a business is hard work. And, there are many difficult (and time consuming) aspects of running any business such as accounting, paperwork, marketing, and more! You are not going to enjoy every task every day. However, in aggregate, we believe that running self storages is a pretty amazing gig for those with a solid work ethic and a true dedication to the communities in which they serve.
Ultimately a self-storage business can be incredibly rewarding, particularly for an entrepreneur who has done their research and is looking for a challenging and meaningful career. As with anything there are plusses and minuses to joining the storage industry but we think you'll agree it is definitely worth it. At Smart Self Storage, we are truly fortunate and thankful for this amazing industry. More than anything, we work our hardest to delight our customers and our neighborhoods that we care so deeply about.