Running a self-storage business presents a lot of opportunities. When you start to think about it, a lot of people can benefit from self-storage, including those who run their own businesses or those moving home.
While many businesses and industries suffered during the pandemic, the self-storage industry has thrived. With occupancy rates at 90% in some areas, it’s a good time to consider starting a self-storage business.
When it comes to running a self-storage business, location is everything. Your location should be prominent and easy to access, with plenty of parking too.
When choosing your location, consider who your nearest customers may be. Residential areas (especially new builds) may come with a lot of customers looking for storage. Having commercial businesses nearby could also bring in a lot of traffic to your business with their various storage needs.
Do your homework to help you find the most appropriate location for your business. An affordable plot may seem like a no-brainer, but the location needs to be right too to help you stand the best chance of success.
Research your competitors
While conducting your location research, you should also take time to check out the competition. Establish where the nearest storage sites are, what sort of facilities they provide and how much they charge for their services. You will also want to find out what their opening hours are to help you plan your own services and potentially offer something your competitors do not.
Design your business with longevity in mind
A self-storage business has the potential to go the distance, with consistent opportunities for trade. You should ensure that you choose materials that are designed to last, and that they are weather and temperature resistant to help reduce the need for the maintenance or replacement of storage units.
When designing the layout of your unit, you need to factor in the space that people will need to navigate around the units, as well as any vehicles or machinery that may need to be needed on site. Having a variety of storage unit sizes, with the potential for adjustment in the future, could ensure you cater for a range of customer needs.
You should also consider whether your location could be expanded in the future, should you need to increase your storage space.
Make security a priority
Security is one of the biggest priorities for any self-storage business. One of the main reasons that people use a managed storage unit is to benefit from round-the-clock security, and there will be many considerations for you to make your unit secure.
Some options include electronic security, such as PIN-operated entries. Padlocks are another popular choice for securing storage units, and you could provide add-on services by selling your own padlocks to customers. Some storage unit providers allow customers to use their own locks, but that could cause some issues should they lose their keys.
Your security measures should be reviewed regularly to make sure you’re always providing the most secure facilities to your customers.
Choose reputable suppliers
Finding the right suppliers to provide your storage units is important. You should find suppliers who are reputable and can provide you with units that are not only high-quality but look good too. While most storage units have a very familiar look and feel, it’s still important the facility looks uniform and neat.
A reliable supplier should be able to provide you with additional units when you need them, which could be an important factor for any future expansion plans.
Market to your different customers
While news of a new storage unit can easily circulate in the community, it’s important to form a marketing strategy to connect with all of your potential customers. Your marketing strategy should account for your different types of customers, with language suitable for business and individual customers to ensure you’re covering your different audience segments and appealing to their needs.
Flyers can be a useful way of spreading the word in residential areas, and email marketing can be a simple but effective way of reaching businesses. You may want to consider some introductory offers to your first customers to help bring in that initial trade. With a social media presence to complement your other marketing efforts, you stand the best chance of reaching people in your target area.
Having a website that allows people to self-manage their storage needs can also be a big draw to potential customers. This can create less administrative work for your business and ensures customers can manage their accounts 24 hours a day.
Run additional ventures on-site
Having a large facility like a self-storage unit could provide a range of opportunities to run additional ventures. You could provide office supply rentals, packing materials and smaller storage containers to provide customers with some of the things they might need for their units. Other ideas include a coffee shop on-site or even car wash facilities – there are multiple possibilities depending on your ambitions and the space you have available.
Make the most of technology
Technology is transforming storage units. Self-storage is more advanced than ever thanks to features like keyless locking systems, affordable security cameras and even contactless move-in. To run a successful storage facility in line with your competition, you need to make the most of technology to give your customers a comprehensive service.
Running a self-storage business is a fantastic venture with a lot of potential for growth. There may be some challenges, but with the right location and a facility that meets all the needs of your customers, you could find yourself with a very successful business.