The lack of storage space in homes and offices drives business for self storage facilities which help people in need of extra space to store their items for rent. People rent storage units of different sizes for various reasons, some of which are listed below. What we want to emphasize here is that each one of those self-storage facilities is a business. Owning one can turn out to be highly profitable. If this business idea sounds appealing to you, read this quick tutorial on starting a self-storage facility because there is much more to it than just registering your business with the state. Once you gain a better understanding of what starting a self-storage facility means, you can decide whether this type of business is the right fit for you.
Why people need self-storage facilities
- If you want to live in a clutter-free home, you can store your old vehicles, holiday decorations, art, furniture, toys or appliances in a safe, clean storage unit away from your home.
- You can do the same with your office equipment or inventory since many storage facilities cater to other businesses.
- Short-term storage can help you during a renovation or a move. Moving your entire office in no time is easy if you have a place to put all that stuff until the new space is ready for use.
- A decent-looking storage unit can even be turned into she shed or man cave.
Research the local market
So, you’ve decided to take the first step toward opening a self-storage facility. Well, you’ll need to do more research than reading this article. Committing your time and money into starting a business without doing proper research would be a foolish mistake.
"You need to gain a deep understanding of the sector you are about to enter and analyze the local market before starting a self-storage facility."
First, you should take a look at your future storage competitors. Find out as much as you can about their service and their prices. There might be a high demand for storage services in your area, but the demand might be already met. For trade-specific information, consult specialist sites and trade journals.
Plan your budget for starting a self-storage facility
The costs of starting and running a self-storage business will depend on its size. So, you need to decide whether you want a small facility to run part-time or a larger one that requires more time and money. The money you pay to get your startup off the ground is called sunk costs. These costs should cover promotional material, the costs of hosting a website, the initial rental costs, etc.
Make a clear business plan
A business plan is an important document that should contain key information regarding your storage business. It should include the results of your market research, a summary of your services, a summary of your management structure and approach, a detailed financial plan for the first couple of years, your key objectives, etc.
"In case you are looking for an external source to support you financially, having a realistic business plan is of utmost importance."
Create a comprehensive marketing strategy
Marketing a self-storage business requires flexibility and adaptability. Your aim is to find the approach that works best for you since there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Your marketing strategy should cover a few key areas - market penetration, communications strategy, and growth strategy.
Obtain secure storage space
This is your first major expense. The location and storage units where your customers will store their belongings are some of the most important things to consider when starting a self-storage facility. You need an area that is accessible, properly zoned for business development, and have a lot of traffic. Also, decide whether you want to build your own storage units, rent or purchase them.
Navigate the red tape
Handling the red tape for a new business can be challenging for owners without previous experience. We suggest seeking advice from US Small Business Administration or any similar organization.
You need to register your storage business and comply with the relevant tax and legal regulations. You should get familiar with the Federal Licenses and State Licenses needed for starting a self-storage facility. An attorney who specializes in taxation and regulations for small businesses can help you a lot with things like meeting legal requirements and getting financial support.
Develop an effective online presence
To succeed in almost any business, you need to establish an online presence.
"Having an informative website that is easy to navigate will help you get customers. "
The internet is usually the first place people go to when looking for a self-storage facility and you need your name to appear in the search results. Since self-storage directories get a lot of traffic using them is a great way to make your business visible.
Reach out to customers and respond to their inquiries
Once you reach out to customers, your self-storage business will be up and running. But how do you do it? There are several strategies - flyers, mail-outs, social media, etc.
"In this particular business, most of your inquiries and clients will come through listings and online databases."
However, reaching out to customers is only half the job. Responding to their inquiries is just as important. In addition to having excellent phone manner, whoever answers the calls has to be up-to-date with all the relevant information concerning your business. If you fail to provide accurate information when answering calls and emails, stepping up your marketing game won’t be enough – you won’t be getting customers and everything you have invested so far will be at risk.