Small Self Storage on 50x100 lot

6 Replies

Has anyone built a Small Self Storage.  I have a piece of land and It is 50x100 and zoned commercial.  I am considering building a small self storage.  Probably in the range of 2500-3000 sq ft.  I am not sure of the size mix.  Seems like 10x20 is the most popular.  I may build a mix since my optimization is an L shape building.

Is block better than metal?  There are a number of metal pre-fab companies out there.  If I do block, I would use my concrete guy.

I would encourage to explore how small facilities perform relatively to some larger ones.  Generally speaking you need to be at 12-15Kdquare feet to tap into the economies of scale that make storage so great.  Being this small, you will fall short.  All that said, I'd go metal kit!  And I'd encourage you to have 10 x 10 and 10 x 20 at a minimum!

@Lesley Resnick

Check your setbacks first, see what your buildable space is. A 50 wide with say 10 foot set backs on both ends only leaves 30 feet.  We also use 50 foot turn arounds or down to 35 foot turnarounds, thus 100 foot is not enough.  Check your city road access to make sure you don't need turnarounds and can park all along the street side.  Another option is to buy movable storage units.  These are usually allowed on your setback areas, and you don't get property tax.  Most cities won't allow this.

Also check your city requirements on road surface.  If they require concrete or asphalt then it is better to build the largest units you can.  Less "non paying" concrete.  You can always rent a 20 as a 15; or a 15 as a 10, but you can't rent upwards in size if you didn't build it.

Also smaller units are usually more profitable.  Recommend you build a larger unit, then put in a "Locker" system.  The smaller units are usually our worst customers though.  Not worth the extra money to me.

Recommend $$$$$$$$$ you build a single Flex or contractor building. You will both get more rentable square footage and make more money per square foot than storage, depending on your location.  Your 1500 to 2500 square foot, depending on setbacks, is a sweet spot for pricing and utilization.  Do a dummy listing on Facebook, craigslist or Loopnet/Costar and see the interest in your area for this type of product.  You should make double the cash flow on this product versus storage at this area size.

Originally posted by @Henry Clark :

@Lesley Resnick

Check your setbacks first, see what your buildable space is. A 50 wide with say 10 foot set backs on both ends only leaves 30 feet.  We also use 50 foot turn arounds or down to 35 foot turnarounds, thus 100 foot is not enough.  Check your city road access to make sure you don't need turnarounds and can park all along the street side.  Another option is to buy movable storage units.  These are usually allowed on your setback areas, and you don't get property tax.  Most cities won't allow this.

Also check your city requirements on road surface.  If they require concrete or asphalt then it is better to build the largest units you can.  Less "non paying" concrete.  You can always rent a 20 as a 15; or a 15 as a 10, but you can't rent upwards in size if you didn't build it.

Also smaller units are usually more profitable.  Recommend you build a larger unit, then put in a "Locker" system.  The smaller units are usually our worst customers though.  Not worth the extra money to me.

Recommend $$$$$$$$$ you build a single Flex or contractor building. You will both get more rentable square footage and make more money per square foot than storage, depending on your location.  Your 1500 to 2500 square foot, depending on setbacks, is a sweet spot for pricing and utilization.  Do a dummy listing on Facebook, craigslist or Loopnet/Costar and see the interest in your area for this type of product.  You should make double the cash flow on this product versus storage at this area size.

As it sits now I can build about 1900 sq feet.  My engineer calculated it.  My biggest limiting factor is the water management pond requirement.  Florida requires 12% to be drainage.  I can get 10 units, 2 of them will be short of the 10x20.  The 10x20's are going for 175 a month.  Fully rented I am in the 1750 a month range.  There will be no power or water service.  It will be drive up and there will be no gate.  I will use solar lights.  I expect I can build it for around 80-100k.  

Could you explain the flex or contractor building?  I am not sure how that building could be worth $3500 a month?

Could you tell me more about movable storage units?  I have considered buying a number of Conex boxes and renting them out.  It is in a neighborhood and it is zone incorrectly.  The city gets 6k and 3 months to fix the zoning.  So in the mean time, I am looking at my options for storage.      

@Lesley Resnick

1.  Where is the parking?

2.  Storm pond- check out permeable driveway and parking system versus a storm pond.

3.  Double Cash Flow, not Gross Rent.  You should easily be able to get $1 per sq foot per month or $1,900.  Test this out:  A.  Go find a similar size building suited for contractors.  Must have 14 foot high door way, 12 foot wide, plus walk through door.  Loopnet/commerical/1000 to 3000 square feet/"flex".  Not much out there to rent.  You should have demand.  Do a test listing on Costar/Loopnet for this spec building at that location for $12/sqft/year and test interest., B.  Figure out parking.  Self storage should take a lot more square feet than a Contractor bay (no customers come there).  You should end up will more rentable square footage.  Go Triple net.  With more rentable square foot, more $/sq ft and less expenses; your cash flow should be more than double traditional self storage.

4.  Portable storage units.  Again check on permeable ground system.  This should do away with storm pond.  Thus giving you more rentable square footage.

Will any of these work?  You just have to keep chopping at it and turning over stones looking for gold.

Once you figure this out, you have a business model you can easily replicate.  

On the movable storage units, look for the junkiest property you can find that has concrete parking.  Even if it is all cracked.  Check zoning on these type of units. Conex's usually don't get allowed.  If they do, see my post on Conex's or cargo Containers.

Originally posted by @Henry Clark :

@Lesley Resnick

1.  Where is the parking?

2.  Storm pond- check out permeable driveway and parking system versus a storm pond.

3.  Double Cash Flow, not Gross Rent.  You should easily be able to get $1 per sq foot per month or $1,900.  Test this out:  A.  Go find a similar size building suited for contractors.  Must have 14 foot high door way, 12 foot wide, plus walk through door.  Loopnet/commerical/1000 to 3000 square feet/"flex".  Not much out there to rent.  You should have demand.  Do a test listing on Costar/Loopnet for this spec building at that location for $12/sqft/year and test interest., B.  Figure out parking.  Self storage should take a lot more square feet than a Contractor bay (no customers come there).  You should end up will more rentable square footage.  Go Triple net.  With more rentable square foot, more $/sq ft and less expenses; your cash flow should be more than double traditional self storage.

4.  Portable storage units.  Again check on permeable ground system.  This should do away with storm pond.  Thus giving you more rentable square footage.

Will any of these work?  You just have to keep chopping at it and turning over stones looking for gold.

Once you figure this out, you have a business model you can easily replicate.  

On the movable storage units, look for the junkiest property you can find that has concrete parking.  Even if it is all cracked.  Check zoning on these type of units. Conex's usually don't get allowed.  If they do, see my post on Conex's or cargo Containers.

Under 5000 sq ft building is one parking spot.  I can't build any larger.  Between the amount of impervious surface and the pond / access to the pond. I am limited.  It would not matter what commercial use I build.

Looking at the market, I am somewhere just short of $1 a foot for contractor space.  The storage is similar.  It will cost a lot more to build electric and plumbing.    

Temporary structures may circumvent the requirements.  I have seen the conex boxes in lots around town.  This is an area for more review.

I like the idea that it is a business and not a passive activity.  It will offer a lot of tax advantages.