Owning Storage Units-Advice

7 Replies

For starters, I live in an oilfield town.  For me (and many others) this means living somewhere that has a huge influx of people and not enough resources to accommodate their needs.  For example, storage units!  Today I called the only local place we have to see if they had available units and lo and behold, they were full (roughly 20 units).

Right now I see this as a possible business opportunity.  I've been saving for my first rental home with the idea that eventually I would get to storage units but now I'm thinking "Why not storage first in a place that REALLY needs it?"

I would love to hear about your experience with owning/managing storage units.  I have a couple of questions below but feel free to add anything else you think is important to know.

1) How many units do you currently have?

2) Do you manage them?  If so, are you able to compare managing storage units vs. managing rental homes?

3) What's your vacancy rate?

4) What resources would you recommend for education on owning storage units?

Thanks for taking the time, I look forward to hearing from you guys!

Hey there! You certainly have found a great place to ask these questions! You are also onto something life changing. Self storage is truly the way to go (trust me, I've done both the rental and storage business!). I own several facilities throughout the united states and honestly, this business has been very kind to my family and I. 

Originally posted by @Bailey A. :

For starters, I live in an oilfield town.  For me (and many others) this means living somewhere that has a huge influx of people and not enough resources to accommodate their needs.  For example, storage units!  Today I called the only local place we have to see if they had available units and lo and behold, they were full (roughly 20 units).

Right now I see this as a possible business opportunity.  I've been saving for my first rental home with the idea that eventually I would get to storage units but now I'm thinking "Why not storage first in a place that REALLY needs it?"

I would love to hear about your experience with owning/managing storage units.  I have a couple of questions below but feel free to add anything else you think is important to know.

1) How many units do you currently have?

2) Do you manage them?  If so, are you able to compare managing storage units vs. managing rental homes?

3) What's your vacancy rate?

4) What resources would you recommend for education on owning storage units?

Thanks for taking the time, I look forward to hearing from you guys!

 Hi Bailey, I agree with Scott! Having done both rentals and storage, I would say that storage wins by a large margin! I just sold off two facilities (about 400 unit's total) and have 400 more in various stages of development. I also have 200 or so in a stabilied property down in Florida. I do "manage" my own but it's a stretch to management as we use online portals and call centers to do 90% of the work. I spend roughly 2-3 hours per week per facility. Our one stable property is 93% full. Industry standard is 88%.

Mike

Originally posted by @Scott Meyers :

Hey there! You certainly have found a great place to ask these questions! You are also onto something life changing. Self storage is truly the way to go (trust me, I've done both the rental and storage business!). I own several facilities throughout the united states and honestly, this business has been very kind to my family and I. 

It's good to hear that storage has worked well for you!  Thanks for taking the time to let me know your experience, this will definitely open my mind more to transitioning from a rental home frame of mind to a storage one.  Thanks Scott. 

Originally posted by @Michael Wagner :
Originally posted by @Bailey A.:

For starters, I live in an oilfield town.  For me (and many others) this means living somewhere that has a huge influx of people and not enough resources to accommodate their needs.  For example, storage units!  Today I called the only local place we have to see if they had available units and lo and behold, they were full (roughly 20 units).

Right now I see this as a possible business opportunity.  I've been saving for my first rental home with the idea that eventually I would get to storage units but now I'm thinking "Why not storage first in a place that REALLY needs it?"

I would love to hear about your experience with owning/managing storage units.  I have a couple of questions below but feel free to add anything else you think is important to know.

1) How many units do you currently have?

2) Do you manage them?  If so, are you able to compare managing storage units vs. managing rental homes?

3) What's your vacancy rate?

4) What resources would you recommend for education on owning storage units?

Thanks for taking the time, I look forward to hearing from you guys!

 Hi Bailey, I agree with Scott! Having done both rentals and storage, I would say that storage wins by a large margin! I just sold off two facilities (about 400 unit's total) and have 400 more in various stages of development. I also have 200 or so in a stabilied property down in Florida. I do "manage" my own but it's a stretch to management as we use online portals and call centers to do 90% of the work. I spend roughly 2-3 hours per week per facility. Our one stable property is 93% full. Industry standard is 88%.

Mike

Thanks for the insight Mike!  I'm getting more excited about it by the day and can't wait to delve into some research.  Its nice to hear about someone's successes especially when I'm thinking about going down the same route.

@Michael Wagner / @Scott Meyers

Any recommendations on software to use for managing multiple properties?  

Right now I utilize Sitelink for both of my facilities and I'm thinking about adding Insomniac machines. Do you have any experience/thoughts on them or any thing else to help with remote management?


Thanks - JB

@Jason Black ,

I use Easy Storage Solutions for 3 of my own properties and 5 that I am a minority partner in.  We like them for their simplicity and cost as well as very good customer service.  PLUS they have a call center with backend access to the software so they can serve as a darn near perfect replacement of an onsite manager.  I've not used Sitelink myself but from what I recall way back when I looked at them, they had great "Enterprise" level functionality but were more than I needed.  Perhaps they have a "lighter" version now or you may be gearing up to the enterprise level?

As for the Kiosks, I am not personally a huge fan.  They were nifty 10 years ago but with the advent of smart phones and online web portals, they don't offer nearly enough in my eyes to justify the cost.  We manage all our properties with ZERO employees and ZERO kiosks.  Why shell out $8K-$20K plus monthly maintenance on a kiosk, when your customers all carry the functional equivalent in their pocket...that they pay for:)?!!!

Hope that helps some!

Originally posted by @Michael Wagner :

@Jason Black,

I use Easy Storage Solutions for 3 of my own properties and 5 that I am a minority partner in.  We like them for their simplicity and cost as well as very good customer service.  PLUS they have a call center with backend access to the software so they can serve as a darn near perfect replacement of an onsite manager.  I've not used Sitelink myself but from what I recall way back when I looked at them, they had great "Enterprise" level functionality but were more than I needed.  Perhaps they have a "lighter" version now or you may be gearing up to the enterprise level?

As for the Kiosks, I am not personally a huge fan.  They were nifty 10 years ago but with the advent of smart phones and online web portals, they don't offer nearly enough in my eyes to justify the cost.  We manage all our properties with ZERO employees and ZERO kiosks.  Why shell out $8K-$20K plus monthly maintenance on a kiosk, when your customers all carry the functional equivalent in their pocket...that they pay for:)?!!!

Hope that helps some!

 As always, thanks for the insight!

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