Getting on Board With Boat and RV Storage

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Long considered a niche market in the self-storage industry, boat and RV storage has emerged as a facility differentiator in crowded markets. High-end sites with amenities designed specifically for boat and RV customers are popping up in strategic locations across the country. Storage owners looking to expand their existing sites are also considering this add-on service.

What does it take to tap into the growing boat/RV market? Inside Self-Storage talks with Caesar Wright, president of Mako Steel Inc., a design/build company specializing in storage construction, about why the niche is thriving, what makes a good boat/RV site, and how operators can market the offering.  

Why is boat/RV storage a hot topic right now?

For storage investors and developers, boat and RV storage represents a niche that still has some great momentum in a lot of markets. In areas where self-storage is overbuilt or at capacity, boat and RV units are still in demand. The flip side of that is, for the consumer, these types of larger units can still be hard to find. 
 
What are some of the trends in boat/RV storage?

We’ve seen developers’ plans run the gamut from your basic canopy or roof-only structures to individually climate-controlled units with motor-operated doors and storage mezzanines. Many developers recognize that the target market for a boat/RV storage site is measurably different from that of self-storage. They’re focusing on the needs of the RV customer by offering wash bays, dump stations, valet service and club-house-type amenities that appeal to his sense of security and accessibility. 
 
What do you need for an ideal boat/RV storage site?

As with any real estate investment, location is key. Land adjacent to major freeways or arterials leading to destination areas can be good build sites in the right markets. Equally important are the size of the parcel and the cost of the property. Developers used to self-storage rules-of-thumb will need to look for cheaper dirt and bigger parcels. 

Tell us about running this kind of facility. How does it differ from traditional self-storage?

One of the great attractions to this type of development is your business does not see the turnover in units or the delinquency rates typical to self-storage. While a highly secure site is an amenity that crosses over into self-storage as well, the RV customer storing a half-million-dollar motor coach on your property is going to be more discerning when it comes to potential theft. 

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