Are there sustainable applications in building boat/RV storage?
As with self-storage, RV/boat storage offers a great opportunity to incorporate solar panels. By nature, this type of development offers a ton of rooftop space, and if you’re in the right market, this can also be an ancillary money maker. Some municipalities will buy back excess energy production, and some will let you bank it for future use. If areas where either of these is an option, we’re seeing an average three- to five-year return on investment with this type of green building.
What are the building basics for boat/RV storage?
I refer to boat/RV-storage buildings as self-storage on steroids. We’re using the same basic principals in structural design and construction, but increasing the height and width of the units. As for the overall site design, drive aisles and turn radius need to be increased exponentially, and traffic flow in and out of the site needs to be heavily considered.
Tell us about the condo trend.
We’re seeing more developers looking at the option of storage condos to own, minimizing the need for rental spaces. This is an interesting change, and one that is still in its relative infancy. Developers are really tailoring their developments in this instance to the high-end consumer. They’re appealing to a target market that isn’t interested in throwing money away on rental space but looking to invest in and build value with ownership.
Who are boat/RV-storage customers? How does a self-storage operator market to them?
There are an estimated 8 million RVs in the United States, about one for every 12 homes. Over the last 25 years, RV and boat ownership has increased 58 percent, with the largest gains being in the 30- to 45-year-old bracket. With the introduction of CC&Rs and HOA rules about boat/RV parking, we’ve seen a spike in need that developers have not yet tapped. While in many markets, there are self-storage facilities to cater to the needs of the population, the boat/RV storage market is still lacking.
While there are no hard and fast rules to marketing this product, a good tip is to keep the consumer in mind. RV and boat spaces will draw tenants from a larger pool than the 3- to 5-mile radius standard for self-storage, and the consumers will likely be more concerned with accessibility, security and access.