The Right Time to Build Boat/RV Storage? Understanding the Market Before Taking on the Challenge

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By Caesar Wright

"Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded." —Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra, former catcher, outfielder and manager of American Major League Baseball

I’ve always been a big fan of Yogi Berra and his famous quotes. While most people find them amusing and nonsensical, I’ve sometimes found them to be a bit profound. As I experience more of life (a more palatable way of saying “get older”), I even find times when old Yogi makes good sense. For example, consider this bit of wisdom: "If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.”

Self-storage industry feasibility and demographic expert RK Kliebenstein of Coast-To-Coast Storage once said there was a two-year window for investing in the boat and RV storage market. The problem is he said that almost two years ago. He had just put aside all of his data on self-storage and said the boat/RV-storage market called for an entirely “new template.” His investment model for this segment was scrupulous, the numbers worked, and the returns looked great. And then the sky fell.

To say there was a change in the economy would rank right up there in insight with a Yogi Berra quip. But for those who choose to invest, there have been some positive results of the economic downturn where boat/RV storage is concerned.

A Good Time to Build

Often in business, one person’s loss can be another’s gain. In today’s economy, land costs are down, steel prices are as low as they’ve been in years, concrete is readily available and less expensive, and good construction crews are scratching to find work. As a result, this is actually a great time to build boat and RV storage.

The question is, do the current savings in land and construction offset the cost of financing? That’s where the experts and your instincts come in. Now more than ever, paying attention to every detail is crucial in making a project work.

Any of the major, reputable steel-building suppliers are willing to get involved early in the design phase of your storage facility, and they can help you save time and money if allowed to have input in the layout and structural design of the buildings. It’s not that these suppliers are smarter than your architect, engineer or general contractor, but this is what they do for a living. Day in and day out, they see what works and what doesn’t. They know what it takes to build a quality project within budget and on schedule, one that will provide cash flow and, at some point, be profitable. The real secret to a profitable boat/RV-storage facility is to build the right structure in the right place, at the right cost, and exactly at the right time.

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