When it comes to developing a self-storage business, there's much more than the physical plant to consider. Where and how you build your facility is critical, of course. It's important to research the market, consumer demand and the competition. You've got to think about unit mix and site design, as well as important add-ons such as solar panels and boat/RV space. Convenience, curb appeal, security components and other tangible aspects all affect the decision of the customer to rent with you.
But once the site is built, you enter the vital lease-up phase, where you grow your customer base and business reputation. This stage is equally important to the success of the facility, and yet the skills and tasks involved are a completely different ball of wax. On this operational side of the equation, the focus is on marketing and managerial strength.
Learn how to build your business from the ground up and the inside out during the Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Las Vegas, March 14-16. The industry's most comprehensive conference and tradeshow will teach you everything you need to know about constructing and developing a facility to building its clientele and public image. Visit www.insideselfstorageworldexpo.com to view a detailed education agenda, read about presenters, access a list of exhibitors, register for the show and more.
Part I: Building Toward Success: Development and Construction
By Tony Jones
Although the lagging economy has continued to play a role in the slow rate of new builds in the self-storage industry, there’s never a bad time for operators and investors to think about important construction and development issues relative to their business, whether planning projects for the future or re-investing in current facilities.
Budgets are tight these days, and financial mistakes made during planning can make or break the success of a project. Several of this year’s educational sessions are designed to minimize costly errors while optimizing prudent planning procedures. Five sessions on Wednesday, March 14, will cover everything from the importance of feasibility studies to the viability of solar energy. Any remaining questions or topics of interest likely can be addressed Wednesday evening, 6-7 p.m., when several Roundtable Discussions will focus on aspects of self-storage construction and development.
In a tough business climate, no project should move forward without proper planning. Operators and investors with any projects in the works should strongly consider attending the seminar “Self-Storage Feasibility Due Diligence: It’s a Requirement, Not an Option." Jim Chiswell, president of Chiswell & Associates LLC, will address the critical aspects of preparing a feasibility study or due diligence report, examining issues such as site selection, demographics, competitive analysis and pro forma projections.
One of the challenges in today’s market is space. Land parcels that may make attractive self-storage locations but are too small for an expansive facility may still make an ideal setting for multi-story construction. Multi-story facilities have become popular as developers have sought high-quality urban locations or looked for ways to minimize land investment. In “Going Vertical in Self-Storage: Multi-Story Construction,” Caesar Wright, president of Mako Steel Inc., will address the best ways to lay out a multi-story self-storage project while keeping an eye on construction costs.