Mistake 6: Not Including the Weather Lip
The weather lip is a small step in the concrete slab, usually about 1 inch high, behind the roll-up door to the unit. It prevents water from entering the unit, running across the slab and damaging the goods being stored. The weather-lip should be on the building drawings so it’s included in every bid. It’s critical in protecting your business from damage claims.
Mistake 7: Not Insulating the Buildings
Whether or not you plan to include climate control, every building should have roof insulation. Metal has a tendency to sweat in the spring and fall when the weather changes. Insulation prevents condensation from dripping inside the building. You can even spend the extra money (about 40 cents per square foot of wall area) to insulate the entire building so you can easily convert the building to climate control should you choose to in the future.
Mistake 8: Not Including Some Climate Control
Why should you build climate-controlled storage? It brings in customers with slightly higher than average household incomes. People with nicer items to store will pay a premium to keep them out of extreme temperatures. This is a high-value, high-profit target market most self-storage facility owners don’t want to miss.
Mistake 9: Forgetting the Gate
An automatic gate allows tenants to access the site after hours, tracks entry and exit activity, and provides priceless information in the unfortunate event of a break-in. Use the gate and fence to ensure only tenants enter the facility. However, it’s important when placing the gate that new customers can access the rental office without having to go through it.
Many of the items mentioned in this list can be used as selling points for your facility. A clean, paved, nicely landscaped, fenced-in site with an automatic gate is impressive to prospective tenants. If they feel secure and are pleased with the appearance, they will be willing to rent from you, even if they have to pay a little more.
Mistake 10: Ordering That ‘On Sale for a Limited Time' Steel-Building Package
Some owners are lured by the possibility of saving money by ordering a “package deal” offered by a steel-building supplier. The package often requires a down payment, usually 25 percent.
Before buying a building package, here are some things to verify:
- Have you received approval from the local zoning department for the size and height of the building(s)?
- Is shipping included in the package cost?
- When do you have to take delivery?
Once these questions are answered and you compare apples to apples, you may find the package isn’t such a great deal. Most self-storage building suppliers can beat the price, delivery schedule, quality and completeness of these packages—without requiring a deposit.
While there’s never any guarantee that every decision you make will be the right one in the long run, consider the above common mistakes made by other self-storage investors or owners as a guide on what not to do. Steering clear of these 10 self-storage building mistakes will help ensure your project is successful beyond opening day.
Caesar Wright is president of Carlsbad, Calif.-based Mako Steel Inc., which designs, supplies and installs steel buildings for the self-storage industry nationwide. For more information, call 800.383.4932l; visit www.makosteel.com.