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Creating a Successful Construction Budget for Self-Storage: Tips for First-Timers

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Your general contractors and subcontractors can also help you with your budget planning. Get at least three bids on all aspects of the project using the plans and concept you’ve developed, and qualify each bid. Make sure they’re bidding to plan and specifications. If you think that’s easy, you’re wrong. It takes a lot of work and persistence to make sure everyone has your concept in mind. Do the work and be persistent, and you’ll end up with a solid budget.

Stick to It!

Now comes the hard part. Sticking to your budget is as much a frame of mind as anything. You have to be focused on your goals and keep them front and center at all times. One of the hardest things to do during a construction project is to stay focused on your financial plan.  It’s OK to go slightly out of it in one area if you know why, see it coming and plan to make it up in another area.

The best method for sticking to a budget is to itemize it to as many individual categories as possible. I prefer to use a spreadsheet and list every item I can think of and try to put a reasonable price on it. Then I set a goal for myself to meet or beat each and every one of those prices as the project moves along. I’ll fight tooth and nail to keep any one item from going over. If it does go over, it puts a lot of pressure on me to make the next one come in under budget. I talk to my subcontractors and suppliers and let them know if I need help. I’ve found that if you’re honest, they’ll help you if they can.

By doing this throughout the project, I’ve been able to stay under or at budget on most developments. Even small items like trash removal, construction signs, etc., can add up, so watch them all. This method also gives you a sense of how your budget is doing from start to finish so, hopefully, you won’t have any surprises along the way.

Remember, plan well, keep your concept in sight and stay focused. Those three things will lead to a successful project built on budget.

A self-storage pioneer, Danny Clemons has been involved in the industry since 1979, participating in the design and construction of more than 50 million square feet of storage space. He’s currently president and owner of DCD Services Inc. and DCD Storage LLC, which furnishes and erects self-storage buildings from coast to coast. He’s also co-owner of D&D Investments, which owns and operates multiple facilities in the South. For more information, call 903.850.8988; e-mail; visit .

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