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Building an Expensive-Looking Self-Storage Facility Without All the Expense

By Steve Hajewski Comments
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Get the Little Details Right

Of course there are many more details, each deserving special attention, including:

  • Security cameras. There’s no reason to not have cameras. The hardware and technology is very affordable, and their presence will give you an edge over competitors without cameras.
  • Swing doors. Many sites feature some type of metal-swing doors. These doors tend to ship in “primer white.” Paint them to match your wall or the color of your roll-up doors for a more finished look.
  • Office doors. Commercial-grade doors usually feature large glass sections with a narrow aluminum frame. If you’re on a tight budget and choose a residential-grade door, go for at least one with a large window and paint the metal portion of the door to match or complement the building. Nothing says “go away” like a rusty (or yellowish faded plastic) door from the home center with a $10 knob.
  • Office windows. Many sites skimp on size and quality of windows on the office. There probably won’t be many windows in the rest of project, so go big and make an impact here.
  • Lighting. Install enough lighting to keep the site feeling bright and safe. Consider whether LED lights are worth the investment. Equivalent output sodium or CFL lights can be had for far less money and are easily replaceable in the future as LED technology improves.
  • Flowers. Just a few flowers around the entrance can make a big impact. Consider adding a basket, pot or window box near the office to give it a more welcoming feeling.
  • Unit numbers. Stickers are commonly used to provide unit identification. But if you’re looking for something that provides a finishing touch, check with your local trophy or engraving shop and have small plaques made instead. These will resemble room numbers at a hotel.

Creating a landscaped entrance to a basic site greatly enhances the appearance of the facility. Heceta Self Storage in Florence, Ore., also renovated an existing small home that was on the land to create a welcoming office.

Using a few of these ideas can make an otherwise ordinary site shine, and the incremental cost should be offset by the increased occupancy that comes with having a more attractive self-storage facility. As you design your next site, think about how combining basic buildings with a few smart upgrades can transform the overall look. I hope that you find a few of these ideas to be useful on your next project.

Steve Hajewski is the marketing manager at Trachte Building Systems, which designs, manufactures and erects a full line of pre-engineered and customized steel self-storage systems, including single- and multi-story, portable storage, interior partition and corridor, and canopy boat/RV. He’s also a frequent contributor on Self-Storage Talk, the industry's largest online community. For more information, call 800.356.5824; visit .

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