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Considerations and Costs for Adding Boat RV/Storage to a Self-Storage Property

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Fully enclosed building. This is basically a large garage. It's secure and may be accessed only by the renter. Typically, the minimum unit width for boat/RV storage is 12 feet, with most units being 14 or 15 feet wide and 45 feet to 50 feet deep. They'll usually have an eve height of about 16 feet and a 12 -by-14-foot door to accommodate even the largest RV.

The per-square-foot cost of building this structure is more expensive than that of traditional self-storage because the buildings require more support for the large door.  A power operator is also commonly used to operate the door.

Three-sided storage canopy. This unit has one open side but is enclosed on the other three sides. It is mostly protected from the environment, but is not individually separated from other units. This type of storage is often used in areas prone to snow, as it provides more protection than open canopies.

Fully enclosed self-storage units such as this one are typically 45 feet to 50 feet deep, with an eve height of about 16 feet and a 12 -by-14-foot door to accommodate even the largest RV.Standard storage canopy or outside parking. Operators who have extra land can consider adding a standard storage canopy or simply designating an area for outside parking. A standard canopy is open with just a roof. This type of structure will protect vehicles from the sun, but there is little protection from rain, snow or wind.

Outside parking is just that—a parking space. The only security for the client is the initial gate access to the property.  Also, there’s zero protection from the elements, as the vehicles are simply parked in an open area. Although minimal, this type of storage can still be lucrative for operators in markets where there’s a high demand for boat/RV storage. 

Construction Costs to Consider

Taxes. When it comes to weighing costs, many business owners forget to consider whether their storage canopies or three-sided RV-storage units are considered “buildings” by their local tax authority. This will have a significant impact on the tax assessment, so be clear before you make a decision about unit types to build.

Sprinklers. Fire sprinklers, which increase construction costs and ongoing operational expenses, are another overlooked outlay. In some areas, even canopies of more than a certain size require sprinklers.

Building components. The additional structural strength required by these oversized units also increases the cost of building components. The total price of RV storage usually ends up being slightly higher than that of traditional self-storage but significantly less than climate-controlled storage.

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