Choosing a Self-Storage Builder: Industry Experience Trumps Low Bidders

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The Permitting Process

Permitting and environmental processes are not for the faint of heart. A professional builder who understands the permitting process and the industry-specific issues that arise will help you through the often arduous process.

Single-Source Supplier

You’ll save time and money if your builder designs, manufactures and builds the entire project. You want to look for a builder who can offer everything you require such as multi-purpose self-storage buildings, customized structures, movable structures, and boat- and RV-storage buildings and canopies. By working with one, full-service company for all elements, you’ll eliminate duplication of effort and the need to deal with all the brokers, shipping companies and subcontractors. Ultimately, you’ll have more control over budgets and deadlines.

Quality Products

While budget is always a consideration, it will cost you more in the long run if the products used in the construction of your buildings are not designed to withstand weather or resist corrosion, leaks and other types of damage. Make sure the products your builder supplies are top-quality and designed to last.

Project Management

You want to work with a company whose team of professionals will run your construction site, maximize efficiencies, foresee and solve potential problems before they cost you time and money, and keep you informed at each step of the project. Experienced self-storage builders have well-honed protocols to minimize surprises and keep a project on track.

Don’t just trust your gut feeling. Talk with previous customers to make sure they had a good experience. Take a tour of facilities the company has designed and built. Meet all the key players who will be working on your project.

Customer Service

A company that understands that your success is its own success will ensure your project is completed on time and budget and meets all your requirements. And it'll be there after that final check is cashed.

Price

Finally, you need to consider cost. Get competitive estimates, but make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. To do so, you’ll need to understand what materials are being used, how much insulation you’ll include, what the finishes will be, requirements for grading the site, and many other factors. Don't be taken in by a low number on the bottom line. Scrutinize the bid to ensure there won't be extensive change orders and hidden costs later.

It’s a long road from site selection to opening day. Make your journey a little smoother by choosing an experienced self-storage builder.

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.

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