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The SBA 7(a) Loan Program: A Self-Storage Overview and Case Study

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Loan Success Story

In 2016, John Lindsey, co-founder and president of the Lindsey Self Storage Group, was ready to expand his portfolio. Over the past 40 years, his company has developed and managed more than 100 facilities in the Southeast. When seeking capital to finance his latest project, Lindsey explored his options and ultimately chose an SBA loan. “SBA financing provided my company with a strong opportunity to acquire a new asset that has proved to be quintessential to the continued success of my company,” he says.

With a working-capital loan, Lindsey was able to take a property that was previously mismanaged with minimal cash flow and turn it into a new and improved facility. “This capital was put directly toward various capital improvements—both physically and operationally—that aided us in the repositioning of the asset in the market,” he says. “Without this type of loan, we wouldn’t have been able to take on a project of this capacity.”

Lindsey’s success story is just one of many. The SBA loan program has given self-storage owners and investors the opportunity to own their facilities and thrive in a growing market.

Choosing a Lender

When considering an SBA loan, finding a lender that focuses solely on SBA lending and has a background in self-storage will lead to a smoother and more transparent process. For this reason, it’s helpful to seek a lender who’s part of the SBA’s Preferred Lender Program (PLP). A PLP lender will know how to determine eligibility and properly structure the loan. PLP status allows a bank to approve the loan without waiting for the SBA approval, as it actually acts on the SBA’s behalf.

“Working with a lender with extensive knowledge of self-storage provided a seamless process from start to finish, which allowed us to move extremely quickly through the SBA process,” Lindsey says.

If you’re a current self-storage owner or looking to break into the industry, an SBA 7(a) loan may be just what you need. Do your research and find a lender that understands the SBA loan programs as well as the storage business.

Terry Campbell is general manager for the self-storage lending division of Live Oak Bank, which offers financing for facility acquisitions, construction, expansion, refinancing or renovation. He has more than 22 years of self-storage industry experience. For more information, call 910.202.6933; e-mail; visit

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