I spent several years of my journalism career covering the outdoor-products industry, writing about the products, services and business dynamics related to human-powered recreation. I’ve had the good fortune to climb a volcano in the Canary Islands, hike several miles along the Appalachian Trail, learn search-and-rescue night navigation in the Mt. Hood backcountry during the early days of handheld GPS units and experience several other adventures all in the name of product testing or story coverage as a member of the outdoor media. All of these excursions were conducted in the presence of field experts who imparted their wisdom and used their own experience to keep me reasonably safe from harm.
One of the biggest controversies during my time in the outdoor world was the influx of deep-pocketed thrill seekers who could buy their way into an attempt to summit Mt. Everest, regardless of experience or ability. One of the knocks on Everest is that it’s not considered a particularly technical climb by experienced mountaineers, which gives many inexperienced adventurers the false impression that—outside of little things like inclement weather and extreme altitude—getting to the top of the world’s highest peak isn’t that hard. Even so, most people understand it takes a team and an experienced, capable Sherpa to attempt such a feat.
There are parallel truths in the self-storage industry. From the outside, the business model looks simple (a facility practically runs itself!) and inviting (see highest-performing real estate sectors during the Great Recession). How hard can it be, right? As the industry rides the wave of another development cycle, many new investors and inexperienced owners will feel the gravity of all the uphill switchbacks the development trail has to offer, followed by the stomach-churning roaring rapids of facility operation.
In outdoor recreation, mishaps occur with even the most experienced adventurers. It can be easy to lose sight of important details, get overconfident or make errors in judgment if you let your guard down. The same is true in business. As more self-storage operators come to market, and as the industry’s largest players gobble up territory, it’s critical for independent owners to up their game, evolve with industry trends and stay focused on the critical tasks at hand.
Since we launched the Inside Self-Storage Store, one of our top-five performing products each year has been our annual series of ISS Guidebooks. We’ve evolved these offerings since their inception, but the goal remains the same. The aim is to provide novice and experienced facility investors, owners and managers with a comprehensive collection of information and expert insight to help guide them through the travails of financing, building and operating a profitable and proficient self-storage business.
We recently released the 2016 Guidebook Series, available exclusively through the ISS Store. For the first time, digital and softcover publications are available individually or in a discounted package. Built similarly to the 2015 series, the new release includes three thematic publications focused on crucial aspects of self-storage ownership, management and building/investment. The series includes:
- Building/Investing Guidebook: Designed to help those interested in self-storage investing as well as those who want to establish or expand an operation, this guidebook addresses real estate, finance, development and construction.
- Facility-Management Guidebook: This Guidebook addresses key aspects of a self-storage manager’s duties and provides insight to sales, legal issues, money management, marketing, maintenance, career development, security and technology.
- Ownership Guidebook: Designed to help self-storage owners maximize their investment, this guidebook covers revenue management, marketing, staffing, outsourcing, security, add-on services, technology, liability and more.
The softcover versions come in magazine format and are available for $59.95 each or $149 for the three-piece discount package. U.S. Postal Service shipping rates apply. Similar to past series, the digital versions come in a PDF format that’s easy to view on a computer screen or tablet. They’re available for immediate download upon completion of purchase. The price for individual books is $49.95, and the discount package is $119. Combined, the 2016 series offers a whopping 167 educational articles written by some of the brightest minds in the business.
Self-storage can be a rewarding and highly profitable business, but no one should set out to climb a mountain or embark on an unknown adventure without a field guide or trusty trail map. Whether you’re considering an investment into the business, looking to expand an existing operation or are in the trenches of day-to-day management, let ISS and our team of Sherpas assist you on your journey.
If you’ve purchased a 2016 or older Guidebook, we’d love to hear how it helped you in your decision-making or if you have suggestions for topics of coverage or improvements to the product. We’d love to have your feedback. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.