Who’s King of the Self-Storage Mountain? Follow All the Players With the ISS Top-Operators Lists

Working on the Inside Self-Storage Top-Operators Lists is a labor of love because the annual campaign is a treasure trove of industry insight to which companies are aggressively growing while others hang back. Here’s how you can access different tiers of data in this year’s release

Tony Jones, ISS Store Manager, Contributing Editor

August 6, 2021

3 Min Read
Who’s King of the Self-Storage Mountain? Follow All the Players With the ISS Top-Operators Lists

The ISS team works on several rich projects each year, but one could argue that none of our annual campaigns offers as much year-over-year industry insight as the Top-Operators Lists. This yearly compilation not only ranks the industry’s leading real estate investment trusts (REITs), multi-facility operators and management companies by net rentable square footage, it offers a glimpse into which power players are in aggressive growth mode, who’s holding steady and who’s selling assets or, perhaps, losing management contracts.

This week, we released the 2021 Top-Operators Lists, which rank the industry’s top 100 facility owners and top 50 third-party management companies. In a previous blog, I mentioned that this year’s data collection would be handled through a new platform called JotForm. In addition, this year’s release has three tiers of information available. The simple list rankings are now viewable on the ISS website, while more detailed listings (company leadership; contact information; facility, unit and square-footage figures; operating names and expansion plans) are featured in the September issue of ISS Magazine. The magazine also features an analytical report by yours truly.

The most amount of Top-Operators data—essentially everything we collect—is in the annual ISS Store package, which is ready for purchase. The key to the package is a fully executable spreadsheet in Excel format. This is ideal for anyone who wants to do business with big industry players. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or investigate existing and potential competition, these lists are for you.

In addition to both complete lists in Excel format, the package includes a 20-page PDF companion comprising the three-page analytical report of the list results and a full representation of the rankings in easy-to-read format. The lists feature data on owned vs. managed self-storage facilities for companies that do both, with breakouts for number of facilities, units and square footage for each.

The annual report is always an interesting foray through the ebb and flow of portfolio growth and contraction. Since we began closely charting the square-footage fluctuations from year to year, we’ve been able to chronicle the rise of companies like National Storage Affiliates Trust, which muscled its way into the top echelon of the REITs, as well as recent aggressors on the scene, such as City Line Capital and Merit Hill Capital. In particular, the report tracks activity by the industry’s six largest players, putting their numbers in context with each other as well as the larger rankings. If you’d like to do your own in-depth tracking and analysis, previous lists for 2012 through 2020 are also available for purchase.

To give you a little taste of the breadth of data and activity, we’ve also published a special gallery (viewable to anyone), which provides an inside look at company movement in the latest ranks. It includes historical and comparison data and offers insight to factors that affected the lists this year.

Thank you to all the operators who voluntarily and faithfully submit their data each year. By providing annual updates, you provide the industry with a treasure trove of information and insight to what’s occurring in relation to investment, new development and expansion projects. If we didn’t collect information from you this year, but you wish to participate in next year’s campaign, please complete our online JotForm to ensure you’re contacted when we begin collecting 2022 Top-Operators data next May/June.

About the Author(s)

Tony Jones

ISS Store Manager, Contributing Editor, Inside Self-Storage

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