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He that would have fruit must climb the tree. Thomas Fuller

If it aint broke, dont fix it. Many facility owners subscribe to that philosophy when it comes to self-storage ancillaries. Self-storage rentals are chugging along, customer-service quality is high, staff is busy, and customers seem happy enough. Why toss in another fish to fry?

Some would say its the money, honey. To which operators already wielding a heaping skillet of sizzling haddock would reply, Im making plenty.

But there is no such thing as extra moneyeven if you have to climb high up the tree to get it. Remember the excitement of the early days of self-storage, when it was a shiny industry brimming with potential? Maybe youve only heard the stories because you came late to the game. In some circles, mobile storage and boat/RV storage are considered close relations to that rarest of creatures: the ground-floor opportunity.

RV is the next wave in self-storage, R. Christian Sonne of Self Storage Economics told us at the ISS Expo in Reno this summer. How many would like to go back and buy some self-storage land or facilities or build more? I think all of us would. But maybe there are some opportunities here in RV/boat storage that would really help all of us.

According to Mr. Sonne, one of the industrys leading appraisers and researchers, a study of 3,000 recreational-vehicle storage spaces revealed occupancy steady at 95 percent. Supply-side analysis also showed rapid absorptionone facility filled 275 stalls in eight months.

Of course, storage operators need to do their own market research and number crunching. The point is that ripe opportunities abound. Just a couple years ago, mobile storage was considered a fadthen PODS grew to a $200 million-a-year business. Recent articles on the company trumpet: PODS takes big chunk out of moving, storage market.

Should you be getting your chunk back? Mobile-storage suppliers say portable containers are the next logical evolution of self-storage. Scores of conventional facilities already have moved in on the action.

In this issue, our writers give you a realistic picture of the ancillary branchesrecords, car wash, etc. Please take a look. Maybe youve overlooked some low-hanging fruit worthy of your attention.

How sweet it is,                      

Kimberly Hundley 

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