Do I buy or build? It’s a question many a self-storage owner or investor has asked himself over the years, and it’s a good one. This fun quiz can help you decide which direction to go on your next project. Enjoy!

Katherine D’Agostino, Founder

July 11, 2020

3 Min Read
Take the Quiz: Should You BUY or BUILD Your Next Self-Storage Facility?

If you’re an owner or investor who wants to enter the self-storage business or expand his portfolio, you may be debating whether your first or next project should be an acquisition, a ground-up development or something in between. Let’s help you decide! The following fun quiz will determine whether it’s better for you to buy or build. Keep track of your answers, and then I’ll tell you what they mean.

1. What’s your game, baby?

  1. Blackjack

  2. Poker

  3. Roulette

2. How would your colleagues describe your patience level?

  1. Miss Piggy

  2. Fozzie Bear

  3. Kermit the Frog

3. What does your business coach say about your approach?

  1. Slow and steady wins the race

  2. Jockeying for position

  3. Warp speed ahead, captain

4. What’s your favorite HGTV show?

  1. Love It or List It

  2. Fixer Upper

  3. HGTV Dream Home

5. When it comes to your experience in building a business from scratch, to whom do you most relate?

  1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

  2. Jackie Chan

  3. Bruce Lee

6. What are your return on investment goals?

  1. Golden Nugget

  2. The Luxor

  3. Bellagio

7. How much capital can you comfortably risk on a deal you may have to walk away from?

  1. Pinto

  2. Mustang

  3. Corvette

8. What’s your timeline, e.g., how long can you wait to find Prince/Princess Charming?

  1. Pretty Woman

  2. When Harry Met Sally

  3. Sleeping Beauty

9. How much do you know about the self-storage industry?

  1. Bill Nye the Science Guy

  2. Neil deGrasse Tyson

  3. Einstein

10. How would you describe your risk tolerance?

  1. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

  2. I don’t put all my eggs in one basket.

  3. I like to skate on thin ice.

11. What happens on your ideal vacation?

  1. Picnicking

  2. Mountain biking

  3. Rock climbing

12. Which best describes the kind of life you want?

  1. I like to check in from the ninth tee.

  2. I keep my planner close and my Google Calendar even closer.

  3. Work hard and play even harder.

13. Your closest friend always contacts you first when which one of these situations arises:

  1. He needs a job reference

  2. He needs bail money

  3. He needs help moving

14. Which phrases are you most likely to overhear being said about you?

  1. Saving for a rainy day

  2. The early bird who gets the worm

  3. Crazy like a fox

15. What’s the most outrageous thing you ever did to close a deal?

  1. Sold my stock options

  2. Sold my house

  3. Sold my children

16. If you were a dog, what would you be?

  1. Border Collie

  2. St. Bernard

  3. Rottweiler

17. What are you most afraid of?

  1. My projects not getting off the ground because I’m afraid to pull the trigger

  2. Being so comfortable with my existing projects that I’m slow to take on more

  3. Dying before I complete all my projects

18. What song best describes the role do you usually take in a public debate?

  1. I’ll Be There for You

  2. Come Together

  3. Who Let the Dogs Out?

What’s the Verdict?

Now, tally your answers, giving yourself one point for each A, two points for each B and three points for each C. Once you have your total, read your answer below.

  • 18-30 points: Buy an existing facility. You see the value in a well-oiled machine and you’re going to drive that baby into the sunset. Look for a self-storage facility whose owner lovingly cared for it and was a responsible businessperson, and do what he or she did.

  • 31-43 points: Buy a value-add facility and expand. Your ability to see the potential in a property will stand you in good stead. Look for one with room for improvement. If there’s land on which to expand, even better. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll quickly be a happy, wealthy owner.

  • 44 or more: Build a new facility. With a cocktail in one hand and a whip in the other, you’re going to get those frogs into that bucket if it’s the last thing you do. Your ground-up project may realize the biggest returns, when and if it comes to fruition. So bring on that grumpy city council, that water-detention pond and those pesky REITs. You got this!

Katherine D’Agostino is the founder and sensei of Self-Storage Ninjas, a feasibility-analysis firm delivering unbiased reports resulting in facilities with high occupancy and the highest possible returns. She offers a free, weekly newsletter that provides insider techniques, ready-to-use calculators, downloadable spreadsheets and data sources. For more information, visit

About the Author(s)

Katherine D’Agostino

Founder, Self-Storage Ninjas

Katherine D’Agostino is the founder of Self-Storage Ninjas, a feasibility-analysis firm delivering unbiased reports resulting in facilities with high occupancies and the highest possible returns. Contact Sensei Katherine via her website,

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