When is the Best Time to Open a Self Storage Facility?

As an operator of a self storage facility, it is important to make every decision strategically. To be as successful as possible, there is no room for a lackadaisical approach. This doesn’t just apply to day-to-day operations. Intentional business practices begin the day you commit to building construction.

In fact, the first strategic decision to be made as a business owner is when exactly to open for business. There are pros and cons to opening a self storage facility in each season. The decision is yours, but we have some food for thought to get you pointed in the right direction.

Opening a Self Storage Facility in the Winter

Winter is not a prime season for all industries. In fact, many vertical markets are negatively impacted in the winter months. Luckily, self storage facilities can actually perform very well in the winter.

The pros of opening a self storage facility in the winter include

  • Quick boost of renters who need to store their holiday items
  • Renters looking for climate-controlled storage in the frigid months
  • If your facility has the space, renters will be looking for RV, boat or other large storage for their summer toys

If your facility offers shipping options as well, as many self storage businesses do, you can really market those services for the holiday rush to help boost initial profit margins.

In some locales, however, the winter may be very slow and you may experience trouble getting renters into units.

Outside of the practical benefits of opening a self storage business during the winter months, there are other benefits. Winter is a great time to focus marketing efforts to build brand awareness. While families spend more time inside, on their phones or televisions, marketers have a more captive audience.

Opening a Self Storage Facility in the Spring

Spring offers a wealth of opportunity for self storage business owners.

Spring is a popular time for moving, renovating and cleaning. As the chill of winter falls away and activity begins to increase, self storage business owners have a fantastic opportunity for capturing some of that activity.

Spring is typically one of the most prosperous times for self storage businesses – more so than summer and certainly more so than the winter. Business owners that will rely on a foundational customer base will have the best chance at gaining one in the spring. However, it is important to note that because of the high-activity levels in the spring, competitors will likely offer spring-specific deals that could make other facilities less attractive to renters. Owners that don’t want to compete for traffic might have better luck opening a facility at another time of the year.

Opening a Self Storage Facility in the Summer

While not as active for self storage businesses as the spring, the summer is a hot season for renters and can be especially lucrative for specific self storage businesses.

By the time the summer rolls around, most seriously-interested storage unit renters have found a facility already. So, opening a self storage business in the summer might be met with a deficit of customers.

There is one exception, however: college students. College students move and store their belongings in the summer more than any other time. Owners of self storage facilities located in close proximity to a college campus can greatly benefit from college students moving into and out of town over the summer months.

Opening a Self Storage facility in the Fall

Objectively, fall might be the worst season to open a self storage business. However, with some smart marketing, it can be a very profitable season.

The fall months are sort of the “predecessor” to the winter, holiday months. If self storage business owners target their marketing, they may be able to secure the holiday customer base before their competitors.

Another pro for opening a self storage facility in the fall is that you can likely count on your renters to stay throughout the winter and spring. Most people don’t want to be caught moving in the colder months, so each renter that is secured will pay their monthly rent for at least a few months after.

To learn more about starting a self storage business, and the best time of year to do so, contact BETCO Inc, a single source self storage specialist since 1984.


How Automation Can Make Self Storage More Profitable

 

Over the last decade, the U.S. has seen significant evolution in the way businesses are run. Specifically, tech advancements have popularized automation to make businesses more consumer-friendly, efficient and ultimately: profitable.

Self storage has not been exempt from these tech advancements and the industry has seen some impressive updates.

How Automation Can Be Applied to Self Storage Management

Automation offers a range of options for improving the user experience. Implementing tools like a mobile-friendly website, online renting, kiosk rental stations, online bill-pay, mobile phone-activated gate access and text reminders can entice the tech-savvy, modern renter.

Making self storage a friendly and accessible option for consumers not only draws in more renters, it can increase the value of your available units.

Minimize Expenses

Perhaps the most important innovation brought about by automation for self storage owners and managers is the ability to minimize expenses.

In the past, a self storage facility absolutely had to have an on-site manager. With the advancements brought about by automation, that is no longer the case. Many self storage facilities are now opting to have fully-unmanned facilities. Imagine the money saved on staffing costs if self storage owners could operate their facilities without the cost of hourly employees.

An unmanned self storage facility is achieved primarily through the use of kiosks. Installing a self-service kiosk does require an upfront investment, but it is typically minimal and eventually the savings from staffing costs will compensate. In addition to saving money for self storage facility owners, self-service kiosks improve customer satisfaction and allow the facilities to remain open 24 hours a day.

Modernize Your Marketing

One of the most important considerations for self storage business owners is marketing. Now more than ever, consumers rely on the internet and social media for finding professional services. To remain relevant and competitive with other similar business owners, self storage facility managers must develop a modern marketing strategy that utilizes consistent automated (pre-scheduled) email marketing, mobile alerts, social media and a strong web presence.

Modernized marketing increases sales, sustains any existing customer base and grows a businesses’ presence in its relevant community.

Fortunately, recent tech advancements have made DIY marketing affordable and simple. Since all business owners are trying to up their digital marketing game, there are many tools available on the web to assist.

Automating your self storage facility doesn’t have to break the bank. Facility enhancements are an investment not only in your building, but in your long-term business success. For more information on automation options, contact BETCO for a free consultation.


The Self Storage Industry Is Booming – That’s Why It’s Quickly Becoming 2018’s Hottest Investment

 

You’ve probably seen them popping up in your town, and your neighboring town, and anywhere you travel to – the self storage industry is growing rapidly. Given the rationale behind the growth, it’s unlikely that the industry will show signs of slowing anytime soon.

As it stands presently, self storage is a $38 billion industry annually in the U.S. Over $2.27 billion was spent in 2017 in the first eight months alone on construction of self storage facilities. That is more than the entirety of 2016 where $1.9 billion was spent nationwide.

Why Is the Self Storage Industry Growing So Much?

The steady and impressive growth that the self storage industry has displayed over the last years has certainly piqued the interest of all types of investors. The growth has left many asking if the industry is sustainable as an investment.

In short, yes.

One of the largest contributing factors to the growth of the self storage industry is residential downsizing. This class of consumers is largely comprised of young families looking for a more affordable home and the Baby Boomer generation looking to downsize around their retirement.

Think about it like this: around 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 each day in the U.S. That’s a pretty large customer base. There are 325.7 million people in the U.S.1  The Self Storage Association notes that 1 in 10 people use self storage in their lifetime, giving investors ample opportunity to capitalize on.

Another significant contribution to the growth of the self storage industry is a focus on image that the industry has recently undergone. In years past, self storage was often thought of as storage rooms. Today the cosmetic appeal of many self storage facilities has shifted that perception.

Self storage facilities can be single-story or, if land prices are a concern, self storage facilities can be multi-story to make the most out of a smaller lot.

Many newer facilities are outfitted with curb appeal on the outside, with punch code security and cameras to build an additional layer of customer trust. Some new units even have retail space in their lower floors – creating potential for additional revenue.

Additionally, door and hallway systems make it easy to repurpose older, vacated buildings and bring new life to their communities.

Investors Aren’t Only Attracted to Self Storage Because of the High Demand – Self Storage Is a Sustainable Investment

The usefulness of self storage creates a high demand for facilities among consumers and investors are mindful of that. However, part of the attractiveness of investing in self storage lie in its resilience in times of market distress.

Consumers are in demand of self storage units whether the economy is an upturn or a downturn – a characteristic largely unique to self storage businesses.

When the economy is in a downturn, people downsize. Downsizing often commands the need for rental space to store belongings that can no longer fit in the home.

In times of economic upshift, consumers commonly purchase more items than they can keep in their home. Utilizing extra income, consumers are likely to rent a self storage unit to store their extra possessions.

Self storage is actually such a resilient and lucrative investment that many investors have no real estate experience at all turn a profit. The 2018 Self storage Almanac revealed that almost 75 percent of self storage facilities are owned by small operators.

Investors with experience in real estate rental prefer self storage over apartment rentals due to the simplicity of managing the space. No toilets to break, and no live-in renters to deal with.

Why Not Invest in Self Storage?

Self storage can be largely passive income. These facilities are affordable, require little in terms of operation, are in high-demand, and are flexible for almost any investor’s needs. You don’t even need any prior real estate experience to take advantage of the lucrative opportunity that self storage investment offers.

To learn more about investing in the self storage industry, contact BETCO Inc. at 1-800-654-7813 or complete this form.

1. United States Census BureauWorld Bank

 


Turning Idle Buildings into Active Self Storage

Self storage is one of today’s fastest-growing forms of commercial real estate. One strategy that is becoming very popular with entrepreneurs is the conversion of pre-existing structures into self storage buildings. While not right for every project, this solution is a great, cost-effective alternative for many.

The recent shift in consumer habits toward online shopping has left many types of existing buildings eligible for conversion to self storage facilities. All across the country, malls, warehouses and grocery stores sit empty. Using prefabricated steel door, partition and hallway systems, these once abandoned buildings can be turned into profitable investments.  Many buildings also have unexpected benefits such as expansive parking lots or adjacent building pads for additional income.

If a self storage conversion is suitable for you, the benefits can be numerous. First, a self storage conversion is cost-effective, eliminating many construction expenses. Storage Business Owners Alliance says converting empty buildings into self storage facilities reduces construction costs up to 30 percent. In addition to this large sum saved, conversions also are commonly economical in terms of heating and cooling, as well as initial permitting expenditures.

In addition to the financial aspects, conversions often come with some less obvious benefits. For example, you’ll be doing the neighborhood a favor by revamping an older building. Communities may be more receptive to the revitalization of an existing building than they would be with new construction. In addition to improving an existing element of the community, conversions require less workspace and create less mess. Your potential new neighbors are your built-in customer base, and existing buildings typically can obtain zoning and permit clearance more easily than new construction.

Conversions are not the only way to go about investing in a new, lucrative business as a self storage owner. Conventional ground-up construction is the right choice for many, but conversion provides an economical alternative that can save both time and money.

BETCO Inc., a leading self storage building manufacturer, provides the support you need to decide if a conversion project can be right for you. With the prestigious ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System Certification plus in-house experts specializing in engineering, design, manufacturing and installation, we’ve got what you need to make your self storage venture a success.

 

 


Multi-Story Self-Storage: A Lucrative Real Estate Investment Opportunity

 

Self-storage is a relatively new industry that is rapidly changing. It has evolved from single-story storage units to temperature and humidity-controlled facilities. Climate-controlled storage maintains optimal temperatures to reduce humidity, which helps to prevent moisture that can lead to destructive mold and mildew growth on belongings. Investing in climate-controlled spaces is profitable because customers will pay premium rates to keep belongings protected.

An emerging trend is multi-story, multi-use buildings with two or more stories of storage, equipped with elevators that make moving belongings easier.  These configurations have made self-storage a lucrative opportunity for commercial investors, entrepreneurs, the architects that design them, and anyone looking for the opportunity to achieve a healthy return on investment.

To better illustrate why it’s a good investment opportunity, the market for self-storage is mainly residential areas that are typically within 3-5 miles of a facility. People utilizing the service appreciate convenience. The population density found in cities makes multi-story self-storage a great fit for urban environments.

Self-Storage in Landlocked Areas

Because many urban areas are becoming landlocked – with land availability becoming scarce, real estate prices are rising. Even in rural areas with homes being built on smaller lots, there is little room for sheds and garages. The inability to store belongings on the property calls for the self-storage facility closest to home. For most, it’s faster and more convenient to rent self-storage space than it is to invest in a personal storage building that may have to be built or delivered at an initial cost that is greater than one year of self-storage rental fees.

The Potential of Self-Storage Investing

According to Media Group Online Inc., yearly self-storage revenue is now up to $22 billion each year. This translates into $1.42 per square foot, and most facilities have an 87.4 percent occupancy rate. However, less than 9 percent of households in the U.S. are renting self-storage units. Considering the current revenues and the potential for growth, there is limitless potential. Investing in multi-story self-storage produces a better return on investment (ROI) than many other types of commercial real estate investments.

One reason why investing in self-storage produces a superior ROI is because other commercial markets are saturated. For example, it might be difficult to establish a restaurant in a specific area because there might already be a strong restaurant market. Self-storage, however, is experiencing burgeoning growth, and construction of new facilities continues on an upward trajectory.

Another reason why self-storage produces better ROI is that, once stabilized, self-storage facilities generally offer good recession resistance compared to other commercial real estate.

Investing in Multi-Story Self-Storage

With self-storage growing by leaps and bounds, it presents many opportunities for architects, private equity firms, investment groups, the general contractors that build them, and entrepreneurs looking to make an investment with a high probability of turning a profit. Multiple people with interests in this industry are given the opportunity to make money at different phases of the process. It’s the investor that has the opportunity to receive returns over the long term.

Multi-story self-storage is in the early stages of ascendant growth offering one of the best investment vehicles in the commercial real estate world.


Quality Design Wins Support for Self-Storage Facilities

 

Municipal approval of self-storage facility projects has its ups and downs. In one community, the local city council may turn down a request to build a self-storage facility. In another, it may heartily say “Yes.”

The answer to why one proposal succeeds and the other fails may be as simple as right place, right design. To get a zoning board, council and residents to support a project, it’s important to select a location that is good for the community as well as your company. An attractive, well-landscaped facility design is also key to acceptance.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Here are some examples of green lights and roadblocks that self-storage companies have encountered nationwide.

Design Wins in North Carolina. Despite wavering at first, Cary, North Carolina’s city council in August 2016 approved construction of a new self-storage facility near its downtown.

Design quality similar to an upscale office building, climate controlled units, video surveillance and the developer’s willingness to meet extra requirements — restrictions on size (500 units) and noise — split the council’s vote in the developer’s favor.

Illinois Approves Mixed Use. Last July, the city council of Woodstock, Illinois, agreed to rezone a prime piece of real estate for a mixed use commercial project including up to 600 self-storage units, a popular big box store, and a small amount of restaurant and small retail space.

However, a year earlier, Woodstock’s council had turned down the developer’s first pitch, which had supplemented the storage facility with a gas station and convenience store. In particular, some council members were concerned about environmental impact of installing fuel tanks at the site, which is near the city’s river.

Lesson learned? Mixed use makes storage projects more appealing, but the mix has to be right.

Saying No in Colorado. In the Denver suburb of Littleton, Colorado, the local city council in August 2017 turned down a rezoning request by a national self-storage company. The proposed site for new construction of an 800-unit facility would have abutted a river greenbelt.

Littleton’s council almost unanimously opposed the project. As one council member noted, the facility wouldn’t support the area’s focus on “recreation, retail, entertainment and housing.”

Design that Fits

Writing at Inside Self-Storage (ISS) magazine, architectural and planning services expert Mark J. Sullivan reports that better design is improving acceptance of self-storage facilities in the densely populated neighborhoods that provide the customer convenience and foot traffic necessary for success.

Sullivan notes that developers are learning they need to blend storage facilities with the neighborhoods in which they are located. He adds that the facilities also need to provide a “clean, open and bright aesthetic with retail-like characteristics.”

Attractive, sturdy construction — whether multiple or single story — wins over customers as well as councils and surrounding communities. Inside Self Storage offers a slideshow of industry trends, such as beast-to-beauty makeovers of storage businesses that once were eyesores and clubhouses for customers at high-end facilities housing RVs.

New Multi-Story Focus

Multi-story structures are a growing focus in the self-storage industry due to decreasing building sites and increasing land costs in urban areas. That’s why BETCO opened a multi-story design center in Charlotte, North Carolina, more than a year ago. BETCO is a single source, self-storage producer from consultation and design to manufacturing and construction. Contact us today to meet your needs and those of the communities you serve.


How to Make Your Self-Storage Facility Eco-friendly


Spending on construction in the self-storage industry has grown rapidly in the last two years, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics reported by SpareFoot Storage Beat in September.

The industry spent about $200 million in 2016 and is on track to exceed $280 million this year. While those statistics illustrate growing demand for self-storage, they also indicate the competition to come. One major way self-storage owners can improve business sustainability is by building and retrofitting storage facilities to be more environmentally sustainable.

As the market grows, so does consumer interest in supporting businesses that are striving to go green. Here some ways to make your self-storage business more eco-friendly from construction materials to consumer education.

Build Green & Tight

Galvalume® treated steel prevents corrosion leading to leaks and an unsightly appearance. Customers may be hesitant to rent units that appear rusty. Sturdy materials and regular maintenance prevent deterioration that results in water, temperature and pest damage to stored goods.

Speaking of pests, steel deters termites. Make sure insulation is sufficient to help regulate temperature in units. Rigid foam insulation containing non-toxic borates — the stuff in borax soap — also discourages pests.

Provide Climate & Energy Control

Efficient roofing is another aspect of successful steel construction. Coatings containing a high percentage of infrared reflectants help metal roofs maintain better, more stable temperatures inside storage units. A cool finish reduces a roof’s surface temperature by up to 38 degrees F and saves on energy costs by about 23 percent.

Energy usage also decreases with the installation of solar panels, LED lighting and sensor-embedded smart technologies, such as thermostats remotely controlled by computers. Lower energy use translates to financial savings for both the business and customers.

Conserve & Control Runoff

Communities surrounding self-storage facilities want good business neighbors that maintain an attractive, clean environment. They also want new development that doesn’t greatly increase the strain on water and sewer systems.

Eco-friendly strategies include decreasing the amount of treated water used for landscaping and increasing consumption of runoff water. Landscaping thrives on gray water, and research shows that plants cleanse toxins from runoff. Xeriscape is a landscaping technique that thrives on runoff. It’s based on attractive plants that can handle plentiful moisture as well as drought.

Another matter to consider regarding gray water, is that local zoning laws may require construction projects to avoid increasing runoff and to install leaching fields.

Finally, when designing plantings, remember that keeping them away from storage units will also keep rodents and insects away.

Educate Customers about Safety

Another way to create a clean, safe storage environment is to educate customers about what kinds of materials not to stow in their units. For example, food may attract insects that can damage other goods. And storing combustible materials — including paints and solvents — is hazardous. Also, anything that may leak toxic chemicals can harm air quality in a storage facility.

Also, providing clearly marked and well-managed bins for recyclables — including potential dangers, such as auto batteries, helps customers and reduces garbage.

Conserve Your Effort

Here’s one last thought: As the owner of a self-storage business you need to conserve your energy when involved in new construction or improvement of property. Hiring a single source self-storage specialist helps. BETCO provides consultation, design, building, manufacturing and installation services. Contact us today to help you create a sustainable, attractive facility.


What Does BETCO’s ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System Certification Mean for You?


Quality. It’s one of the three big promises in the business world: quality, service and delivery. And quality certainly is one of the cornerstones of BETCO’s business as a single-source self-storage building manufacturer. We couldn’t have manufactured and installed more than 60 million square feet of storage buildings since we began business in 1984 if we didn’t focus on quality, as well as offering both newcomers to the storage industry and existing owners business education and support.
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Getting the Word Out: How to Market a Self Storage Business for Maximum Profitability

 

So, you’ve made the leap into self-storage business ownership—or at least you’re seriously considering it. When it comes to doing business, though, having the service or product ready to go is only half the battle. To be successful and maximize your self-storage business’s profitability, you have to get the word out to prospective customers—making an effective marketing strategy an absolute must in today’s competitive marketplace.
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Flexibility in Design Using BETCO’s Customizable Self Storage Partition Walls

 

Customers change—and over time, so do their self storage needs. When you first design your self storage building for a specific locale or demographic, you choose a unit mix and self storage partition walls that are responsive to your understanding of the local market. sl This unique feature is exclusively available on BETCO’s single-story, Premium Series buildings.

With BETCO’s customizable self storage partition walls, you’ll have the convenience of movable, interlocking joints that allow unit mix and unit sizes to be modified as necessary. With our industry-leading Screw Guard Trim Package running along the top and bottom of partition walls, “snag” points are eliminated—keeping tenants and their property safe from injury and damage.

BETCO’s self storage partition walls provide the following benefits:

  • Industry-leading single source design, engineering, and installation.
  • Customized hallway systems are available in high-durability paint finishes in brilliant white with a 40-year film integrity warranty.
  • Components are always built with durable, high-quality materials that resist the damage that occurs when lighter-gauge materials are used in high-traffic situations.
  • Customizable interior self storage partition walls built with interlocking Pittsburgh Lock Seams to provide superior strength and durability. Self storage partition walls are built from panels that are 30” wide and made of 28-gauge, acrylic-coated galvanized or Galvalume® steel. Horizontal partitions are used in some instances as necessary.
  • Fully adjustable, movable partitions allow unit sizes to be easily changed as necessary.
  • Tenants and their property are kept safer with BETCO’s industry-leading Screw Guard Trim Package. Customizable vertical interior partitions and top-and-bottom screw guard channels contain screw tips that prevent “snagging” and come with a 20-year warranty.

Whether you are considering a renovation, conversion, or an upgrade to a climate-controlled building—or you just want to add customizable interior corridors to your facility—BETCO’s Premium Series adjustable self storage partition walls door & hallway systems are the answer.