How to Get Started in Self Storage

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When the garage fills up, many people consider self storage.
When the garage fills up, many people consider self storage. (Image: red garage door image by green308 from Fotolia.com)

The self storage business provides storage solutions for people in many different circumstances. People typically use self storage units for extra storage, when they are moving or when they are doing renovations. Starting a self storage business involves finding a visible and central location to your market and setting up a competitive storage facility. Determine whether your facility will be a stationary unit or provide portable units that can be stored or transported or both.

Things You'll Need

  • Business plan
  • Legal documents
  • Location/property
  • Facility
  • Security system
  • Website

Research thoroughly your business idea for self storage. Gain an understanding of the market and your competition and formulate a business idea to make your business competitive within your market. Write a detailed business plan based on this research and analysis. Include a mission statement or statement of purpose, description of your business, analysis of the market, analysis of the competition, a marketing strategy, current financial statements, a projection of your anticipated financial outlook and any documents necessary to start your self storage business.

Fill out and file the documents necessary to start your business at the local, state and federal level. Visit your local small business administration office for assistance if you have concerns. Consult a lawyer if you have any legal concerns over your business structure or with contracts. Set up an accounting system with a computer program or with traditional ledger books. Consult an accountant if you need assistance with this process.

Select a location for your self storage business based on your research and analysis. Self storage units should be located in an area convenient to residential areas or central to other businesses that your target market would frequent regularly.

Purchase or lease the storage facility. If your business model includes mobile units, you may need to invest in a fleet of vehicles to transport the units. Consider leasing or purchase options. Leasing is typically a better choice for fleets because the dealer provides maintenance and other service to the vehicles as part of the contract.

Hire a security company to establish a modern security system for your facility. Ensure that your customers and potential customers have confidence in the security of your facility. Visible security systems provide confidence and deter potential threats to the security of your units.

Design a website for your company. Provide information on the industry and how your storage units stand out from the competition. Detail the security of your facility and provide contact information and rates. Work with a web designer if you do not have the skills necessary to design a professional quality website.

Tips & Warnings

  • Set up your facility close to other self storage businesses to take advantage of their marketing.
  • Start off small to avoid a large risk and increase in size as your business grows.

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