Now is a great time to get started in the Self Storage Business!

Now is a great time to get started in the self storage business!  Here are just seven reasons why:

1  For the last 4 years new self storage construction has been at a stand still compared to the boom years 2000-2005 where at least 2000 new facilities were added each year with a peak of 3,665 facilities added in 2005.  We saw new construction bottom out at 496 new facilities in 2009.  The significant drop in construction has permitted the demand to slowly outpace the available self storage units available.

Thats me last fall. It is a rewarding day when the concrete is poured. A great feeling! A floating slab for non climate control buildings is the way to go to save money and time.

2  The economy has stabilized and is no longer falling.  While the economy is not improving as rapidly as we would like many fears such as loosing your job have been eased, leading to more unit rentals.  I can personally  attest to this.  At all three of my facilities very high spring rentals were un expected and exceptional compared to the past several years.

3  I have read several self storage finacial articles since January of this year.  They all point out self storage out performed the other real estate business during the past economy down turn  and continue to lead in profits.  And that profits are starting to increase again.   Again I can personally confirm this as I have more renters and have been able to increase my rental rates.

4  While money is always a sticking point for any new business banks are starting to loan money again if you have a solid written business plan and you invest the first 30%.  If you meet these qualifications you may want to contact  Joseph Weiner at  Evolve Bank & Trust.  210-820-2650  or    And the rates are much better than in the past which of course means more profits for you.   Phasing a project is typically a sound requirement for new facilities to reduce the financial start up costs.

5  During the boom days many Towns frowned upon self storage and often required significant design changes requiring a larger investment.  Or even worse denied the application.  While self storage may still not be the preferred development many Towns are happy to see any new development.  I still recommend you are fully prepared with your information and picture guns loaded when you apply.

6  Now you can still get contractors and buildings at reasonable prices.  I built one of my facilities in 2005 and had to pay premiums for everything and everything took much longer to get built.  Check out for quality self storage building options and a head start on your planning.

Attend a Betco Seminar for great start up info!

7  Now the internet is more prevalent and there are are more social marketing networks to help you rent up your facility before you complete construction.  This takes a lot of work but imagine if you have 50 renters before you open your doors. The average renter pays $100 plus a month at a premium facility and stays for 10 months plus, so thats $50,000 in your pocket!  As you can see this must be an important step in your marketing plan.  If you have any questions on this email me.

Now this improved outlook is not a license to build in an area that has to much storage already or in an out of the way location.  It is not a license to do a poor design job, not having a clear marketing plan in action or be underfunded.  First you need to find a suitable location, typically on a main state road with 20,000 cars a day passing by. Then do your own initial feasibility study before you start spending money.  If it is not abundantly clear the location is great  and or if you need/want confirmation you can have a feasibility study  done by an expert.  I recommend Ben Burkhart.  804-598-8742.

Keep Checking back for more Construction blogs.  In the mean time check out my Getting Started In Self Storage FAQ’s  and come join our new Linkedin group “Self Storage Under Construction”  where you will regularly find great self storage planning, desin and construction tips and can get your questions answered by experts.
The days of “Build it and they will come”  are long gone.  But if you  “Plan it well, Build it well and Market it well, they will come”  Victory will be yours!
Don’t be like most people and  think I missed the boat – we have a raising tide!
To Success!


Market it right and they will come much faster.


Why you need your management program to automatically update CC information!

In the end its the many many little things that count.   I copied this from the Sarasoft Blog because I could not have said it better.

Syrasoft provides the  best Self Storage Management Solution program.  I have been using them since I opened my first self storage facility in 2004!

To Success!


Apr. 29, 2013 – Increasing your Bottom Line – Automate Payments

My friend Garo Darian of Glenmont Self Storage near Albany New York shared a story with me of a tenant who stopped in regularly to chat and have a cup of free coffee that Garo provides for his customers.  The customer who had downsized a unit to a 5 x 10 without fail mentioned during each visit how he had to “get that crap out of there.”

This routine continued without variation for five months until one day Garo needed to call him to update his credit card information which was expiring that month.  “I’ll be down to get that stuff out today!” was the reply.  And that day due to an event that brought his monthly payment to his attention the tenant moved out.

The program now offered by PayPros™ and recently renamed Decline Minimizer™ will automatically update credit card information on customer’s accounts when their card expires or is lost or stolen.  Given that the industry agrees that customers using credit cards to pay their monthly rent stay up to 40% longer it makes sense that the longer the rental payment remains “under the radar” the more advantage there is for the self-storage owner to maintain that tenancy.

These are the types of innovations that quietly help your business improve its bottom line.  Allowing automation to make it easy for your tenant to “do nothing” except of course pay his or her monthly credit card statement.

Posted by Tom Garden – Tom is the owner of Syrasoft and has 8 years experience owning and operating multiple storage facilites. Contact him at

I use Syrasoft

Marc Note:  If your just now planning your self storage now is also the time to think about your management program.  It important for many reasons.  First you want to insure your management program integrates with your gates system, security system and credit card system.  Syrasoft does a great job doing that plus so much more.   Give Alison a call early on. 1-800-817-7706 x108.

Drive by impressions can make or break your self storage facility.

Here is week three from “Crush Your Competition“.  Hope you enjoy and come back for more.  In honor of week three I just spread 40 bags of mulch in our 4 gardens here at Caraquet Self Storage.   While I will spend much more money on many other marketing projects our  gardens is our number two marketing item that gives us big results from.   Our most number one profitable marketing item cost us some time but no cash investment is required.  Check in next week to read more.

Week 3

Improve Drive By Impressions.

“How deeply seated in the human heart is the liking for gardens and gardening”

Alexander Smith 1830-1876

Your customer’s first impression of you and your facility are established as they drive by or drive in.  Make your first impression exceptional!  Beautiful landscaping and green, green, green grass will show you really care.  Your landscaping and your sign provide a critical first impression.  You only get one chance to make a good first impression.  People should think, “wow what great looking landscaping” when they drive by, first time and every time and more importantly, when they first drive in.

Make certain that your sign is properly landscaped for all four seasons. A variety of changing sign/site decorations will keep the eyeballs looking in your direction day after day, season after season.  Fall mums, spring bulbs, tall decorative grasses for the summer & winter are some ideas that should be a part of your site signage and landscaping.  Colorful flower gardens do make a difference.  Flags on the sign or swirling flags are great additions to keep everyone checking out your site as they drive by.

Make a list of site improvements to implement and prioritize for the next six months. Examples:

Fertilize the lawn.

Do a spring clean up every year – new mulch and flowers are a must.

Restripe faded parking lot stripes.

Plant 200 tulips along the wall or fence this October.

Put out a flag – buy several different types of flags.

Plant some tall exotic grasses at your sign or along the boarder between you and the neighbor.

Install a raised flower bed designed to bloom spring – summer & fall

Install a lawn ornament.

Install a bench near the front door.

Install a bird feeder.

Plant new bushes or trees.

Pick up litter every morning when you arrive and every day before you leave.

Be absolutely certain that site lighting is working properly.

Have several items that you place along the street and rotate weekly to keep them looking.  Don’t forget balloons once in a while.

A rope light across the top of your fence along the frontage of your property provides an unusual and stunning night look.  Use LED lights on a timer and the cost will be next to nothing.

Most people decide what kind of company you are before they ever enter the front door. You make your first impression long before someone visits.  First impressions are very hard to change.

Personal Story

I know that while many of you agree that a great visual first impression of the site is an asset, most do not realize real how big an impact that can have on increasing your rentals.

One of my self storage facilities is 7 years old. It is a standard one story metal building, not one of these Taj Mahal multi-story buildings.  Initially the landscaping was designed by a local landscape architect and would be considered quite “respectable”.  It consisted of evergreen trees, deciduous trees, a variety of flowering bushes, and a landscaped sign and a lawn.   In addition to regular landscape maintenance (new mulch, fertilization etc.) we added at least one or two new landscape elements each year.

Year two:  an 8’ X 10’ flowering landscape bed, with green center at the entrance.

Year three:  a 5’ X 25’ flowering landscape bed along the driveway surrounding two deciduous trees.

Year four:  50 feet of daylilies with daisies at each end, along a retaining wall near the entrance.

Year five:  200 daffodils planted in the various landscape beds

Year six:  3 very large planters for the front walk, planted yearly with annuals

Year seven:  40 feet of ornamental grasses along the property line.

It’s ok to build year by year on the same marketing idea.  A little every year adds up quickly.

We regularly have people telling us how much they love our landscaping.  I have been in the office on several occasions when individuals have come into the office and told me how upset they were when they first heard a self storage was going to be built in our community and vowed never to use the facility.  Then they proceed to say how they were pleasantly surprised how nice our facility is and rent from us.  People tell us they have checked out other self storages and just had to rent from us, (even though we are $20 more a month than the competition) because of our beautiful landscaping and site.

The best way to insure you regularly improve you landscaping is to actual have a line item in your Marketing Budget:  New Landscaping.  You will be amazed what you can do with $300 or $400 a year for new plants. Three hundred dollars spent on landscaping is going to pay 10 times more than a $300 onetime ad in the paper. If people are not regularly telling you the how much they enjoy and love your landscaping you need to do more.

Make your first impression exceptional.

Every spring I am excited to see the flowers bloom! And so are our friends and customers!

Just Getting Started – Betco is a premiere storage manufacturer.

I finished my last Betco building last fall and could not be happier with the results.  If you are just getting started these guys can help.  Give them a call and they will put you in touch with the rep from your area who not only knows self storage but knows whats happening in your area as well.  The following is from their web site   Check it out!

To Success!



My First Choice!

How to Start a Storage Business

Self-Storage as a viable business for the novice.

Few business offer the opportunity to participate without being an expert. You may have spent your career in another unrelated business category, but see self-storage as a good investment with a good return. All you need is a single-source manufacturer like BETCO that has the knowledge and experience to help guide you through the process.

Getting Started

There is no magic formula and there are no short cuts in getting started. If you follow our advice and do your homework, you will be successful in developing your facility.

First, you need professional advice from those who understand self-storage. It doesn’t matter what size facility you plan. It can be a single building, but you need professional assistance – a team that will guide you through the process. There are a number of people you should contact including attorneys, real estate agents, building suppliers, contractors, architects, engineers, just to name a few, but if you want to start with the one source that will have the most overall knowledge of how to get you started, it should be a top quality building manufanufacturer, such as BETCO. Why? Because we are a single-source manufacturer. This means you can get everything you need from a single source. This precludes you having to contact a variety of suppliers. The fewer people you need to deal with the better. Think about it. The more products and services you can get from one source, the fewer headaches you’ll have – and if you have questions or concerns, the “buck stops” with a single company – BETCO.

Certain economies can also be realized by dealing with a single source. There are no duplications of costs. If you can get your building design, engineering, manufacturing of components, shipping, and building construction from a single company, think of the time and expense you’re saving.

Site Selection

Next, you must make a decision on site selection, or if you already own a piece of property, whether it is in a good location for self-storage. If you find a site that seems suitable, you may want to put an “option to buy” on it , in case it ends up being a suitable location. It’s smart to tie-up the property while you’re going through the other stages of the process.

Now come the tough questions that need to be answered about site selection. You must determine if it is the right size and configuration to accommodate a storage building or buildings, if it has good visibility on a major thoroughfare with a high traffic count, and is it easily accessible. After all, self-storage is a retail business and must be conveniently located and highly visible for potential customers in your market.

This calls for a market analysis, which will provide you with the necessary information to decide whether you should proceed further with your site selection or whether you should stop and consider another location.

For example, you will learn that self-storage is a local business, limited to a very specific area surrounding your facility site.

Market Analysis

A market analysis will reveal what type of people live and work in your market – demographic information – like their age and income, how many are renters and how many are homeowners, who is married and who is single, what percentage of rooftops are residential or business. If your site is located in a college town or near a military base, it will tell you what percentage of students and military personnel are in your market. In fact, the demographic profile of a market will determine much about how you run your business and how you should market it to your customers. Further, it will identify where your competition is, and give you an indication of what kind of demand for your services exists in your market. So, a market analysis is vital if you are to be successful.

Feasibility Study

As you move through the decision process, you will discover that a feasibility study makes a lot of sense. This kind of study is more like a business plan, covering very specific information concerning development costs, financial analyses, such as projected costs and anticipated returns, more detailed information on traffic flow, competition, demographic reports, zoning, permitting, unit mix, and final recommendations of whether to “go” or “no go” on the project.

By the way, a market analysis and feasibility study are important pieces of information you should have when you apply for your financing.

To generate this kind of information, you should contact someone who does self-storage feasibility studies or get in touch with BETCO.  We will be glad to suggest names of these kinds of consultants, as well as additional insights into the business.

The feasibility study will ultimately reveal whether you should proceed with your plans. If the answer is yes, you need to make a final commitment to the site you have chosen. If you have optioned the property you will need to finalize items such as soils testing, zoning, permitting, and title.


This brings up the issue of financing. Where do you find it? Generally speaking, if you know a local lender or a community bank, you should start there. But be aware that there are national lenders who specialize in self-storage development loans. Again, your BETCO sales consultant may be able to help.


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Progress: Time to join in or get left behind.


I took a few pictures over the last two days as I traveled from the US to Canada.  It is clear the internet revelation will be on going for some time to come. At breakfast I notice a QR code on the ketchup bottle.  Upon a closer look I found out Hinze wanted us to like their Facebook page.  I hope you have your Self storage QR codes in action and a Facebook Page. (renting units)

Really a QR code on the ketchup?

Of course We had to stop at DD.  This sign says down load the DD app and cash up your DD app and pay for your coffee with your phone.  Much easier than a credit card and for sure way more cool – at least for a little while.

Purchase donuts & coffee with your phone!

It not hard to understand times are changing.  Marketing has changed.

Join us in the fun and rent more units!


To Success!