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What is most important when constructing a new storage building.

Constructing a new building from scratch is always a daunting task. There’s a whole host of things to plan, track, keep in mind, and ensure proper execution of. At Reliable Commercial, one of our specialties as construction contractors is storage. We have several important insights into how make your first storage construction go well during the process of building, and make sure it turns a profit when it’s in business.

Do an economic feasibility study

First things first. You need to figure out if a storage facility will actually make money in the area you want to build. Although there are plenty of resources online to help you – which we will get into later – you should check the local demand, laws and regulations, and existing storage facilities.

Demand

Are there enough people in the community around where you will build to support your new building? This goes for any building, but especially for a storage facility. People won’t be as willing to drive several hours for storage, whereas people will do that for consumer goods (i.e. IKEA). Make sure that there is a big enough population around your building site to support your new facility.

Market saturation

How many storage facilities are there nearby? If there are already dozens and dozens, you might need to rethink your location. A metropolitan area of 500,000 can easily support 20 large storage buildings. Check with those buildings, how close to capacity are they? If every storage building in your city is full, then the demand is certainly there for more. If many are half-full or mostly empty, then maybe the city doesn’t need a new self storage facility.

In order to combat some market saturation, you can find a niche in your facility. Options exist for temperature/climate controlled, higher-end, drive-up storage, and more. Figure out what already exists near where you will build, and make something different.

Laws and regulations

Figure out what you will need from the city and state to build a self storage building. Make sure you choose a building site that is zoned for storage buildings. If, for example, you want to build on a site you already own, but it is zoned C-1 or residential, but storage is only zoned as “light-industrial”… then you won’t be able to build at all.

Check out resources

Plenty of economic research you can get into on your own by calling businesses, the city, and researching the local traffic/population. Here’s a great list of tools for conducting market research from Hubspot. Remember, the internet is your friend. The Self Storage Association is another great resources for all questions you may have about building your facility. You can hire companies to research the market for you, but a ton of information is already out there, free for anyone who can find it.

Site selection

One could consider site selection as part of economic feasibility, and it is, but site selection is one of the, if not the most important aspect in building your new business. There is a lot to keep in mind when selecting your site, so we will try to simplify it as best as we can.

  • Check the zoning for where you want to build. As we mentioned earlier, if the site you choose isn’t zoned for a storage facility, your construction dreams are dead on arrival.
  • Look for the following nearby to help ensure business:
    • Population centers (apartment buildings, houses, etc.) Newly-built housing complexes aren’t usually great to be near, as they may take years to fill up. You want to be close to existing population centers, or at least closer than the competition.
    • High traffic locales. You want your facility to be easily accessed by cars and trucks. That’s how most people are going to be bringing things in to the facility after all.
  • How much does the land cost? The whole project could be unfeasible if the site is too pricey
  • You won’t get any business if people don’t know you exist. A highly-visible location is important in getting customers in the door.
  • What is the land like? You want something that isn’t prone to flooding, fire or other emergencies. You also want flat land, as storage requires a large area.

Long story short: you want a piece of land that is affordable, properly-zoned, nearby population centers and highways, inexpensive, flat, safe and visible. Getting all these in one site may not be possible, but it’s the direction you want to go.

Mistakes to avoid

Upkeep will be easy.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that storage facilities are easy to take care of. Well, if they were, would the Self Storage Association feel the need to offer online university classes about storage facility management? Even if you have already built and run other types of businesses, educate yourself about how to get a storage facility running.

A market feasibility study isn’t necessary.

Nobody knows your hometown better than you right? You still want to at least get a plan of when you will recoup your investment.

It sells itself, and it sells quickly!

You will need different types of marketing to get the word out. Online advertising alone won’t do it. Neither will word of mouth. Market online, in newspapers, get billboards, and be visible.

Expect a 50,000 or more square foot facility to take a few years to reach 85% capacity – with marketing.

When are you ready to build?

If you think you are ready to get building, or maybe you still need help researching where to build and how, Reliable Commercial has your back. Storage facilities are one of our construction specialties. As such, we can help you determine economic feasibility, construction costs and time, help with site assessment, and help navigate rules and regulations. We are a team of over 200 experienced commercial contractors who can handle a job of any scope. Let us know today what about your storage building plans, and we can make your building goals a reality.