To start, know that storage unit facilities will generally need to obtain a self-service storage agent
license. Specific requirements vary by state.
As you look for a location for your storage unit business, check with your local government office about
zoning ordinances and possible land use restrictions.
Also check the competition of storage facilities in the area. Are more storage services needed, or would you
be better off locating somewhere else? Don't forget specialized storage services like boat or RV storage or
air-conditioned storage units.
Checklist for Starting a Self Storage Business
1. Check out a video by storage unit investor Scott Meyers on how to
get into (and succeed) in the storage unit business below:
2. Set up a business bank account. A
business bank account has many benefits, including keeping your personal and business finances separate for tax
purposes and giving you a resource to acquire financing for your storage unit business.
3. Find a location for your mini storage business. There are websites
that advertise self storage for sale, like SelfStorages.com. Not only can you find out about self storage
facilities for sale, they offer lots of information for learning about the storage industry. Also, theSelf
Storage Guide Forum (www.selfstorageguide.com/forums/) is good place to learn if you are starting a storage
unit business for the first time.
4. Meet with an accountant to discuss tax strategies and ways to
maximize your business tax deductions. Local business owners you know can often be a great source of referrals
if you don't already have an accountant.
5.Register your business name
with the county clerk. You may also want to incorporate your company. Are you
better off forming a C Corporation, or would you be better off in an LLC or Partnership business? Find out here
which one will maximize your business profits and how you can get started easily online.
6. Find out insurance requirements from a local insurance agent. The
IIABA (Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America) can help you find a reputable agent in your area.
You can also use insurance network websites to get business insurance
7. Get a business phone
line. You may be surprised to find out how cheap it can be to set up a toll-free 800 phone number, a
multi-line phone system, VoIP or add an additional phone number to your existing service.
8. Get a website for your storage unit business. A website can help
you sell your storage service by displaying rates, giving contact information, showing facility photos,
offering discounts and providing detailed information that potential customers want. Save money by creating your own website with simple online design programs, or
outsource the job and get your site built for
Storage Unit Business Plan and Start-up Guide:
If you've never written a business plan before, you'll appreciate viewing some sample business plans,
especially those of other storage unit companies.
You can see a sample plan here for a self storage business which is being converted from an existing
building: Self Storage Business Plan. Once you've
reviewed a sample business plan, you can use the same or similar plan structure and modify the plan by
inputting your own storage business details
Although you don't need
specialized skills or qualifications to start a storage unit business, you want to have some knowledge of
the storage facility business. An easy way to get the information that you need and get questions answered
is to pick up a storage business start-up guide at your local library or bookstore.
You'll get insider information which will help speed up the start-up process
and assist you in bringing in revenue faster. Being a business owner myself, I know personally that this
simple strategy can save a business from failure. The last thing you want is an empty storage
facility with no customers.
QuickStart Self Storage (Qstartguide.com) is a software program that saves storage unit owners lots of time
and money. Whether you are considering an investment in self storage, developing a self storage facility or
starting a boat and RV facility, take a look at this software. Here's why:
QuickStart goes beyond the fundamentals of self storage -showing how to design, develop and operate a
profitable self storage facility, strategies to get financing and more.
However, the main thing I think is key is that it enables users to produce a feasibility study quickly, so
that you know before you ever get started whether your storage facility can be profitable or not. This is huge
because it takes a lot of the risk out of getting started and prevents you from wasting your hard-earned
You even get a business plan template and sample storage unit business plan with the software - another
Advertising for self storage units can get tricky - and expensive. You want people
to know about your business when they are ready to rent space, but people are not always ready.
If your facility is in a location that receives a lot of drive-by traffic, this can be a great advantage for
you. However, this is not always the case, since real estate can get expensive in high-traffic locations and
hinder your profits.
The key is to focus your marketing efforts in places most likely to produce renters. For example, people who
are moving and downsizing, boat and rv owners or people living in small homes without a lot of storage
Sharing your business cards or brochures with people constantly in contact with these people. For example,
boat launch owners, real estate agents, moving companies and RV salespeople can get your business in front of
the right customers at the right time - when they are have something to store.
Sometimes people are happy to share your storage unit information with potential clients because it can
help them make more sales an make them look good to their customers. However, you can't assume that you will
always get free advertising, so it's a good idea to offer some sort of a referral arrangement where you provide
a monetary incentive to those who send you new customers.
And don't overlook the good old phone book. People still use them to look for storage services. They also
are now using online local directories, so it's
smart to take advantage of both.
By the way, Vistaprint is a great resource for business cards, brochures,
flyers and more. You can get professional-looking materials for a fraction of the price because you are
designing them yourself (with their fancy templates, of course). I can't recommend these guys enough.