With the global shift in living standards and lifestyle choices, people now have more belongings than they know what to do with. Widescale consumerism is also inadvertently fueling the growth of another industry: the self-storage unit business.
People are increasingly moving into smaller spaces, due to rising costs of rent and also because people have little use for large spaces. The downsizing of apartment spaces has led to the increase in the demand for storage spaces where one can safely stuff their belongings temporarily.
And it’s not just the homeowners looking for storage spaces, businesses, too, are in need of safe and reliable storage spaces where they can dump their inventory when orders start flooding in for the holiday seasons. Once in the storage unit, you don’t need to worry about the safety of your items, as the owners of these spaces ensure proper security at all times and have the necessary security systems in place.
As the demand for these storage spaces rises, new and advanced storage units are springing up everywhere. However, demand alone cannot drive a business toward success. Proper planning and business strategy can help you stay a cut above the rest as well as ensure that your customers’ needs are met. A strong online and offline presence, even in remote suburban towns, will help you achieve your business goals.
Speaking of suburban, let’s assume you were out vacationing with your family in the outdoorsy Bonney Lake, Washington, along with your family, and you’re lugging tons of stuff that you might need on the vacation. You might be looking for someplace where you can offload all the vacation gear. Wouldn’t it be wonderful then to stop by at storage Bonney Lake and drop off all your gear so that you can go camping beside the lake hassle-free?
Crunch some numbers to estimate the cost
Regardless of the type of facility and location, you need to roughly calculate the costs of owning a facility on your own. Some of the items you would be paying for include the property, acquisition costs, construction costs, security systems, et cetera. Once you have a rough estimate of how much it will cost you to start a self-storage business, you will have to decide whether you want to partner up and share the costs with your partners, or whether you want to go solo by taking up acquisition and costruction loans and putting in the investment potential of your liquid assets. The more capital you have for investing in your business, the greater the chances of success.
Calculate the operating cost
Once you have the investment costs all arranged, you’ll now have to calculate your operating costs. Don’t forget to factor in the losses that you’ll experience in the first few months of the business. Operating costs also include staff salaries. Many business owners end up leasing the management and operations to third-party management companies entirely so that they can earn stable cash flows from the business while they relax. Having all the calculation costs figured out in your mind will help you avoid making disappointing business blunders down the road.
Location and time of your launch matters
If you are planning on starting a storage facility, a careful examination and assessment of the various locations available to you is a step you shouldn’t neglect. It makes business sense to set up a storage-renting shop in a locality where there are apartment buildings nearby, teeming with potential customers. Also, a facility that is located way out in the middle of nowhere will not inspire feelings of security in your customers’ minds.
Another huge benefit of opening up a storage-unit facility in an urban locality is that you won’t have to waste much on advertising, as all you will need is a positive word of mouth to let customers flock toward you.
Launch timing is also important. Consider, for example, launching your business on a date that is closest to an upcoming festival, like Christmas, because that is the time when businesses and residents will need the storage space for inventory stocking and clearing out the clutter from homes to make space for guests, respectively. Special discount offers for holiday seasons can help you get more orders than you normally would.
Analyze the competition in your area
Once you have zeroed in on your location, the next most important step you need to take is to look into your competitors. By studying their methods and way of doing business, you will get to know what practices will encourage customers toward doing business with you, and, most importantly, what practices should you avoid. A thorough assessment of the target demographics’ purchasing power will also help you set pricing.
Analyzing all this will help you propel your business right off the blocks faster than your competitors expect, and you’ll be making ripples in the market in no time with your highly-targeted marketing and customer-grabbing discount deals.
Develop a user-friendly website
Nowadays, you cannot dream of succeeding in any kind of business if you are not serious about building an online presence. Everyone’s buying products and services online. Therefore, make sure you have developed a user-friendly website for your business.
Customers will arrive at your website to get information about rental options, pricing, packages, available units, and their sizes, and other security services that you would have on offer. A detailed and easy-to-read layout of all your services will make your customers’ jobs easier. Processing payments online, booking and renting facilities with a few taps and clicks, and reducing in-person signing and processing can drastically cut back on business overhead costs and time wastage.
You can also use the Internet for further research on your competitors. Put on your investigative hat and start digging for the potential strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. If they have no online presence, then consider it a golden opportunity for your business to swoop in and rake in the market share away from your competitor.
Think about the material of the containers used for storage
A well maintained and well-equipped storage space will help customers rest assured that their equipment will not get damaged or rot simply by sitting inside the storage space. Storage units made of Corten steel are sturdy and can last for decades without needing maintenance. Make sure that the insides of the container, which includes the roof, are free from debris and that proper cleanliness is ensured before the space is rented out.
Starting your self-storage business can be challenging, especially when there is so much competition in the market already. But the good news is that the demand is increasing, thanks to rising living costs and a reduction in indoor space, which means that the pie is getting larger for the storage-unit businesses. To kickstart your storage business from scratch, you need to figure out your costs, do a little market research on your competitors as well as customers, and ensure a well-maintained facility and timely service, and before you know it, you’d be rolling in profits.