MessengerXtra: BETCO… Why Location Is Critical for Self Storage Facilities

Posted by Claudia Martinez on Nov 29, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Why Location Is Critical for Self Storage Facilities


Three words come to mind when considering building a self storage facility – location, location, location. Determining the right land for a self storage facility is akin to being a gold prospector and finding the perfect creek. Basically, it is the difference between money in the bank or finding another line of work.

Here are some questions you should ask. How easily it is seen from a road or highway? Also, how many residents are located within a five to ten-mile radius? Is there a smooth ingress and egress for customers? How much competition will you have? Is there sufficient land available for a new facility? What are the local traffic patterns? Is the right zoning in place?

Areas that sport constant growth will produce much faster rent possibilities, while high ratios of multi-family residences will create a demand for smaller units, and smaller units generally pay a higher return on the dollar invested.1 The ideal location is one near the center of a dense urban area, preferably on a major road.

So where do you begin when coming up with a plan to find the right self storage location?

Do research regarding your potential customers. A demographic study that uses census material for a five-mile radius surrounding the proposed site is a good way to start. It is generally accepted in self storage that a facility will rarely get very much business from outside a five-mile radius.

Gather current population figures. Also look for projected population growth, the population mix and average income. Several industry vendors provide these types of demographic packages, otherwise known as feasibility studies.

Remember that a high percentage of your business will come from drive-by traffic (although the influence of websites and cellphones in decision-making is growing every year). A solid traffic flow and good visibility are musts. Urban and suburban populations are spending more time on the road. Prospects will always be looking for self storage facilities that are easy to access and located in popular parts of town, preferably near places they use, such as restaurants, grocery stores, drug stores, etc. Convenience is a key to success.

To be effective, a self storage facility typically requires anywhere from 1½ to 5 acres of property. Of course, if plenty of land is available, a potential self storage owner can not only keep the facility at one level, expanding as needed, but also can consider boat and RV storage possibilities. If space is tight, a self storage owner always can build up with a multi-level structure.

The best locations in the world won’t matter if the land is not zoned for your business. So, it is advisable to visit the local jurisdiction’s zoning department to find all the zoning designations and restrictions for self storage. And while you are at it, make sure that you are not too close to a competitor, whose success could work against you.

In short, do your homework and find a location that will be seen, is easy to access and has solid demographics for potential customers.

This article was furnished by BETCO, Inc., a single-source manufacturer of more than 60 million square feet of storage buildings since 1984. To learn more about BETCO visit