I have made my living in the self-storage industry for more than three decades. I have watched our industry grow and evolve. An industry that once was serving a national average of one square foot of space per capita is now serving a national average of seven and half or more square feet per capita, with no immediate end to the increase in sight.
I have attended countless public hearings and listened to officials and residents as they feel empowered to decide what developers should or should not be allowed to construct on their properly zoned land. Residents seem to believe that the world would come to end if a self-storage business is approved in their vicinity. They voice concerns that property values will plummet and all sorts of undesirable storage customers will invade their neighborhoods.
Those of us in the industry know nothing could be further from the truth. We are in fact serving primarily the residents within a 10-minute drive time of our facilities. We are helping people at some of the most difficult times in their lives. There is nothing easy about a move today, especially when a house is not ready on time and the people need to move out of their current residence, the unfortunate circumstances of divorce, the loss of a loved one, a home foreclosure, or the ultimate challenge of having an adult child decide to move back home. The self-storage industry stands ready to offer solutions to the storage problems that all of these life events create.
We have grown from nothing to a $25 billion industry, and it isn’t just because folks can’t bring themselves to get rid of things and everyone is a hoarder.
Buried in that $25 billion revenue figure, of course, is the hundreds of millions of expense dollars we pay in property taxes within our communities. Yet the operation of our business puts no burdens on local schools, has virtually no impact on traffic, and has no infrastructure effect due to having only a few sinks and toilets.
We also provide short- and long-term storage to businesses of all from the neighborhoods we serve including many home-based business entrepreneurs. All of those businesses are basically getting a free employee to receive their shipments from FedEx, UPS, and Roadway trucking—all for the cost of renting a storage unit from us. And let’s not forget the millions of records we have stored on shelves for professional offices.
We are front and center with the countless charities that we support as well—from Toys for Tots and food panty drop-offs to winter coats, shoes, and clothing collection drives and the millions of square feet of storage space at no or reduced rates we offer due to the compassion of countless owners and managers from coast to coast and north to south. We have so much to be proud of each and every day!
So the next time someone asks you where you work or what you do to make a living, take the credit you deserve for being an outstanding service provider for the people of your communities!