Canopy Covered RV Installation Best Practices for Storage Facility’s Businesses

Posted by Poppy Behrens on Dec 14, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Baja Carports Baja Constructions’ in-house design engineers and project managers place emphasis on the proposed site’s layout first; “fact-checking” the property for its canopy feasibility. It’s important that we are given the exact address of the business property to begin best practices. Following our recommended best course of action allows Baja to educate the customer on how to proceed with their canopy installation. It’s our intention to provide value engineered steel structures [configurations] that perform economically and efficient for the property and its owner. A credible and experienced installer will tell you that no two RV & Boat storage parking lot properties are the same! To achieve optimal coverage and PV production (if choosing to implement solar PV panels either on the roof decking or as the canopies actual roof), the project’s entire installation must be site-specific. An installer who sees the project as being boilerplate is one to pass on.

Baja’s preliminary customer discussions cover property specifics such as loads; live and wind speed, as well as other local constraints. All requirements which determine the canopies structural elements to meet its local jurisdiction building codes. Additionally, the property’s soil composition is needed to engineer the structure’s footings design. For some properties we encourage a thorough geotechnical soils report to get a much better idea of what’s underneath the asphalt and dirt. Keep in mind nowadays properties get repurposed. Utilities underneath get moved or are unmarked. The report can save the customer time and more importantly money!

The goal is always to know more than we need to about the property’s intentions for its recreational vehicles parking lot; it’s entries, exits, fire-lanes, dumpsters, water run-off, etc., Knowledge is power, literally; especially if the owner wants to have a combination of standard and solar canopies. The engineering configuration will need to be designed to include PV’s as the property’s entire power source or partial. Baja’s expertise in recreational vehicle parking lot design can lead to more bays, better aisle maneuverability, and overall shade (and solar installation) coverage.

Customer feedback is welcomed and highly recommended. We encourage input. It’s important that we get educated on the customer’s RV bay renters. How far are they traveling to store their boat’s and RV’s? What will keep them renting, here? Electrical hook-ups? Dump stations? Propane refills? Wash Bays? In other words, what is the overall property plan and business plan? All can influence the canopy installation layout.

Baja Construction cost-efficient configurations are generally pre-fabricated galvanized steel with bolted connections, and no field welding. All our RV canopies are delivered ready to install by Baja’s installation crews and managed by a Baja project manager. Our team has designed, engineered and installed thousands of projects nationwide since 1981, requiring custom configurations on challenging properties with existing parking lots.

Choosing a partner who is a veteran in both the canopy and solar business will impact the success of the project long after its completion. Most important is the value the installer and the development team bring during the preliminary stages! An immediate economic benefit can begin at “sell” via “Notice to Proceed”, during this short-period of time a development strategy can result in additional project development fee benefits or installation margin advantages. That’s why, how one presents their solar project to a lender, financial institution, a community, its town counsel or city’s leaders can result in gains from the start! Winning each of these entities over is very important to the solar RV storage business’ success! New solar project investors need to always be thinking ahead. The mind-set “what’s in it for me,” is not an advised approach. Instead the mind-set “what’s in it for them” will ultimately fill each space under the solar carport’s canopies!

Building a covered RV & Boat storage business is the easiest part of the whole process. The difficult part is finding the right location! If a solar RV & boat covered storage facility is built in a desirable location with the right amenities, customers will find it.

Location. Location. Location. Those interested in owning or investing in this business need to research available locations accessible to popular waterways and major highways. Customers may ask: How far is the closest campground? Beach? National Park? Where’s the cheapest gas station? The more known about the location’s surroundings and its offerings, the better overall experience for both owner and customer. Being informative owner is key. This applies to researching local laws, building codes and zoning restrictions. One does not need to become an expert in real estate, but don’t be vulnerable either!

Tenant amenities, high-end security, and storage demand sells spaces! When tenants are traveling or have moved out of the area entirely, solar carport canopies are permanent and can bring in a lucrative second revenue whether filled or not depending on the state and city’s jurisdiction.

The steel solar support structures can be engineered for loads up to 60 psf and wind speeds up to 160 mph. These structures are ideal for most any climate and offer recreational vehicle protection against the elements of weather: Sun, snow, hail, and rain. As for the solar panels themselves. The sun shines daily everywhere, four (4) hours peak sunlight is all a solar system needs for optimal production. Depending on the solar module size, make and model will determine the efficiency of the system. The rule of thumb is in a state with strong peak sunlight, an economy module with lower efficiency is fine. By comparison, states with fewer peak sunlight hours can be just as ideal for solar modules but will require more efficient solar equipment.

If all the solar planets align and the property meets all the criteria for a successful solar covered RV and boat storage business, start building a team and begin networking in the community. Go to the nearby RV and boat dealerships, let them know about the new facility. Most will likely recommend the facility, especially if it helps in the sale of an RV or boat. Working with community leaders can lead to referrals as well – these people know business people. Networking plays a crucial role in the storage businesses and its industry. High rollers tend to socialize with high rollers. Hence, boaters’ usually boat with other boat owner enthusiast. The key is to know the customer base and market solar covered storage to them. Use the word “solar” in the facility’s literature and advertising. The customer base is educated. They will be intrigued with the solar canopies. Many will want to know how they work! Be transparent. Learn the solar system. Solar isn’t going away, it’s not a trend. It’s a booming industry! Unlike any other real estate investment, the recreational vehicle storage industry is nearly recession proof! The property value can go up when solar is on it.