Sharing Is caring: 10 reasons to share your self storage data

Posted by Brad Hadfield on Nov 15, 2023 3:02:18 PM

“Sharing is caring” may sound like a lazy platitude, but when it comes to your data, sharing does show that you care about strengthening the self storage industry as a whole. As we’ve written about in previous stories, data sharing helps everyone make more informed development and operational decisions. But rather than hear just from us, here’s a sampling of powerful quotes, some old and some new, from industry experts about the importance of self storage data sharing.


1. More Transparency Helps Everyone


“Keeping our data in silos means that only the largest operators have enough operational and market data to make informed decisions. It’s in all of our best interest to safely and anonymously provide our data.”

  • Don Clauson, CEO of Strat Property Management


“In today’s data-driven world, the power of knowledge lies in collaboration. Embracing data sharing not only fuels innovation but also accelerates progress. All major research supports data sharing because it’s the cornerstone of collective advancement.” 

  • Andrew Capranos, President of 10 Federal Storage


“Sharing data ultimately makes the end-user experience better, allowing owners to use the information to better understand the needs of customers and tenants.”

  • Adam Wagner, President of Superior Storage


2. Your Data Isn’t Confidential Anyhow


“If you think self storage data is a secret, the secret is out. Anyone can drive past a store, spend 10 minutes on the site, and have an idea what operating income is.”

  • Mike Burnam, CEO at StorageMart 


“People don’t want to give up what they believe to be confidential information. What they don’t realize is that a lot of this information is already out there.”

  • Chris Sonne, Executive Vice President, Newmark Valuation & Advisory Group


“Operators fear that by sharing their data they are providing their direct competitors with their ‘secret sauce.’ However, prices and unit sizes are mostly available online.”

  • Travis Morrow, President of National Self Storage

3. Sharing Data Bridges the 70/30 Gap


“Relying on REITs data doesn’t even give you half of the story [they’re only 30 percent of the industry]. Plus, there are entire trade areas without them. So, it’s going to be difficult for owners to understand what’s the norm in their market when it comes to financing, operational spending, rents, and more.”

  • Chris Sonne


“A common argument I hear is, ‘If the REITs have independent owners’ data, they’ll use it against us.’ They’re going to do that anyhow… Publicly traded companies are great at getting intel because they have more resources at their disposal. But, if mom-and-pops can join together to share data with one another, we can compete more effectively.”

  • Adam Wagner

4. Data Is Aggregated


“Someone can’t drill down to which store a particular data set came from. Say I’m on 22nd Street… I don’t care if the guy on 44th Street has my data. Now, I wouldn’t want a property one block away to have that information, but they can’t narrow the focus like that.”

  • Mike Burnam


“Sure, you could search for ‘10 facilities near me,’ but you can’t identify a specific property. Aggregated data offers the anonymity that’s so important to owners.”

  • Chris Sonne

5. All Major Research Supports Data Sharing


“By recasting data sharing as a business necessity, leaders will have access to the right data at the right time, enabling more robust data and analytics strategies that deliver business benefits.”


“Businesses that harness the power of a large, communal pool of data can expect to provide more customer value because users of the data more fully understand their customers’ needs, and in turn to foster a more loyal and satisfied customer base.” 


“A combination of information from different environments and businesses can lead to the creation of a range of information that could not otherwise be derived from a single specific data set.”

6. Data Sharing Reduces Mistakes

“New people are entering the industry with only 2-3 years under their belt and they think self storage is always going to be like it’s been since 2020. It’s not. Those were the three best years for self storage ever, and I doubt there’ll be another time like that. People building based on those assumptions are now making big mistakes. This could be corrected with proper data.”

  • Mike Burnam


“REITs have to release some data, such as occupancy every quarter by each market they play in. But ultimately, they only have to give as much detail as they choose to provide which can lead to inaccurate assumptions about the industry as a whole.”

  • Jeff Adler, Vice President of Yardi Matrix

7. You Can Improve Your Financing


“Having accurate information is very helpful when transacting with a bank or lender. If there’s a robust database available and you can provide market information to your banker, this will assist in their underwriting and the quality of credit you receive. So, while you may not think about this sort of thing every day, having that transparency does benefit you in the long run too.”

  • Chris Sonne 

8. Big Benchmarking Benefits


“Adding one penny to your rent per square foot can make a huge difference. For example, a 90 percent occupied facility making $1.00 per square foot on 50,000 occupied square feet going to $1.01 per square foot increases income by $6,000 per year. That may not sound like a lot to get excited over, but at a 6 percent cap rate, that’s an increase in value of $100,000… if data tells you your rent per square foot is a nickel below your market, you have a half-a-million-dollar opportunity on your hands.”

  • Mark Poole, Director of Operations, Liberty Investment Properties 


“Benchmarking, when you’re working with accurate data, has enormous benefits. Owners can see how their operating expenses compare to the market. They can see what concessions others are offering. And they can decide whether they can sharpen their pencil on rents a little. 

  • Chris Sonne

9. Technology Makes Sharing Easy


“Self storage is no longer an ‘alternative asset class.’ The market demands a big data bank of information and this will help current operators and those entering the industry understand the business better. We’ve been taking baby steps for the last 25 years. Now it’s time to take that big step, and technology makes it easy.”

  • Mike Burnam


“The proliferation of property management software, which has moved data to the cloud, makes the sharing of data easier. It’s as simple as turning on a “switch” for the operator.”

  • Travis Morrow

10. It Only Takes 60 Seconds To Help Today

Many of the industry experts we spoke with recognize that attempts to share data within the self storage universe have been attempted before, but the timing – and the technology – wasn’t right. That’s all changed. MSM has spoken with numerous project management software companies in the self storage industry, and although only one has this capability built in, all agree that creating it would be fairly simple. Let’s help convince them to “flip the switch” – facilitate our conversations with them by taking our quick survey below.