The Key Factors Of A Self-Storage Business

Open self storage unit full of cardboard boxes. 3d rendering
In the 1960s, the development of self-storage started with pioneers who identified the increasing demand for commercial and residential storage. They were the real estate developers who produced the stage for the self-storage industry.

The self-storage industry is not much different from industries who deal with demand and supply economics. Commercial and residential storage have increased the facilities that supply it. The increased growth of the industry has contributed towards increased public awareness of the personal and economic advantages of the product. The continuous increase in demand is always teamed with excellent potential and it has made self-storage one of the leading growth industries since 1978.

The importance of the self-storage industry cannot be denied. Commercial development of the industry started back in the 1960s. Real estate will always be one of the major assets for households, governments, and businesses. They are affected by the economic law of demand and supply, however opening a self-storage business is never a guaranteed success.

Key Factors of a Self-Storage Business

The important factors that must be considered in a self-storage business model include the following:

Cash Flow Analysis

A cash flow analysis helps to determine the total profit of the business which is an important part of any business. There are various factors which must be considered. They include the considerable amount of leasable space, projected percentage of occupancy, loss due to vacancy collection problems, and the income of gross annual rents.

Development Costs

Developmental costs must be obtained before entering into any type of business and the total costs must be considered before making any major decisions. Bookkeeping can be used to keep track of any information that is related to the major costs related with the business. The area of the purchased land should not reflect the full amount of the leasable space upon completion.  In addition to this, the major factors that help determine the leasable coverage include the utilities, easements, building codes, and physical land features. The figures that are linked to the construction costs are completely dependent on the type of facility. Almost 67% of the development budget goes towards construction and comprises of equipment, labor costs, and many other items. Self-storage businesses require more than half of the developmental costs of multifamily properties, including co-housing properties and apartments.

Financial Analysis

A financial analysis is an important part of a self-storage business. A cash flow analysis helps in the determination of the ROI just after the development costs. The target occupancy percentage must be developed and is usually around 90%. Other than the target occupancy percentage, the break-even occupancy must be identified to cover the debt services and operational costs. Self-storage businesses believe that the occupancy rate should be between 60%-72%. A low break-even percentage is always ideal for investors because it provides an extra cushion for fluctuations in the market.

End Users of the Self-Storage Business

The self-storage industry is mainly powered by an increase in business-minded individuals. These are the parts of every normal start-up and require a mobile work space and temporary storage. Companies like e-commerce stores make use of self-storage units as an important part of their inventory facilities. Other than the commercial market, many people move into new homes and avail self-storage units to store their belongings, whether it be short or long term. The market developed rental rates for many different types of self-storage consumers and they operate within these rates. This is the key to competitive sales of self-storage units. A self-storage business is beneficial as it is one of the greatest investments compared to other major real estate developments. The growth of online businesses and start-ups are expected to help expand the number of self-storage businesses and the industry as a whole. 


Rents are an important part of a self-storage business. The average annual rent charges for real estate were surveyed in a large number of studies. Self-storage units are similar to multifamily and real estate properties regarding rent prices. The rents and prices of storage services are as follows:

  • Multi-family: $7.5 to $12 per square foot
  • Offices: $14 to $24 per square foot
  • Retail: $16 to $20 per square foot
  • Self-storage: $6.5 to $12 per square foot

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