Self Storage Property Uses and Attributes
Learn about some of the most common self storage asset types and features found in the industry.Start Your Application and Unlock the Power of Choice$5.6M offered by a Bank$1.2M offered by a Bank$2M offered by an Agency$1.4M offered by a Credit UnionClick Here to Get Quotes!
Uses and Attributes of Self-Storage Properties
The self-storage industry is a largely utilized sector with storage units in demand by renters, homeowners, small and large businesses, college students, and even military personnel. Americans typically acquire many things that are nondisposable or hold sentimental value, and for a variety of reasons, usually require some extra space to store these items — even if only for a short period of time.
Self storage is often leveraged by homeowners and renters to create more room in their residence, or more recently for households that have downsized due to the current economic climate. These facilities are frequently used to store furniture, sporting equipment, appliances, clothing, bicycles, knickknacks and other sentimental items, holiday decor, motorized vehicles, and much more.
Businesses, whether large or small, sometimes turn to self storage to free up some extra office space by storing excess office furnishings such as file cabinets, electronics, records, desks, chairs, and business supplies. College students utilize storage units to safely hold their dormitory belongings over seasonal breaks. Military personnel often keep their belongings in storage while on deployment. Shorter-term storage is also frequently used by remodeling or renovating homeowners to protect personal possessions from harm.
With so many different use cases and a variety of different customer profiles, it isn’t hard to see how useful self storage has become, nor how important the industry is overall. The industry has undergone a number of changes throughout its history to better meet the needs of its customers through a variety of more specialized self-storage asset types and features. Many of these attributes are described below.
In most cases, a self-storage facility offers one or any combination of the following types of self storage: indoor, outside, or drive-up storage. Drive-up storage is arguably the most useful of the three. These units can generally host nearly any form of cargo-carrying vehicle. Renters typically need only pull up in front of a unit, unload their belongings, lock up, and they’re good to go. While there may be some limitations at drive-up facilities — often related to climate control — the convenience of these units is hard to deny.
It is rare for any modern self-storage facility to not contain at least a few climate-controlled units. Climate-controlled storage is a popular amenity that many self-storage properties offer to tenants looking to store more sensitive items. In many such cases, baseline protection against wind and rain may not be enough.
Security is one issue, but humidity, moisture, mold, excessive heat — these are all things that can cause severe damage to delicate or older items. Climate-controlled units are the perfect answer for these issues, and as such have become in high demand among customers looking to store older furniture or antiques.
The odd conundrum presented by the concept of “regular business hours” is that these are the hours that most people work — and this has an impact in the self-storage world, where individuals, households, or businesses may need access to units at wildly different times of the day. Storage facilities operating 24 hours a day provide peace of mind and accessibility in that regard. No matter the time of day, customers can drop off or pick up items as they please.
One piece of advice, however, is to be mindful of a facility’s security features. Being open 24 hours a day doesn’t always mean there are watchful security guards on-site all day and night. These facilities should always be gated, have a security system and cameras in place, and offer adequate lighting. It is important for owners of 24-hour storage facilities to consider not only the safety of the items in their care — but the safety of their customers while visiting the facility.
Self storage can be an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes. While many assume that only small businesses like those operated out of a person’s home may require storage service, the truth is that larger businesses use them quite often for myriad situations such as excess inventory or archived files. Limited space can be a bane to any business, particularly those that don’t have an actual storefront.
Having a secure place to store inventory and supplies that are valuable to a business can sometimes be a contributing factor to an organization’s success. With the current state of the self-storage industry, it’s much more accessible to utilize self storage to help augment business efficiency. Self storage is a cost-effective option for the storage space a business may need — a welcome alternative to acquiring additional office or commercial space, or moving the business to a larger location.
College students are almost always in need of storage space — whether it’s going home over the summer, taking a semester abroad, or just graduating and moving into a new place. The amount of belongings a student can accumulate over the course of an educational career is impressive. Of course, the nature of college life almost always inherently involves surviving with as little space as possible.
Luckily for students, however, self-storage rentals are generally a relatively low-cost solution. The days of students packing everything they own and lugging it back to their parents’ home — only to reverse the process and drag most of it right back to school after break is over — are numbered. It's no secret that self-storage facilities in college towns perform admirably in conjunction with the seasonality of university schedules. Students can clear out an entire dorm room of belongings, haul them to a facility near campus, and leave them there worry free until they return.
Military personnel and their families are constantly moving — often on short notice, as the need arises. Short-term self storage can be extremely helpful during these transitional periods. Whether the relocation can be classed as a Permanent Change of Station (PCS), Temporary Duty (TDY) or Temporary Additional Duty (TAD), self storage remains a convenient option for long- or short-term use. Additionally, there are many facilities that offer discounts or other opportunities to save money for service members.
While vehicle storage does encompass personal or family vehicles, it is also readily available for commercial vehicles. There are storage facilities that can house anything from tractors to 18 wheelers — even heavy construction vehicles like cranes. It may not be as viable an option for a fleet, but many business owners can efficiently store company cars or service trucks in a vehicle storage facility when they are not in use. Using vehicle storage frees up valuable business property space and provides a little extra protection for a company’s vehicular assets.
That said, vehicle storage remains a stellar option for storing, preventing damage to, and protecting personal vehicles, too, and may be the best solution for storing leisure vehicles like seasonal watercraft, ATVs, or motorcycles. Some facilities may even allow RV and boat storage, which can be otherwise tough to store in many parts of the country.