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Self Storage ownership can be a great business investment – providing you’re ready to manage the obligations that go with it.

Self Storage is all about taking responsibility for other people’s ‘stuff’, which means ensuring that your facility meets all your clients’ expectations for safety and security.

If that fits in with the way you see the business, the smartest thing you can do right from the start is work with an expert who can walk – and talk – you all the way through the planning, design and construction journey, and beyond.

Working with them, it’s essential you get a solid understanding of the Self Storage market, so you can make your decisions knowing what demand is like in the area you are thinking about servicing, as well as the level of competition you have, and the costs you might be facing.

While your expert consultants will have much of this information to hand, it also makes sense to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible, so read about the industry, talk to people who use Self Storage, and visit as many facilities as you can.

In working things through with your advisers, it makes sense to be clear on what you want to achieve – a small business that you can run part-time, or a larger business that you can build still further but which obviously will need a lot more time and money. Then you will need to estimate the level of investment needed for your planned facility, and do the figures carefully.  A full business plan is essential.

Next step is to buy the land and design and build your facility – or modify a building you already own. Obviously your choice of position will be based on sound research into the potential for return on your investment. Again, with all these steps, a Self Storage ownership expert is your best partner, especially one that can provide design and construction services as well as all the pre-planning advice.

How many units will you need, and what size? Is there room for expansion on the site? Are you going for a niche market or trying to be all things to all people needing storage? Are you installing the best lighting, security, access and climate control? You want to stand out from the crowd to make your facility successful.

Of course, at some stage before you get too far into this exciting phase of the project, you will have checked what local and state regulations you need to comply with, and any extra legal and financial demands you might be facing. Have you discussed your plans with your accountant and your solicitor?

Once the building is happening, you need to consider your marketing strategies, if you haven’t done so already, and your online presence. Good signage is always important, but you need to reach out to potential customers who may not drive past your location and good marketing is part of that.

As your facility begins to take shape, it’s easy to think that everything will be much simpler once the doors are open, but good management is key to your success.

Check with your adviser on the best software systems available, to help you keep control of the site so your customers know their things are being well cared for. Make sure your experts know you are keen to keep up with what’s happening in the industry, so your business can grow. Some software integrates well with websites, such as SiteLink, and your online business can really increase your profits.

And if you are seriously considering Self Storage ownership, then don’t forget that management is not just about renting space and getting paid for it. You need to keep the building clean, tidy and well maintained, so the customers have no reason to complain and, more importantly, every reason to tell their family and friends where to find the best Self Storage facility in the area.