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Self Storage Design…   The old cliché suggests that time is money… But, in the self storage world, design is money. Get it right, and you can make a fortune, get it wrong, and you’ll be paying the price for a lifetime.

A good self storage design layout can create the foundation for a long and strong investment. Get it wrong, and you could rue the day you got involved in the self storage industry.

For example, when you’re searching for a building site, do your research carefully, and familiarise yourself with the zoning regulations for the area. Building regulations could have a massive impact on your planned self storage design, especially in terms of what you can, and can’t build; do your research before you make the investment.

Also, while thinking about what land to purchase or lease, don’t rule out a steep site thinking it can’t work for you. You can use topography to your advantage for efficient self storage designs.

Customers always want easy access to their units. If you are clever with your self storage design, you can incorporate the slope to create road access to two levels of units, without the need of additional lift or stairway access.

Being smart with your self storage design for such a site also means that with extra external access you may need less internally, such as hallways or ramps, which could mean more space for an extra unit or two.

Whether your site is steep or level, the need to maximise the size of your building for a good return means you will need to consider multi-storey options as part of choosing the best self storage design.

This includes considering issues such as internal aisles and access, loading/unloading areas, parking and air conditioning, all aspects of self storage design that will meet customer expectation.

Of course, whatever site you end up with, when you are considering a good self storage design for your facility, you need to be very sure about whether you can be all things to all customers, or whether it’s better to aim for a niche market, such as vehicle, wine or document storage, because that will affect the type of building you need.

So, whether you decide to be a generalist or a specialist, good self storage designs are all about creating a layout that makes the most of the space you have; creating as many ‘boxes’ as possible, to maximise usage and, therefore, rental return.

Some well designed facilities are built in stages, initially offering a mix of sizes to cater for the local demand. Then the second stage is geared to cater where demand is most obvious.

If building in stages is not an option, at least begin the self storage design process with a checklist of the basics, basics which include access and loading/unloading points, parking, offices, facilities for staff & customers and also lifts/stairways.

Your self storage design will be based on the size of your site and the building you can put on it, the cost, the ease of operations and security and, one of the most important considerations, customer convenience.