WHAT SIZE IS THE RIGHT SIZE?
When it comes to deciding what size units your Self Storage facility should feature, be very wary of the old adage of ‘one size fits all’. That’s because in the world of Self Storage development, nothing could be further from the truth.
These days, developing a Self Storage facility means more planning and resources than ever before, so it makes a lot of sense to call in the experts, and especially when you’re trying to work out the lay-out of your site, and the mix of units you will install.
The fact is one size will not fit all because your customers are all different, and their need for space will vary just as much as they do. Some may need enough space for a house full of furniture or, alternatively, just for a few precious pieces; others may need a small amount of space to store precious documents while they move offices, or a larger unit to hold extra stock ready for a sale – and everything in between.
In doing your homework before you started the Self Storage development, you or your team of experts will have done a thorough analysis of the market for your services, and the ratio between residential and commercial clients.
If your audience mix is more commercial than residential, you may decide to have more large units than small ones. However, that will be affected by the type of commercial renters who are in your catchment area.
Are you servicing a region with a lot of retail businesses, or one with a large number of doctors, lawyers and other professional folk? Obviously they are all ‘commercial’ but very different demographics. Knowing that will help you decide which size of ‘average’ your units should be.
If your target area is mainly residential, you need to know if they are homeowners or renters. Owners tend to rent larger spaces and hold onto them for longer while renters usually have less ‘stuff’ and move around more often, so they are likely to want a smaller unit for a shorter time.
If that’s the case where your Self Storage development is, then your mix should include more small units than large ones. If your audience is mainly homeowners, your mix will include a higher percentage of large units.
As part of your ‘homework’, you would have identified your rival operators along with the size of their units and whether or not those units are climate-controlled, the rents they are charging, and the occupancy rates they have. All that information also will also help you decide on the size and mix of units that are needed to best serve your customers.
It is important to remember that knowing and understanding your demographic doesn’t necessarily increase the overall demand for your facility, but it should help determine the best mix of units to maximise demand and profit.
A flexible design will allow for some adjustment of the interior layout, and building in phases could also let you adjust the mix of unit sizes from one phase to the next, depending on demand. However, there is no magic formula that will guarantee the perfect mix for 100 per cent occupancy 100 per cent of the time.