The Self Storage Industry
“Self storage” refers to properties that offer do-it-yourself, month-to-month storage space rental for personal or business use. Self storage offers a cost-effective and flexible storage alternative. Tenants rent fully-enclosed spaces that can vary in size according to their specific needs and to which they have unlimited, exclusive access. Tenants have responsibility for moving their items into and out of their units. Self storage unit sizes typically range from five feet by five feet to 20 feet by 20 feet.
Self storage provides a convenient way for individuals and businesses to store their possessions, whether due to a life change or simply because of a need for extra storage space. According to the 2011 Self Storage Almanac, self storage facilities generally have a tenant mix of approximately 71% residential, 17% commercial, 6% military and 6% students. The mix of residential tenants using a self storage property is determined by a property’s local demographics and often includes people who are looking to downsize their living space or who are not yet settled in a large home. The items residential tenants place in self storage properties range from cars, boats and recreational vehicles to furniture, household items and appliances. Commercial tenants tend to include small business owners who require easy and frequent access to their goods, records or extra inventory, or storage for seasonal goods. Self storage properties provide an accessible storage alternative at a relatively low cost. Properties generally have on-site managers who supervise and run the day-to-day operations, providing tenants with assistance as needed.
Tenants choose a self storage property based largely on the convenience of the site to their home or business. Therefore, high-density, high-traffic population centers are ideal locations for a self storage property. A property’s perceived security and the general professionalism of the site managers and staff are also contributing factors to a site’s ability to secure rentals. Although most self storage properties are leased to tenants on a month-to-month basis, tenants tend to continue their leases for extended periods of time. However, there are seasonal fluctuations in occupancy rates for self storage properties. Generally, there is increased leasing activity at self storage properties during the summer months due to the higher number of people who relocate during this period.